designing teacher education portfolios

 

Designing a Teacher Education Portfolio Using LiveText

Disclaimer - The information on this website should not be considered official policy or procedure. Policies can change and interpretations can vary. This website is intended as a helpful way to direct you to information about various teacher education policies. Please consult with your academic advisor, course instructor and authoritative documents for official policy.

The Cal U Department of Childhood Education Portfolio Handbook contains the official department portfolio policies and information. Please obtain the most recent edition of the handbook prior to beginning your LiveText portfolio.

Introduction

What is the purpose of the portfolio in the Cal U Childhood Education Department?

Although portfolios can be used for a variety of assessment purposes, the Cal U LiveText teacher education portfolio is used for a specific purpose.  “A portfolio is an organized, goal-driven documentation of your professional growth and achieved competence in the complex act called teaching” (Campell et. al. 2007, p. 3). The teacher education portfolio’s purpose is to provide documentation and evidence that you have achieved the competencies expected of beginning teachers as described by the Cal U Conceptual Framework's 12 principles.  In order to help you develop your teaching skills it is important that you understand the teaching competencies expected of beginning teachers AND how each of the assignments in your teacher education courses help you practice and develop those beginning teacher knowledge, skills and dispositions.  The Cal U teacher education portfolio provides you with the opportunity to synthesize your learning from course assignments and evaluate how these assignments help you achieve proficiency in each of the 12 principles.  The portfolio also provides you the opportunity to make the case to Cal U faculty that you have attained the teaching knowledge, skills and dispositions expected of beginning teachers during your application to student teach.  Learning to teach is a complex process and the teacher education portfolio provides the opportunity to evaluate and document your growing teaching skills.

Campbell, D. M., Cignetti, P. B., Melenyzer, B. J., Nettles, D. H., & Wyman Jr., R. M. (2007). How to develop a professional portfolio (4th ed.). New York, NY: Allyn & Bacon.

Purchasing and Logging into your LiveText Account

LiveText is a required software package for all teacher education programs at California University of Pennsylvania.  Teacher education students must purchase, activate and maintain their own LiveText accounts.  Teacher education students may need to complete designated surveys or activities in LiveText as part of this course.

The first thing you must do is purchase LiveText and log into your account. Information on how to buy and register please go the LiveText website.

Students in the Introduction courses (TED 100, ESP 301, SEC 150, ELE 200) should purchase their account by the end of the first week of class and set it up by the end of the second week.   Students will not be able to use their financial aid to purchase it in the bookstore after the first week.  It is important for the students to register early in the semester so they can complete the assessments.

Live Text Help Sessions

The first place to learn about portfolios and the LiveText program is in your classes from your instructors and advisors. During the semester there are LiveText help sessions. Watch for email and flyer announcements each semester about help session hours.

The LiveText Help Center provides excellent tutorials and documents on key aspects of using LiveText. This is a first stop for many of your LiveText questions. Log into your LiveText account and click on the "help" tab at the top of the page.

Portfolio Vocabulary - Working, Presentation and Common

There are different ways to think and use porfolios to enhance your learning. I recommend that you start with a working portfolio. "A working portfolio contains unabridged versions of the documents you have carefully selected to portray your professional growth. It is always much larger and more completed than a presentation portfolio (Campbell, Campbell, Cignetti, Melenyzer, Nettles, & Wyman, 2007, p. 4). It is a place where you tentatively organize things and place them for future use.

"A presentation portfolio is compiled for the expressed purpose of giving others an effective and easy-to-read portrait of your professional competence. A presentation portfolio is selective and streamlined because other people usually do not have the time to review all the material in your working portfolio" (Campbell et. al., 2007, p. 4). It is a porfolio you submit for review and evalation. It represents your best work with exemplary attention to the format and content. Often you might take the working portfolio which has many artifacts and prune or trim or select some of the best artifacts for use in the presentation porfolio.

