By Marsha Harris, Director of Curriculum
How can we see, hear, and observe growth over time with students? How can we share experiences and milestones with parents? Do children realize the incredible learning that takes place at Trinity School throughout their time here? All of these questions can be answered through the process that we call My Learning.
Developed by Early Elementary Division Head Rhonda Mitchell, My Learning is centered around a digital portfolio that each child at Trinity has the opportunity to create and curate while they are here. We know that the power of reflection through voice, video, and documentation of written work has meaning to children as they look back at their learning over the years. Through the use of multimedia tools, experiences are archived to reflect the feelings and emotions that occurred in real time. Students look back, see themselves as unique learners, and can watch their growth over time.
This is the School’s fifth year using digital portfolios to inform teaching and learning. It is part of our culture as learners to collect, archive, and reflect so that we can understand our students’ entire process of learning throughout their many years at Trinity.
For example, a student used a sample of writing at the beginning of the year to compare it to the end of the year. The teacher interviews her and asks her to talk about her writing and how she’s grown as a writer. The student can clearly articulate her growth and shows evidence of that in her conversation with the teacher.
What We’ve Learned
- Students look back and have fond memories of their experiences, their friendships, and their learning that they may have not otherwise remembered.
- Students can see where they started and how far they’ve come.
- Students can visually see how they’ve physically grown over the years.
- Students begin to develop an understanding of who they are, how they learn, where their strengths are, and how to improve their areas for growth.
- Students utilize their portfolio as a showcase for learning during student-led conferences, and they take ownership in their learning while celebrating their strengths.
- Teachers use My Learning to gather information about their students. They look at trends, talents, and experiences that can inform them about each child.
- Parents get a glimpse into the experiences at school that can’t be documented on paper through voice, video, and the reflective process.
- When we reflect, we have a deeper understanding of who we are and an opportunity to set goals and see ourselves in a different way.
I wonder, will he be the next US Masters champion? A future mechanic? Engineer? Will he finally get a cat? Who knows? By documenting hopes, dreams, and goals for each student, by each student, we can have a better understanding of his journey.