“What does it mean to reflect on your learning?” technology teacher Marcia Daley Savo asked a class of sixth graders. The students mulled over the question and responded on a Schoology page that classmates in school and at home could view. One wrote: “When you reflect on something you think about what you did good and what you did bad and what you could do better.”
Reflecting on learning is part of a school-wide initiative this year at John Jay Middle School. It kicked off the first week of school with the all-school assignment to create an "All About Me" video. Those pieces and more will become part of digital portfolios that consider the question, “Who am I as a learner?” It's a big idea designed to nurture self-reflection and digital fluency.
Technology teachers Marcia Daley Savo, Tina Russo and Evan Lucieer are visiting classrooms to help students set up the portfolios on Schoology, the district’s new learning platform. Each Wednesday, the all-remote day, students have time to curate their portfolios with images and thoughts that reflect their educational journey. The vision is that these portfolios will be added to each year, documenting students' growth.
“We want to know you as a learner and we want you to know you as a learner,” Mrs. Daley-Savo said to the students.
The story students tell in their digital portfolios will focus on one or more of their school subjects—it’s up to them to decide. The school-wide portfolio template includes five sections: Goals/standards, Work I’m thinking about, Artifacts, Reflections and Biographical. Because the portfolios are digital, students can upload audio and video as well as writing and pictures.
The class talked about different things to put in the biographical section. Some students were super excited about John Jay's new mascot, the Wolves, and wanted to include that. One student downloaded the image of his favorite musical, Hamilton; another uploaded phots of her kitten. The connection between self-awareness and setting goals started to emerge.
“I’m going to show pictures of fashions I like,” said one student.
“Maybe you want to work on costume design when you get to John Jay High School?” asked Daley-Savo.
“Yes, I do!”