My school has writing portfolios. Each year, favorite narrative, nonfiction and opinion writing pieces are placed in a brown, accordion folder. These folders are first added to in Kindergarten are then added to again and again, year after year through 5th grade.
As a 5th grade writing teacher, it was such a treat to give out these Writing Portfolios to the 5th graders for their final addition and final reflection. For many, they have been at my school since Kindergarten and they received a quite full, accordion folder! First, I gave them 20 minutes just to look back and enjoy all their pieces. Here's a video showing their pure joy of seeing all that they had written over the past 6 years:
Then to celebrate, I asked them to pick ONE piece. Together we listened as they completed these sentences: I picked a piece of writing that I wrote in ______ grade.
I picked it because ___________.
What an amazing class period!!
I will admit that keeping writing portfolios is a big task for a school of 700 students. It is time-consuming to keep these portfolios and costly to purchase. Class time is needed to pick and get the pieces into the folders. Then time, as well as physical space, is needed to store them over the summer. Then more time to redistribute them to the next year's teacher as a new school year begins. Plus, time to make new ones for new students to the school.
However, after seeing my 5th graders interacting with them as they end their time at my school, it is DEFINITELY time and money well-spent!!
Does your school keep writing portfolios? If not, think about starting. Sure, it is one more thing to spend time and funds on but I am convinced. It is worth the time!