Session Date: May 15, 2012
Session Instructor: Amy Burvall

Here we are at the end of the year and preparing for IB monitoring...what better time to start saving student work samples in a cohesive, digital format?

There are many REASONS to do this:

1. We Have To (yes, MYP5 and some MYP4 teacher definitely need to save exemplars of "low", "medium", and "high" work.)

2. Exemplars are so valuable for future students! Whenever we introduce a new project, we should show a variety of samples of previous ones. This clarifies the expectations, allows for critique, and even makes your current students want to challenge themselves to "out-do" your previous students!

3. Student Work Gains Validation When Shared: 21st century students desire "Purposefulness" to their tasks. They are of a SHARING CULTURE and thrive on sharing their thoughts, ideas, and creations with the works at large. This is no longer a turn-your-paper-into-the-teacher-for-only-her-eyes society. Students can get AUTHENTIC FEEDBACK from the world at large (or, at least a community that extends beyond the classroom)

The above screen shot shows the number of hits a former student of mine received after posting her History project on YouTube.
Above- an example of a user comment (real world feedback) given to one of my students posting a video project online.

4. Archiving Benefits the Teacher: Keeping student work is, in essence, part of your own professional portfolio. It confirms your instruction and mentorship. It helps you to reflect, tweak if needed, and grow/improve. If you feel up to it, it can help you increase your PLN (Professional Learning Network) in the Education sector of social media, such as Twitter. Many educators on Twitter share links to student work or at least ideas for projects and this can be VERY inspiring and valuable
There are many WAYS to do this:

Step 1: Make list of all summative projects you would like to archive.

You should be able to do this from Managebac easily. If you have ones from the past you still have samples of but perhaps did not accomplish this year, include those, too (or if you’ve altered a task significantly)

Step 2: Know where the artifacts are. Get them from the students prior to them leaving school.

Digital items- make sure you have downloaded copies or urls to link or copy embed code.

Online Presentation Tools such as Vuvox, Prezi, etc. have embed codes and links, but embedding is preferable.

PowerPoints and Word docs, etc. can be downloaded.

Films should ideally be on YouTube, so they are compressed and easily embeddable or linkable. You can “rip” them from YouTube if you want to make sure you keep the file forever (using keepvid.com and saving as an mp4)….sometimes students give you Quicktime files or other movie files. If small enough, these can be directly uploaded to an archiving site. If not, you’ll have to put them on YouTube. ("How to Set Up Your YouTube Channel") If you are interested in VIDEO BLOGGING FOR ASSESSMENT (i.e. "Vlogging", I suggest you check out my other lesson HERE)

Audio files can be in the form of an mp3 or on Soundcloud.

Non-Digital items: You will need to scan them or take quality photos of them (I prefer the later because it is less time consuming and great for larger or multi-dimensional items). Try to photograph against a plain background and up the contrast if you need to.
Photos can be of the projects themselves or the students participating in activities.
(Above: Devon F.'s "Passion Project" Photography Coffee Table book- MYP Personal Project)
(Above: 9th grade History students work on a puzzle of Picasso's Guernica)

