Welcome to 8th Grade English

This blog is for you! Throughout the year, you'll be checking here for homework calendars, assignment due dates, PowerPoints or videos you may have missed, pictures from class, and you may even have an assignment to post a comment once in a while! Enjoy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Life... A Portfolio

The biggest and most rewarding project my 8th grade students complete is their "My Life" writing portfolios. This is a project I created myself based on an assignment my husband completed when he was in junior high.  Fifteen years after 9th grade, he still has his writing assignments and loves to look back at it.  I know my kids will, too, and receive so many compliments and letters/emails of thanks from parents and students who have proudly completed the project.

The project has definitely evolved over the last six years, as I've collaborated with my teaching partner, taken advice from parents and students, and tweaked the assignments and procedures a bit.  There are 30 assignments total in the portfolio, and the students begin working on them almost immediately as they enter my classroom.  Each writing assignment fulfills a state standard in writing, or fits in with the 8th grade curriculum.  Some are poems, some are diaries, some are letters, some are essays, some are speeches, and some are pictures or artifacts from their time at Hidden Oaks Middle School.  The assignments all revolve around each student's life in middle school, his or her memories of the past, and hopes, dreams, and plans for the future.  Most students "beautify" their portfolios by adding some decorative elements, and some actually use scrapbooks to display their work! 

The project is divided up into 6 "checkpoints" throughout the year, at which point each student must have five assignments completed to be on track for the final "turn-in date."  This year, the My Life portfolios were due May 2nd, and the students were lined up at my door waiting to drop them off.  Then the anticipation begins as they wait for me to assess them!  
Olivia used duct tape to make her portfolio stand out!

Someone in this picture stayed up very late putting the finishing touches on his portfolio!

Pierce and Marshall were waiting at the door to turn in their portfolios.
 Can you feel their excitement?

I then spend the month of May and a few weeks in June reading 165 portfolios (give or take a few) in order to hand them back on the last day of school.  It is hard work, for both the students and me, but it is well worth the hours we both spend outside of school working on it, as it is something they will enjoy for years.


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