Creating Professional Portfolios
A professional portfolio creates a unique glimpse into the cumulative interactions a teacher creates with students. Portfolios showcase the teacherís use of planning, strategies, content, and learning activities to foster student progress in learning. This week, we provide simple suggestions to help create a dynamic professional portfolio.
This Week's Tips
Collect and Store Portfolio Items Carefully (Monday)
Determine the best method of storage (or combination thereof) for the material you plan to include in your portfolio. Since you will collect items over an extended period of time, use binders, boxes, clipboards, or plastic containers with lids, as appropriate for each set of materials. Label each item to make it easy to find when it comes time to assemble your portfolio. While the term portfolio suggests a singular presentation, a comprehensive teaching portfolio will probably actually require several storage vessels.
Introduce Your Professional Portfolio (Tuesday)
Write a short introductory letter for your portfolio if it is for a wider audience. Highlight the aspects of the portfolio that you feel best demonstrate your strengths. Be sure to include a table of contents that allows readers to find materials quickly and easily.
Plan For Your Professional Portfolio (Wednesday)
To ensure a cohesive portfolio, plan for instruction using a three-tiered approach.
Begin with a high-level outline of content to be taught during the year. Next, reduce that yearly plan to include content and skills by semester. Finally, make a weekly plan with your goals for content and skills instruction.
The three tiers of planning will demonstrate your ability to plan both long term and short term instructional goals. Include the yearly outline, semester plan, and daily calendar in the communications portion of your portfolio.
Build Your Portfolio with Self-Evaluation (Thursday)
Use self-evaluation as a tool for building an effective professional portfolio. While portfolios demonstrate a teacher's ability to foster learning, they also become invaluable resources for future teaching. Make notes concerning instructional ideas, changes to improve specific lessons, etc. If possible, ask a colleague to create a video tape of one or more of your classes (verify local laws concerning students on tape, if they are to be included) and self-evaluate your instruction.
Include Samples of Student Work in Your Professional Portfolio (Friday)
Include a cross section of student work to demonstrate the progress of strong and weak students you have taught. Nothing evidences progress toward mastery of an objective you have set for your students better than examples of their work. An added benefit of including student work is keeping easy access to student models for future classes.