Saturday, July 20, 2013

National Writing Project Days #9 & 10 -- Sticky Walls & E-Portfolios

It's hard to believe that my second week with the UW-Milwaukee Writing Project is over.  One more week left...  :(

This has been such an AMAZING experience!  I have learned so much about new ways to teach writing.  As an added bonus, I have also discovered how much I love to write!  We do tons of writing at UWM-WP, because as our fabulous leader, Karen, reminds us, "Teachers who write make the best teachers of writing!"

I hope you will look into getting involved with a Writing Project at a site near you!  You won't regret it!!
I want to share a neat trick I learned about at UWM-WP that we refer to as the "Sticky Wall."   Our co-leader, Jenny, introduced us to this fun idea.  (Her favorite color is orange, I just wanted to add .... : )
To make a sticky wall, take a piece of nylon from the fabric store (a vinyl tablecloth might work as well) and spray it with adhesive spray which you can purchase at a craft store like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

And voila!  An instant place for students to place papers, notes, wonderings, questions, compliments and much more.

Why use a Sticky Wall instead of Post-Its?  I don't know about you, but Post-Its always end up fluttering to the floor in my classroom.  They just don't stick long enough for me, especially when hanging on a wall.

Now on to the presentation...

On Friday, Carrie presented her inquiry project on using e-portfolios for student writing.  She began with this cute (and totally hilarious!) commercial video:  (It's only 40 seconds long.  Give it a look!)

 So....are you an "Emma?"

I am!  Or at least, I partly am....

I'll admit, there are some things I still prefer to hold in my hand on a piece of paper.  There are other things I'm OK with being electronic.  For instance, I now prefer to read my books on my iPad (although I thought I NEVER would).  I also keep our family calendar electronically.  However, I also have file folders and file folders full of paper at school.....some of which I will never look at again.  How sad...

Storing student writing electronically is an awesome idea!   There are so many benefits to using e-portfolios with students:
  • It increases student motivation and engagement-- Students take ownership of their portfolio and decide what work goes in it.
  • The link between home and school is strengthened as parents can access their child's portfolio to stay involved.
  • They provide a forum for student goal-setting, self-assessment, and reflection.  E-portfolios can be used to show how students are meeting the standards and show growth.  They make progress more visible and are a great formative assessment tool.
  • They develop 21st Century skills and support lifelong learning.
  • My favorite reason.....E-portfolios support collaborative learning and an AUTHENTIC audience as students share their writing with others (and the world!) and provide feedback through commenting on other writing.

There are a few sites that Carrie shared that would be helpful in getting started and for learning more about e-portfolios.

I have used Kidblog in the past, but not to the extent of the possibilities that I learned about on Friday. 

If you want to learn more about using e-portfolios in your classroom, Carrie shared an awesome wiki put together by Kathy Cassidy with TONS of information about getting started and ideas for using e-portfolios:

I am ready to give e-portfolios a try and to give up a little bit of "Emma-ness."

How about you?  Do you use e-portfolios in your classroom?  If you do, please leave a comment and share your experiences with all of us!

Thanks, as always, for reading!


  1. HAHAH - laughing out loud. Thanks for sharing :)
    I absolutely love the idea of the sticky wall. I am pinning it now!
    As for ePortfolios, my school sets each child up with a Google account (you could do it for your class). If you've never played around with Google docs, you need to! Actually in our National Writing project institute, we did our final ePortfolios and conducted writing group as teachers using Google docs. Google is free, easy, and basically rocks! It's like a Wikipage + portfolio + Microsoft Office suite + webpage/blog all in one! (Yes, your kids could each have their own blogs where they post about their most recent drafting process, too, via Google)!

    The Sweetest Thing
    Follow me on Bloglovin'!

  2. Loving the sticky wall! It reminds me of class a good way.

    I am sold on the digital portfolios. I worry about the parents bawking at security issues. Google docs would take care of that. Thanks, again, for sharing your experience with all of us. I will seek out one of these conferences next summer.

    Fluent in Fourth

  3. That video is HILARIOUS! Students in my district are getting their own Gmail accounts this year, so I need to brush up on my Google skills.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. Love this post! I am definitely buying some adhesive spray pronto. I am totally an Emma. This video was HILARIOUS!!! I am going to try better this year. One this i want to tackle this year is Kidblog. Wish me luck!

    :) Nicole
    Tadpole Tidbits

  5. OK, so when I first moved to Okinawa, I was told that I would be surprised by the technology at my fingertips. Its true, I have everything I need or could want. Except, NO ONE (I can find) is using it to its potential. This year I want to venture into the world of e-portfolios and kid blogs, BUT I will be doing it alone, dragging my team along with me. Actually there are two of us determined to change the technology face of our grade, and later our school. This is why I started my blog stalking.
    Well, here I am 6 weeks from the start of school and I am not sure I know anymore, but man does my room look cute...HA! Anyway, I guess I need to start playing with google docs. It sounds like the answer to my query. Thanks for all your NWP posts!!!
    The Teacher Next Door

  6. I am no longer a no reply blogger! Thank you!!!! (gosh I hope I'm not, at least. :)
    The Teacher Next Door

  7. I admit, I definitely have some Emma-like qualities. Every year, I add more technology to my routine. I'm always glad I did, and I've learned so much. I'm off to check out the Wiki you linked to. Thank you for sharing this.


  8. I'd really like to check out the National Writing Project again next year! I missed the one that is 45 min. away from me this year in IA. It looks like you found some great ideas! $100/grad. hr isn't bad either for the information you got!! I like reading your posts with the ideas! Thank you!

  9. We have 1-1 iPads, and I'm wanting to use them more purposefully this year. I'm book marking the site you shared and I'll be reading up more on this topic!

    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road


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