As part of the Teacher of the Year process I was required to create a “Literacy Portfolio”.
When I asked the selection committee contact what the Literacy Portfolio was supposed to look like the answer was “be creative”. I learned 2 lessons from this answer:
- Unlimited freedom to be creative can cause ANXIETY, PARALYSIS, and FRUSTRATION.
- The Phrase “You know what would be cool…” is code for “I am about to create an enormous amount of work for myself”.
I decided that I would create a Google Sites portfolio that would feature student examples and some data. I would also have a short video on each page to introduce the concept, my method of instruction, and explain the examples. The first challenge was to define “literacy”. This was one of those terms that I had always associated with teaching elementary school students basic reading skills. After some reflection and conversations with my colleagues and elementary school teacher wife I realized that “literacy” is ingrained in every piece of my instruction. In the portfolio I have reframed literacy to be defined as Historical Literacy Skills, or the ways in which students “read”, “interpret”, and “use” historic sources.
This project took forever to accomplish between finding the student examples, uploading all of the work, organizing the information, and then creating the YouTube videos. What amazes me is that nearly all of these examples were from this year. In a year in which I only saw students in person for 90 minutes a week I was stunned by the amount of work that was done by my students.
One thing that does not translate in this portfolio is the amount of conferencing that I do in class in order to create feedback loops. I don’t collect a huge amount of work. It is the student’s work not mine. I want them to keep it, and iterate until mastery. This work does nothing for anyone if it is sitting on my desk.
One last note…
This literacy portfolio is due to the committee on April 20, 2021 at Noon (EST) and I am releasing this to y’all at the same time. There is a link to my blog on the “Engaging the Community” section of the Portfolio so I am curious if the committee will see this post and ask me about it during the interview on Thursday.