Step 3: Choose an archiving tool. The main types are web sites and blogs.
  1. Google Sites ( https://sites.google.com/ ) Here is an example of a Google site I created for a conference presentation. Google Sites has a variety of templates and is easy to use. If needed, it can be used as a Wiki, meaning more than one person can edit or contribute.
  2. Wikispaces ( http://www.wikispaces.com/ )
    This site is a Wikispace. Here is an example of a Wikispace I created for LJA participants of the BLC Conference in Boston, 2011. Similar to Google Sites, Wikispaces is easy to use with a variety of templates and can have shared contribution properties.
  3. Blogger , Posterous, Edublogs, (see Larry Ferlazzo's Edublog) or Wordpress (all are hyperlinked). These are examples of BLOGS. A blog can have pages (for example, if you want to separate by topic or year). It can also have individual posts (handy for separating by project). Most blogs list the most recent post first, however for archiving purposes you can change it to reverse so it makes more chronological sense (projects earlier in the year are first). I personally use Posterous, but Blogger is easy and is part of the Google suite. Edublogs are popular and Wordpress is a bit more difficult, but ubiquitous and professional-looking. HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF MY OWN PERSONAL ARCHIVING BLOG USING POSTEROUS (as of 5/15, not yet complete). With Posterous, you can have as many blogs, or "spaces" as you like:Screen_Shot_2012-05-14_at_5.05.35_PM.pngScreen_Shot_2012-05-14_at_5.08.29_PM.png
  4. Livebinder ( http://www.livebinders.com/ ) This is a really handy tool and I think it would be great for organizing resources as a portfolio of student work.
    The binders are embeddable and linkable (plus shareable!). Click on this one to view foreign language student samples.
  5. Tumblr ( http://www.tumblr.com/ ) Tublr is the fastest growing blogging platform and is very popular with the HS students. However, it is currently blocked at school. There are a gazillion types of Tumblr blogs (from great education ones to seedy porn ones - so you can explore it but I am not sure if it is the best option). TEDxtalks uses Tumblr as their official blogging platform.
  6. Weebly ( http://www.weebly.com/ )
    This is a pretty straightforward, free website building tool. It has some limitations with the free account, but is very easy to use. You can also spring for premium if you want to pay. My 9th graders used this and figured everything out in about 15 minutes. The templates are basic but clean and professional. Many schools use Weebly for digital portfolios. There is a special EDUCATION version, too: ( http://education.weebly.com/ ) Check out the "features" page if you are interested.
  7. Wix Wix ( http://www.wix.com/ )
    is by far my personal favorite, as it's very "Artsy" and allows for ultimate customization. Both the freshmen and juniors have used it, and it offers many stunning, professional-looking templates in both Flash and HTML5 for free. The best thing is that you learn as you go, because they have a mini-tutorial video for every move you make and an excellent help section. Here's a pdf Tutorial I created with samples.
There are more, but these are the easiest and free. They have good, flexible structure as well.

Step 4: Decide on your format.

If a web site, like Google sites, Wikispaces, Weebly, or Wix – what tabs will you have? Will you organize exemplars by class (“Class of 2013, 2014, etc.”), year (2011-12), unit (Unit 3), type of task (Film projects, Oral assessments), or task itself (“Insert name of task here”).

If a blog, you can use a “tagging” system to identify characteristics and make your archive easily searchable. For example, if the viewer were only looking for film projects or collaborative projects, you could tag items as “film”, “movie” or “group”, “collaboration”. AGAIN, HERE IS MY SAMPLE

*note on blogs: Blogs are traditionally organized where the most recent post is seen first. However, you may want to reverse this order (usually done in preferences or settings) so that the viewer can see your projects how they chronologically occurred.

Step 5: Decide what level of exemplars to have, and how many.

We are required in MYP5 to have low, medium, and high, but you can certainly structure your blog or web site to feature the exemplary samples. As far as how many, it’s up to you, but simplicity is better – it’s good to have 5 excellent examples than 25.

*note: I personally found it valuable to archive at least 1 of every type of summative assessment assigned throughout the year, as well as the student's reflection, if applicable. I also through in some formatives, because they are excellent exemplars as well.

Step 6: Essentials and Extras

Be sure to include at least a description or overview of the task. I have linked my posts to the descriptive blog post where the original task was posted. You can include task sheets and rubrics as well (easily uploaded as a pdf or Word file). If students have provided intros or reflections please include that.

Step7: Begin the uploading fest!

  • Save often (I save after every change- that seems extreme, but I like to play it save so I don't lose time)
  • Include the child’s first name only, and grad year if you like (for younger students, you might need confirmation to share the work)

Step 8: Moving up and on
  • Consider collaborating with your department to see if you can put together a showcase portfolio of a sampling of the projects/ assessments you do. (Wix or Weebly is great for this, but you can easily use Google sites or Wikispaces) SEE THE START OF THE MYP HUMANITIES ONE HERE
  • Consider making it easy on yourself and having the students maintain a digital portfolio throughout the year just for your class, or if you teach younger students, save throughout the year to your archiving tool.
  • SAMPLE 1 SAMPLE 2 SAMPLE 3 SAMPLE 4 (9th Grade History)
  • SAMPLE 1 SAMPLE 2 SAMPLE 3 SAMPLE 4 (11th Grade Theory of Knowledge)