Lesson Idea:  Portfolio Project

I had an opportunity to work with Lynn Morgan's high intermediate students in the computer lab last year. The students were very excited about their class project. Specifically, the students created a writing portfolio which contained the following:

I was very impressed with the quality of the students' work and their excitment about the project. Many came in and worked in the Community Learning Lab after class or on Fridays to complete their portfolios. Lynn provided me with directions for the different assignments, scoring rubrics, and a sample portfolio.

For the timeline project, Lynn gives students a handout about John F. Kennedy. Students make a timeline about his major achievements. Using this model, they make their own timelines. The handout she uses is on page 65 of Grammar Plus Workbook by Addison-Wesley. However, any handout which provides dates for key events in a person's life will work as a model.

Students write two poems - a Memory Poem and an I AM Poem. See the complete instructions for writing the poems. Lynn credits Carol Gross with helping her learn about writing I Am poems. Lynn does not score the poems or timelines. She just checks them off as completed.

The students write descriptive paragraphs on three topics - A Funny Experience, Three Places I Like To Go, and My Best Friend. The last writing assignment is a Dear Me letter. Students write their three goals to be completed in the next five years. There are scoring rubrics for the descriptive paragraphs and letter.

Thanks, Lynn, for sharing your innovative portfolio project. I encourage you to incorporate projects into your curriculum. We have seen how engaged students are during the summer when we offer a project-based curriculum. Lynn has given us a great example of how to incorporate project work into the regular 9-week curriculum. I believe this project is successful because it is well organized, has clear scoring guidelines, and provides interesting and diverse writing assignments.

Sample Student Portfolio