A common portfolio refers to the portfolio that is common to all teacher education candiates (such as special ed, secondary ed, etc.) at the California University of Pennsylvania. There is a common portfolio template for you to use in LiveText. There may be other portfolios that you will create based on the common portfolio for specialized areas depending on your major and degree. Please see your advisor for the most recent portfolio requirement information

Performance Principles

There are 12 principles that describe what a beginning teacher should be able to know and do. These principles cover basic beginning teacher knowledge, skills and dispositions. The first ten were developed by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) and the last two were added by the Cal U teacher education faculty. After reading the principles and thinking about them ask yourself, "Do I understand what beginning teachers should know and be able to do?"

Artifact or Evidence or Documentation

Once you understand the principle, the next objective in putting together your portfolio is to provide evidence that you have the knowledge, skill or disposition described in the principle. So ask yourself, "What evidence would show that I demonstrate the knowledge, skill or behavior contained in the principle?" For example, if your objective is to show that you know how to plan for instruction, what evidence do you have that would demonstrate that you can plan instruction? You probably have an excellent lesson plan that would document your ability to plan for instruction. The lesson plan document is called an artifact in portfolio vocabulary.

A portfolio artifact can be anything that provides evidence that you accomplished the principle. "An artifact is tangible evidence of knowledge that is gained, skills that are mastered, values that are clarified, or dispositions and attitudes that are characteristic of you" (Campbell et. al., 2007, p. 6). Assignments, papers, tests, pictures, journals, videos....anything. In most cases, you turn the artifact into an electronic document and insert it into the correct location in your LiveText common portfolio.

Any experience where you learned teaching skills expected of beginning teachers can be turned into an artifact for your portfolio. You can write about your experience and then the text becomes the artifact. You can take a picture or even scan items to put in your portfolio. Most people use assignments they created in their university courses as evidence that they have acquired the basic teaching skills described in the principles.

Writing Artifact Rationales

One of the best resources on developing portfolios in teacher education is the following book.

Campbell, D. M., Cignetti, P. B., Melenyzer, B. J., Nettles, D. H., & Wyman Jr., R. M. (2007). How to develop a professional portfolio (4th ed.). New York, NY: Allyn & Bacon.

"In each section of your portfolio, you will insert various artifacts that document your proficiency and experience for that standard. However, readers of your portfolio will not necessarily know why you included these particular artifacts. Therefore, you need to include a rationale for each artifact in the [portfolio]. Type a brief statement explaining your justification for including this artifact in the portfolio for this particular standard. This statement should be no longer than one page. Make sure that you explain why this is an example of your best work, specifically for this standard. Your rationale should show the reader that you know what you are capable of doing in terms of meeting the standard. Be specific about showcasing your abilities" (Campbell et. al., 2007, p. 15-16).

The rationale should answer the following questions (adapted from Campbell, et al, 2007). Some course instructors suggest that each question be contained in a separate paragraph so that you have a four paragraph rationale.

1. What is this artifact? What is the experience that the artifact documents?
2. What principle does it address and why did I put it under this principle?
3. How does this artifact show that I meet or exceed the teaching competencies in this teaching principle?
4. How will the knowledge or skill that this artifact documents be used in the future or transfer to new teaching situations. What did I learn by doing this?

Sample Rationale (adapted from an example by Dr. Christine Peterson)

1.   What is this artifact? What is the experience that the artifact documents?

I have included the artifact "Graphing Birthdays- A Second Grade Lesson Plan and Reflection."   I received the opportunity to teach my first lesson plan in my field experience course.   I taught this lesson to second graders who had just begun learning about graphing.   At a previous visit and observation the students were using calendars during their math lesson. The teacher indicated which subjects the students would be learning about upon my return to teach the lesson.   I decided to use the students' prior knowledge of using a calendar in my lesson on graphing.   The lesson met the objectives of what the students were learning about that particular week.  The artifact represents the experience of planning to teach second graders about graphing.

2. What principle does it address and why did I put it under this principle?

This lesson plan artifact was selected for Principle Seven: Instructional Planning Skills. I have documented this artifact under principle seven because it demonstrates my ability to organize a lesson to meet the standards of the grade level.   I included age appropriate methods as shown in section 4 in to the lesson to motivate the students.  The lesson shows my understanding of the components of instructional planning by including each of the parts of an effective lesson as I learned in my instructional strategies course.  It represents my best work so far at planning a lesson.  This lesson plan especially shows my ability to plan a lesson through the way I integrated several academic standards (see section 2) and instructional strategies (see the development section) to reach all the diverse learners in my classroom.

