Saturday, October 8, 2016

Student-Selected Work Displays Made EASY!

Why should you make your student work display student-selected?
  • Instant portfolio with student comments
  • Shows growth over time
  • Great for regular or student-led conferences
  • You always have a fresh display
  • Students take ownership of their work and actually look through graded papers
Displaying student work is a cornerstone for so many educational philosophies, inlcuding mine. I believe that by having a display of work that students have curated, you send the message that they are the best judge of what is THEIR VERY BEST. I have seen this play out through my work selection process year after year. 

You can see my student work display here. I have very limited wall space in my room. I created this display using boards I purchased at Lowes. I measured and added clothespins to them. Hanging them on the wall was as easy as adding some industrial Velcro to the backs of each board. I love how they turned out! 

Below is a close up of a piece of student work. This student selected a grammar magazine activity from her Thursday folder. I asked the students to write why they picked that piece of work. She says, "I like this piece of work because I was frustrated but I did it anyways." I changed the spelling for your ease of reading. Don't you just love that reason??! #growthmindset

Let's just briefly talk about how I have them prepare their Thursday folder to go home. They take their folder out of their mailbox. I use this one: Pacon Classroom Keepers 30-Slot Mailbox, Blue (001318) They sort all mail, placing flyers on the right, and work on the left. My newsletter goes at the top of the flyer pile. We wouldn't want that to be thrown away, now would we! ;)

After kiddos pick work and write their reason, they add the post it over the grade and slide into a sheet protector with the binder holes cut off. Some of the sheet protectors I have used are a cloudy finish. Those are not the best for this use. I use these: Avery Standard Weight Sheet Protectors, Pack of 25 Sheet Protectors (75530) Try to stay away from the "non-glare" versions. I add this step to make it difficult to flip up the stickie note. I don't want student grades to be displayed!Not only is privacy a big concern, the pressure to only display 100% grades is decreased. Some of my favorite work has been the work that students struggle through. I suggest using a darker color of Post-it note to make it even harder to see through. 

Teacher Hack: use regular old sheet protectors to keep graded work confidential

Here is my display all ready for back-to-school. When I have previously taught in a room with lockers, we added these sleeves to lockers with magnetic tape. 

anchor chart close-up
I make kind of a big deal about teaching the procedure for choosing work. I have a piece of silly student work that I use to share with students how they should write their reason. I also made up a quick anchor chart to get kids started if they are stuck. 
A case of the weasles! They love this.       
After the work is no longer on display, we file it away in a crate to share at student-led conferences in the Spring. I have students go through their work during the conference, highlighting the best of the best. It is always neat to hear students and parents comparing what was the best in August compared to March. 

If you need a resource to get students ready to share at student-led conferences, you can find my two themed conference packets in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. 

Rockin' Student Led Conferences
Find it here
SUPER Student Led Conferences
Find it here

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