OMIS students present portfolios about their education

NORTH SHELBY – Parents of Oak Mountain Intermediate School students glimpsed into their children’s academic journey on Wednesday, Feb. 21, during student-led conferences.

Beginning at 8:45 a.m. in the school cafeteria, parents sat down with students, who presented digital portfolios about what they have learned this school year and their goals for the rest of the year.

“It’s a way to put students in the driver’s seat,” OMIS Principal Pat LeQuier said.

More than 50 fifth grade students in Aubrey Huynh’s and Michelle Tindal’s classes presented their portfolios through school-owned laptop computers.

“We’re proud of our work and can’t wait to share it with you,” student Meredith Dyer said during a welcome to those in attendance.

Huynh and Tindal, along with two other OMIS teachers, are working toward National Board Certification.

Part of the process is identifying a student need, which they determined to be students taking ownership of their learning.

In the past, a handful of students from each class made presentations for student-led conferences that included hard copies of assignments and other materials.

This year, a template for a digital portfolio was developed, and other teachers were trained on its use.

And all students in Huynh’s and Tindal’s classes participated.

“We decided this year it was a valuable enough opportunity to make it available to everybody,” Huynh said.

Though the template provides a foundation, students included their personal goals, uploaded scanned assignments that demonstrated their progress and selected photographs to personalize their portfolios.

“The focus is really on the kids,” Huynh said. “They did everything themselves. We were just facilitators.”

“We said, ‘You need to figure it out, persevere,’ and they did.”

Student Derrick Reeves chose a tiger for the cover photo of his portfolio based on his affection for Louisiana State University sports.

For each subject—language arts, science/social studies, math, etc.—the portfolios included mastered learning targets, those not yet mastered, favorite thing learned and a goal.

Reeves said the exercise was good practice with digital portfolio software, gave him confidence with speaking to adults and even taught him a few things about his learning style.

“I’m a visual learner,” Reeves said. “I can’t just think it through; I need to see it.”