When people ask what I love about teaching kindergarten, one of my first answers is always the growth that happens each year. Students come in not knowing their own name or having held a pencil before and leave first grade ready.
One of the best ways to show that growth to both students and parents is through portfolios. Portfolios are a place to keep writing samples, work students are proud of, and to track data and goals. And at the end of the year, they become a wonderful memory book to send home to parents!
I keep my portfolios in individual binders because it’s easy to quickly insert pages. However, you could just keep each student’s pages in a file folder and then bind at the end of the year.
I start collecting work samples from the very first day of school. Each month has it’s own section. Instead of buying dividers, I have students make a simple craft on construction paper, which is slightly larger than printer paper and makes the perfect divider. As you can see in the picture above, the construction paper is slightly taller than the binder, so if that bothered you, you could trim them down.
At the beginning of each month, students also draw a portrait of themselves and write their names. I love to see how the pictures get so much more detailed throughout the year!
I also have them write their uppercase and lowercase letters and fill out a calendar to show number writing. At the beginning of the year, this is rough, but again, the growth is always amazing to see!
Throughout the year, students choose some of their work samples that they are proud of to put in their portfolio. I also choose work that I think represents them as a students and I have a few seasonal writing prompts that I give the whole class.
Finally, I have one of my FAVORITE sections in the portfolios: Data tracking and goal setting.
Students help me track their data – sometimes by coloring in what they know and sometimes just by discussing it with me. I let them set their own goals, usually just one or two at a time, that they want to work towards. When they achieve it, they get to add a page to the binder celebrating the achievement.
I have students (or me depending on time) use different colors each time I assess so I can easily see where they started and how much they grew each time. This is also very helpful to have on hand during parent teacher conferences – you can just pull out their child’s binder and show how much they’ve grown from the very beginning.