It is portfolio time again for the freshman. I decided to structure the cover letters a bit differently for this unit. Instead of telling them what concepts to address, I left it open-ended. The instructions were to write a cover letter that tells what you’ve learned in this unit, to explain how you learned it, and to justify how each piece (or pieces) of work included represent each concept.
It was interesting to watch them as they worked on this in class today. About half of the class chose to work in groups while the others wanted to work alone. I watched one girl as she contemplated which assignments to include. She was examining two assignments and analyzing what she wrote on each. She kept moving back and forth between the text and her papers, comparing the questions asked and her responses. I’m looking forward to reading her work.
Those working in groups brainstormed lists of topics we’ve covered, debated which assignment addressed which topic, and offered suggestions to each other on what had been written already.
Though there were a few who really struggled without step-by-step directions:
How long does my letter need to be?
However long it takes you to explain what you’ve learned and how you learned it.
How many assignments should I include?
As many as you need to demonstrate what you’ve learned.
What did I learn in this unit?
That is a great question. What have you learned?
One student announced proudly announced he was done and that he had included only two assignments. Luckily another student saved me, “We’ve been doing this unit for six weeks. You’ve only learned TWO THINGS?” He quietly went back to work.