3. How does this artifact show that I meet or exceed the teaching competencies in this teaching principle?

Principle seven describes that beginning teachers need to demonstrate instructional planning skills.  This lesson plan consisted of discussing why, how, and what types of graphs they have used.   The students documented their birthdays on calendars that we created on the chalkboard.   After the completion of the calendars the students compared the number of birthdays for each month, analyzing which month had the most and the least birthdays.   The children then graphed the number of birthdays based on gender and season. The children were very eager to share their birth dates with the class as they posted the information on the calendars.   To conclude the lesson the children were asked questions pertaining to other types of information that could be included on a chart or graph and how graphing is useful for collecting and representing information.  This lesson demonstrates that I understand how standards, in this case standard xxx, can be developed from the children’s interest (calendars) into a lesson that helps all the children in my classroom learn (see accommodations section).


 
4. How will the knowledge or skill that this artifact documents be used in the future or transfer to new teaching situations? What did I learn by doing this?


I learned from this experience that it is very challenging to write an effective lesson plan.   There are so many factors that have to be considered such as: the age of the children, objectives and curriculum goals, methods of instruction, and assessment to just name a few.   I didn't realize how involved a process it is to develop a lesson plan and the amount of time it took to write it.   The most important piece of learning for me came during the teaching of this lesson.  It wasn’t going exactly as I planned it on paper, but I remembered a question I had written on my lesson plan.  I asked that question and as I listened to the students answer the question about how they would explain constructing a graph (see question #8) it was clear that they were mixing up the X and Y-axis.  I went back and re-explained the difference, had them go through another guided practice exercise and then try the independent practice activity again.  It is now so clear to me how important formative questions are, embedding assessment within teaching a lesson and planning for instruction ahead of time on paper so that I am well prepared for teaching.

Rationales for each artifact or one rationale for all artifacts in a principle?

In many teacher education courses you may be directed to use one assignment as the Performance Assessment Project (PAP) for that course. You may also be directed to write a rationale for that assignment artifact and perhaps even which principle to put it under. In this situation you already have rationales written and can place them in your LiveText portfolio in the space provided. In this case you would have one rationale for each artifact under that principle.

It is also possible that you selected artifacts without prior written rationales. In this case you can write one rationale for all the artifacts under that principle. Make sure to cover each of the artifacts and use the same format as for the individual rationales. The overall question you should answer in a principle summary rationale is: "How do these artifacts collectively demonstrate that I've attained the knowledge, skill or disposition described in this principle?"

Resume

One of the first things you will need to do is to create a very basic resume. Information on resumes can be found on the Cal U Career Services website. You might like to look at this very basic resume format that can be downloaded to your comupter and used as a framework to start the resume design process.

Educational Philosophy Statement

Each person comes to their job as a teacher with unique experiences, perspectives and thoughts about what is valuable in education. These deeply held beliefs help determine the kinds of instructional decisions that you make as a teacher. It is fairly easy to articulate lofty teaching beliefs and then select instructional strategies that are not congruent with your teaching beliefs. A reflective teacher strives to consciously improve the congruence between their teaching beliefs and the instructional strategies they select for the children in their classrooms.

The educational philosophy statement provides an opportunity to examine your teaching beliefs, make some choices and then express these ideas in a concise narrative. There are many styles and formats for teaching philosophy statments.

Typically, teaching philosophy statements are about 1-2 pages in length and answer the questions:

1. What values, beliefs and explanations do you hold about the value of education, the purpose of education, and how children learn?

2. How would you describe the characteristics of the ideal teacher you want to be?

3. What kinds of instructional decisions and strategies would you choose that are congruent with your vision of an exemplary teacher?

Below are some very good references to get started.

Ohio State University; Oregon State; Oregon State Examples; Dr. Jugen Combs;

Dr. Peterson collected the following downloadable documents on writing educational philosophy statements and three examples of educational philosophy statements.

 

Directions for creating a LiveText Portfolio file

Log into LiveText; Select the "Documents" tab; Select the "new" buton; Go to "select a folder" and select "PreK-Grade4 Templates"; Go to "choose a template" and select "Porfolio for PreK-Grade 4"; Go to "title" and type in a name for your portfolio; Go to "description" and type in a description; Select "save as new document" button; A new portfolio document appears on your screen that you can edit.

