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Observing Michelle's Portfolios and Conferences Video

My first attempt at using a shared classroom for observation and analysis

When I started working with the Carnegie Project, the websites which I would use later were not yet ready for public use. I was very anxious to try out the process, however, so I worked to create our own site.

For this experiment with multimedia I decided to create my own media source, since there weren't any on the website that met my particular needs. I conferred with one of our lab school teachers and she agreed to tape her lessons on teaching children to reflect on their work in preparation for parent conferences. This met several teaching goals for me: using portfolios for assessment, teaching children to make use of their portfolios for a variety of purposes, thinking about parent conferences.

I made dvds and videotapes for my students to check out. I made only enough so that students would have to work in pairs to complete the assignment. I put one dvd on reserve in the library as well.

For this particular experience I had several goals in mind:

1. For the students to have the opportunity to do a focused and reflective observation together. The value of the dvd or tape was that they could go back to parts of the observation if they had questions. (I don't actually know if any of them did this, but the opportunity was there).

2. To watch together so that they could discuss what they were seeing with one another, without me being present. This gave them the opportunity to begin to develop professional conversations that were not done in the presence of the instructor. (Not that they haven't had numerous opportunities to do this, but this was a very structured opportunity for this kind of conversation.)

3. For us to have a shared observation of a particular practice. Each of them was in a different classroom, with different opportunities for assessment and reflective practice. Here they could all share one observation and discuss it.

4. To do this BEFORE the week that Michelle would come in to talk with us. Viewing it beforehand allowed us to have more time to talk with her. Viewing it before hand and asking them to construct questions for her allowed all of us to have a more focused conversation.

Viewing assignment

Michelle teaching the class about portfolios and conferences 
Michelle introducing preparing for conferences using portfolios.

Here are parts of the video they watched. Part 1 is Michelle teaching the class.

Michelle conferring with a child 
Michelle and Sierra deciding which pieces to use for her conference.

Part 2 of the video. Here Michelle is conferring with a child about what she will present at her conference

Children conferring together. 
Sander and Sierra are conferring about Sander's work.

Part 3 of the video. Children conferring together, practicing for their parent conferences.

Michelle in class 
Questions from the class and comments from Michelle

The class discussion:

After the students had observed and conferred with one another about the lesson, we looked at some of the portfolios. Then Michelle came in to talk about her teaching of this process and to answer questions that had arisen, both from the video and from the portfolios themselves.

Michelle answering questions 

The class discussion:

Students asked questions that considered issues of equity and self-esteem in considering assessment.

This electronic portfolio was created using the KEEP Toolkit™, developed at the
Knowledge Media Lab of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
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