I have been placing a focus on giving teachers tips and ideas for creating portfolios with their students. The last tips suggested that teachers begin with short term small projects and work their way up to longer term and more detailed projects.
When planning long term projects be certain to check your schedule and plan around a time when students will have uninterrupted school days.
In addition to checking your timing, also check your unit plans. Plan your portfolio projects around units that will be exciting and interesting to the students. For example students are often interested in dinosaurs, insects, computers, poetry, and more. After you have selected your unit, begin thinking of activities that will draw students in and capture their interest.
You want your students to be involved in literature and information hunting through a library source. You want your students to be reading and gathering information through reading comprehension skills. You also want your students to do some creating through writing, designing, and computing. Allow projects that can be carried out by a variety of student ability levels. It is often helpful to create minimum requirements. This way all of the students will know exactly what they have to do and many will excel the expectations.
Always make sure that your students understand your expectations clearly. You want to give each child a sheet with project instructions. After handing out the sheet, go over it with the class and accept any questions that they may have.
As with all projects, some students will take the information and begin immediately. However others may need more encouragement and even a little push. Monitor your students work along the way and give motivation to those that need it. Some students may find it beneficial to work in pairs or in groups.