Directions for submitting your portfolio for review

Log into LiveText and open up the portfolio file that you are trying to send.
Find and select the “send for review” button at the top of the “About Me” Section.
Type in “hug” (or other faculty name); my full LiveText address should appear with some other options. Select my name.
Find and select the green button “submit for review”
LiveText will send your portfolio to my account and provide confirmation.

Basic HTML Formating Commands

In creating your portfolio it may be helpful to know a few html codes for formating your portfolio. Listed below are a few of the most basic ones to get you started. Follow these links to webpages with more information on using html codes. Webpage 1

All html codes must be written within brackets (tag). A particular html tag must have a beginning tag to turn on the fuction and then a ending tag to turn it off. The text in between the "tags" follows the html code directions.

To center text - <center> My Portfolio Heading </center>

To bold text - <b> Your Text Here </b>

To italize - <i> Your Text Here </i>

To increase text size by one level - <font size="+1"> Your Text Here</font>

To start a new line - <br> (no closing tag needed)

To skip a line and start on the next line like a paragraph - <p> (no closing tag needed)

 

Cal U Porfolio Policies and Procedures

Recommendation for Student Teaching

As you near the completion of your coursework, you must apply for a recommendation for student teaching. Only those students who demonstrate the ability to meet or exceed the minimum requirements will be allowed to student teach. You must fill out the Recommendation to Student Teach Form and compile a packet of information.

You must locate the most recent information about the recommendation to student teach process in the current version of the teacher education program handbook and other forms located on the Cal U Education forms website.

The deadline for submitting your recommendation for student teaching packet to the Department of Elementary/Early Childhood office will most likely be earlier than the deadlines listed on the College of Education and Human Services website. Please look for email announcements or check with your advisior for the deadline.

Recommendation for Student Teaching Application Notes

a. The advisor signatures on the recommendation for student teaching form, grade calculator and portfolio form will be filled out by the faculty member who reviews your portfolio. You do not need your advisor's signature prior to submitting the packet.

b. The academic transcript and the activities transcript can both be unofficial transcripts downloaded from websites.

c. #4 on the recommendation for student teaching form asks for a current advising sheet. This will be supplied from your student file. You do not need to include this in your packet.

LiveText Portfolio Requirements - Recommendation for Student Teaching

As part of the recommendation for student teaching process you will need to prepare a presentation portfolio, send it to a faculty reviewer and participate in an interview with the faculty member.

Students (undergraduate and post-baccalaureate) this semester must turn in their portfolio totally on LiveText. Students must have their LiveText accounts active. Students must have the following items on LiveText (minimum requirements): a) performance principle explanations b) rationales and c) artifacts.

Graduate Students should consult with the graduate coordinator in their program.

What goes in my portfolio?

Performance Assessment Projects (PAP or in some cases Performance Assessment Tasks, PAT) California University Elementary/Early Childhood Teacher Education courses designate an assignment as the Performance Assessment Project (PAP) to be part of the teacher education portfolio. These PAP's can be selected as artifacts for each of the 12 principles in the portfolio. You can download a list of the course PAP's and which principles they might fit best under by clicking here on Portfolio Assessment Chart .

Portfolio Summary Document Form - The Portfolio Summary Document Form is set up as a cross reference to help you organize you artifacts and make sure everything is covered. Students should list all the PATs on one side.  Some areas will contain blank spaces on the form because you are still taking classes.  Then on the other side of the portfolio document sheet students should list the artifacts they are putting in the porfolio at this point. This completed form needs to be submitted with your recommendation for student teaching packet to the Department office.

Portfolio Interview with Faculty (A part of the Recommendation for Student Teaching process)

Note: much of the fowing material is quoted or adapted from work by the Elementary/Early Childhood Portfolio Committee, October 2008-2011.

Congratulations! You have reached another mile marker on your way to teaching and it's time to schedule your recommendation for student teaching portfolio interview.  Here are the guidelines for you to follow.

About Your "Recommendation for Student Teaching" Packet:
Follow the directions on the College of Education and Human Services website and Teacher Education Program Student Handbook. Turn the completed packet into the elementary education office by the announced deadline. Make sure to include the portfolio summary sheet.

