A step-by-step guide to preparing student portfolios for student-led conferences. The post includes free printable resources for conferences.
Student Portfolios: Preparing for Student-Led Conferences
My favourite way to display student work is in a work portfolio. First, I prepare these at the beginning of the year and add to them throughout the year so they are ready to go for the conferences. Then, I select and put aside workpieces that the kiddos worked especially hard on, as well as a few great pieces of artwork. Afterwards, I keep their samples set-aside by month and later file them in a tub that is separated by name.
Before conference time, I put together their portfolios by stapling and gluing in their work samples. I also made this cute cover page for them to write their names (in fancy writing or block letters) and to color before I glued them on the cover.
HOW-TO MAKE A STUDENT PORTFOLIO
- I cut a large piece of bristol board in half to make a front and back (each piece should be 14″ x 22″).
- After that, I cut large pieces of construction paper into 13″ x 21″ pieces. I like to have 2 pieces of paper for each month of the school year (20 pieces of paper). I like to use black paper because it makes for a nice backdrop, but you could use any colors.
- Then, I bind them together with a ring. If you do not have a binding machine, you could staple it together with a heavy-duty stapler.
- You are now ready to add student work! Once it’s been bound together, it is easy to open and flip to the next page. There is room for 1 or 2 things on each large page.
I have created this simple writing paper for my students to use and they always turn out great. I will also add a photograph of them at school to go next to their writing.
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCE PREPARATION
The week of the conferences is focused on preparations. We practice and prepare what our families will see. We complete a reflection and goal sheet and a student-self assessment.
1. Reflection Sheet
This is usually surprisingly hard for them as young children live in the NOW and often forget what they’ve already done. Reminders are necessary!
I wish for them to share things they are good at. In addition, I boast about how they have learned to READ and WRITE and ADD and SUBTRACT!
Then, I get them to share their favorite part of school.
They also need to come up with a goal for the rest of the year.
Finally, I request a “powerful” picture that will “WOW” our families that is neat with lots of details and careful coloring. We hang these up on our “WOW Work” board for families to see.
2. Student Self-Assessment
We sit together at the carpet with a clipboard, pencil, and eraser in hand. I explain that I need them to be honest about their answers and to think about themselves personally, but not too critically. I tell them it is okay to not get all smiley faces and that no one is perfect. That there are things that everyone works.
We go one question at a time, reading the questions and coloring in the faces to show if they do something all the time, some of the time, or needs work. It’s nice to see how honest my students are about their strengths and areas to work on.
3. Conference Practice
4. Classroom Preparation
STUDENT-LED CONFERENCE FREEBIE