Why ePortfolios?As a teacher, I have always valued student portfolios. For me, ideally, portfolios are a place where students create a multimedia rich story of their learning. They can showcase their highlights along with areas of growth. Students and their parents can view and reflect on work and experiences in the classroom and beyond. Learning over a school year or many years can showcase the growth and development of a learner.
How FreshGrade works
Ways Students and Parents interact with me via FreshGrade
Feedback from parents and students has been outstanding. Parents are constantly thanking me for providing a window of insight into classroom activities. Even a simple photo of a student during the school day provide an opportunity to connect parents to the learning activities.
How I've changed my practiceA common hesitation to trying a new tool in the classroom is the time it takes a teacher to learn and manage. The advantage I've discovered has been how much FreshGrade has changed my practice. There are a number of other tasks that FreshGrade has allowed me to stop doing. For example, I used to have a public teacher website where I posted lessons, a calendar and assignments. I've now moved all the notices and assignment descriptions into FreshGrade. This allows students to login and review criteria whenever they want. I no long need a paper gradebook of marks. I've exclusively used the mastery scale for student work and assess with language like fully meeting, exceeding and meeting expectations. I can also give meaningful feedback to help students improve on future assignments.
Final thoughtsThis coming school year I'm again going to use FreshGrade right from when I meet my students. I will be sending home a welcome email with a introduction on how I use FreshGrade. In the past parents have completed a paper form to introduce their child. Now this will be done entirely on FreshGrade this year. I find that the sooner that I reinforce the use of FreshGrade the easier it is to engage students throughout the year.
I'd be interested in comments below to learn how other educators are using FreshGrade. Leave a comment!