About the Portfolio:
1. For each of the 12 principles, you need: at least two (or more) artifacts and one rationale.  Please remember to put the rationale under the “rationale for selection of artifact” tab on LiveText. Notice that we are asking you to submit only ONE artifact for each principle. If your presentation portfolio contains multiple artifacts for each principle then you need to include a summary rationale that describes all the artifacts you include for that principle OR include individual rationales for each artifact.
2. Once you find out who your portfolio interviewer is, send your LiveText portfolio to that professor by the due date.  EVERYBODY has the same deadline no matter when your interview might be.  So you must have everything uploaded onto LiveText and sent to your portfolio interviewer's account.  

Preparing for your Portfolio Interview:

Look for the announcements for how to schedule your portfolio interview. You need to contact the Department of Elementary/Early Childhood Education Department to signup for this interview and be assigned to a faculty member who will conduct the interview.

1. Contact the faculty member you are assigned for the portfolio interview and make an appointment to meet with them in person, by phone or by email.

2. Complete your electronic presentation portfolio. Use LiveText to compile the documents you will be using in your electronic portfolio. Check with your instructor or advisor for more information on how to put together a livetext portfolio.

3.    Send your LiveText Portfolio through LiveText to your interviewer by the announced deadline.

4. Prepare for your faculty interview by reviewing your portfolio and develop your understanding of constructivism as it relates to teachers and education. Although every faculty interviewer is different, you should expect that they will ask you to share important aspects of your portfolio, ask some questions about constructivism and ask about your experience in the teacher education program. You can download example questions that might be asked during your portfolio interview.

If you would like to brush up on your undestanding of constructivism the following website has an article written by Ernst vonGlasersfeld. It would be helpful in your preparation to understand the key principles vonGlasersfeld credits Piaget with inspiring.

Live Text Portfolio Information

Webquests: Attaching in Livetext - Currently, if you have created a webquest and want to use it in your LiveText portfolio there are a few things to consider. Go to the principle in your portfolio where you want to display it. Then click on edit under one of the artifact areas and attach the individual webquest files in the order you want them to be viewed. After your rationale statement please type a note something like the following: "The following attachments are files from a webquest. The individual webquest files are attached in order that they should be viewed and must be opened and closed individually." We are working on the technical issues and strategies for the webquest to work naturally in LiveText.

How do I view my graded portfolio? - The grades can be found in your LiveText account under the Review area.  I think the following directions should help you find your portfolio grade.

1. On the left hand menu click on "Reviews."
2. Under Reviews, you should see two tabs, click on "Sent for Review."
3. You should see the name of your portfolio and a column on the far right that says "Action."
4. Click on the "View" link.
5. Click on the "View Assessment" option in the green tool bar at the top of the page.
6. Click the principle that contains your review.

How do I scan artificats such as books or posters? - The Elementary/Early Childhood Education Faculty Portfolio Committee would like to share an idea with you that you might want to use for artifacts that are very difficult to scan (for example, the Phenomenological Journal you do in science or the book you may have written in Language and Literacy I).  Instead of scanning these difficult items and attaching them to the artifacts section, try this:

  1. Type a one page document that describes the artifact.  Make this about a paragraph long --- no more than two.  Simply tell us what the artifact is.  Tell a little bit about how you created it and why.  Tell us that you have the hard copy and it is available for review upon request.  Click on the edit button for "Artifact 1" and paste this one page document in there.  (See example below.)  If you wish, you may also paste in a picture of the artifact.  That will add some visual impact, but it is not necessary.  
  2. Use the rationale that you've already written for that document.  Click on the edit button for "Rationale for Selection of Documents" and paste it in there. (This is nothing different from what you were already expected to do.)
  3. When you come in for your interview, simply bring the hardcopy of your document with you.

Example #1
Let’s imagine that you wrote a children's book for Language and Literacy I with Dr. Farrer. Under “Interpretation of the Principle” you type your interpretation of the principle you’ve decided to use with this document.  Then, under the “Rationale for Selection of Documents” tab, you paste the rationale that you wrote when you created the book and turned it in to her.  Finally, in the tab, “Artifact 1,” you type something like this:

Writing a Children’s Book

While in EDE 300, Language and Literacy I, I wrote a children’s book.  In this course, I learned the writing process, and used this process to create this book.  I produced a manuscript, including illustrations, and submitted this to Dr. Farrer as part of the performance assessment requirements for this course.  It was so exciting, a few weeks later, to see my book published!  I am very proud of my book, and am including it in under this Principle to show my capabilities.  The hard copy of the book is available for review upon request.

Then, when you come into your interview, bring the book that you wrote with you so that the interviewer can look at it.  

What do I do when I have a lot of artifacts from my classes in LiveText Portfolio and my faculty portfolio reviewer just told me I only need two artifacts per principle?

If you have carefully collected PAPs and saved them for your portfolio, you are in good shape!  In fact, some of you are in such great shape that you don’t know what to do with all those extra PAPs!  Since we are only scoring two of the documents that you have submitted to each Principle, here is a suggestion for what to do:
1.    Pick your favorite documents for each Principle. This should be the strongest artifiacts that shows you acheived proficiency on that principle.  That is the one you should paste in.

2.    Go to the Principle, and click on the “edit” button for “Interpretation of the Principle.”  Type what you were already planning to type for this.

3.    Then go to “Rationale for Selection of Artifacts.”  Click on edit and type a statement that says something like this:  “I have had four experiences that show I am capable of planning for instruction.  The one that I would like to submit for review is __________________, called “_____________.”  I have pasted it in the Artifacts section of this Principle, shown below.  My rationale for including it is shown in the next paragraph.  The other experiences are attached in the section below, called “Other Artifacts.”

4.    Just below this, paste in the rationale that you already wrote for your “favorite document.” Now you’re finished with the rationale section.

5.    Go to “Artifact 1” and click on “edit.”  Paste in that favorite document of yours.   

6.    Go to “Artifact 2” and click on “edit.”  Name this “Other Artifacts.”  Attach all of the additional documents that you want to include with the principle right there. (To do this, scroll down.  You’ll see “Attachments” and the “edit” button next to it.  Click on that, and then browse to find the document that you need.  Attach it.  Make sure it is appropriately titled in your files, so that a reviewer can make sense of it.  Do this for each document that you want to include.)


Example

Chelsy has 4 lesson plans that she’s done for her classes, and has decided they all belong under Principle 7, Instructional Planning Skills. She has chosen to put her lesson plan for EDE 340, Language and Literacy II, as the “one” that she wants her interviewer to see in detail.  In the “Interpretation of Principle” tab, she types her statement of what this principle means to her.

Next, Chelsy clicks on the edit button for “Rationale for Selection of Artifacts.”  She types this:

“In my coursework at California University I have had four experiences that show I am capable of planning for instruction.  The one that I am particularly proud of is the lesson plan that I wrote for EDE 340, called “Guided Reading Lesson Plan.”  I have submitted it for review and it is pasted in the Artifacts section of this Principle, shown below. My rationale for including it is shown here, in the next paragraph. The other experiences, which also show my capabilities in lesson planning, are documented and are attached below, under “Other Artifacts.”

Then Chelsy pastes the rationale that she wrote for the lesson plan in EDE 340.  (She already wrote that rationale last semester, when she turned it in to Dr. Nettles.  All she has to do right now is paste it.) She’s done with the rationale section now.

Next, she clicks on the edit button for “Artifact 1” and gives this artifact a name:  “Guided Reading Lesson Plan.”   Then she pastes the document in.

Finally, she clicks on the edit button for “Artifact 2” and attaches the other three lesson plan documents that she wants to include.  She makes sure to name this section “Other Artifacts.”  Now she’s done!

Teacher Education Assessments

All students in education will complete surveys through their LiveText accounts. The following is a list of those surveys and the course where they take that survey.

a.     Conceptual Framework Level One – Courses:  TED 100, ESP 301, SEC 150, ELE 200

b.     Professional Dispositions Level One – Courses:  TED 100, ESP 301, SEC 150, ELE 200

c.     Conceptual Framework Level Two – Courses:  TED 300, ESP 406, SEC 300, ELE 450

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Last updated: February 7, 2017

 

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