TeachersFirst's Gifted in Any Classroom: Me-Portfolios

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Gifted students can use technology tools to collect a meaningful me-portfolio of projects they are proud to share, inviting others to view (and even comment). Starting a me-portfolio even in elementary grades is a must for gifted students to gather their many projects and products.  As they grow up, they can add and change the portfolio, but having one place to "keep" all  their projects is a vital organizational skill for these oft-scattered students. More importantly, a me-portfolio will help them take pride in their work despite peer pressures and will give them a smooth way to share when applying for special programs, magnet schools, scholarships, and colleges.

These tools offer many ways for students to create a me-portfolio. Some are fairly simple, while others are full-blown, professional level tools designed to adults building an online resume. As your gifted students get started, have them work with the most sophisticated tool they can safely use, even if they barely touch on all its capabilities to start. Getting to know one tool gradually and thoroughly will serve them well in the long run and avoid the agony of "moving" things later. Some tools on the list are strictly for text-only, writing portfolios but are very easy to access and use.

If you work with students under age 13, there are options here that are safe to use. Read the reveiws for details. Since a me-portfolio will last beyond one school year, your best option is to have parents join the site with a family-monitored account so the younger student can keep it going indefinitely.

 

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Populr - populr.me

Grades
K to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Populr is an easy to use SINGLE web page creation tool. This tool is intended to create simple, quick pages that still look good. Sign up using your email, Facebook, ...more
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Populr is an easy to use SINGLE web page creation tool. This tool is intended to create simple, quick pages that still look good. Sign up using your email, Facebook, or Google to begin. Choose from different theme options or begin with a blank page to create your own web page. Edit easily with drop-down boxes for changing colors, fonts, and more. View short video tutorials each step of the way explaining available features. Collaborate with others by enabling the collaboration link. Enable the clone link for others to duplicate your page and create their own version. The free version of the site allows unlimited published pages, video recording, and a 12mb document limit. Note: There are examples from the general public available from the home page. Although none seems inappropriate at this time, you might want to preview before sharing with students.

tag(s): blogs (87), portfolios (25), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to post simple projects such as stories, poems, and art projects. This is a simple tool to create individual portfolios, too. In lower grades, create a page together as a class on a projector or whiteboard. Collect a master list of the links to student pages on your classroom website, wiki, or blog for easy access. If students create pages, be sure to check with your district's policy on student use of email as well as publishing of student work. You may want to use a single class account so you have control. Create websites for many projects: back to school introductions, any subject/topic, research projects, book reports... the possibilities go on and on! Create a handy page to share resources and information during field trips or outside activities. If you assign gifted students (age 13+) to do alternate projects beyond the regular curriculum, this may be one of the tools they like to use. You could use a teacher account so students do not have to create a login. This would also be a useful tool for middle and high school gifted students to create an online portfolio. Start by having them create a real world presence to publish links and images of their best work, especially projects that take on a life of their own long after the assignment ends. This is for students to present their best face to the public. Encourage them to take ownership of it.

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Checkthis - Checkthis

Grades
K to 12
23 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Create beautiful online posters at Checkthis, a free, instant web publishing program. Add text, website links, pictures, videos, maps, sounds, tweets, web links, polls, and more....more
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Create beautiful online posters at Checkthis, a free, instant web publishing program. Add text, website links, pictures, videos, maps, sounds, tweets, web links, polls, and more. An optional account lets you save your poster creations, customize URLs for the products, and return to edit later. If you wish to simply share a non-editable version, click Share and choose "no edit." Choose to share by email to see and copy the URL. Here is a sample. Every poster you create has its own URL, customizable if you create an account. You can also share via Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Develop your own "poster" in a few clicks. Check This offers a wide variety of uses for no cost. Be aware: There could be questionable posters and/or comments on the homepage or by clicking "explore." Please preview before sharing this site with students.

tag(s): blogs (87), posters (35)

In the Classroom

Checkthis can be used for school, personal, or family use. No class blog? Use Checkthis to create a free instant blog without memberships. Use for students to create their own personal posters. In lower grades, create posters together featuring class rules, sight words, and more. Share the finished products ad links from your class web page for parents and students to access together from home to reinforce concepts. Projects, written work, posters, blog posts, etc... become "published" with the unique URL given when you simply push the Publish button. Keep student portfolios under a whole class account so you can easily review and update from any computer (even from home). Students can read your comments and reflect. Create a class poster/page about famous inventors, habitats, natural resources, authors, scientists, parts of speech, science experiments, role-plays, character sketches, or math riddles. Have students illustrate idioms or vocabulary and terms using posters (in English or a world language). Have students (or groups) make health, nutrition, of fitness posters. Add each student's URL on your class website to share all student work without space limitations. Enhance writing portfolios with sound, video, and website links. Keep guided notes in your own space so you won't lose them. Share your lesson plans, ideas, and suggestions in an easy to find place, your own account! Create pages for after school clubs to keep current information. Add a parent blog to encourage communication between your class families. Your room parent will appreciate his/her own web page. Have each student create study pages for any content area. The sky is the limit for what each page includes. Your gifted students will love being able to publish a quick blog or poster and receive comments from gifted students in other classes or schools. Set up a blog hop using Checkthis in collaboration with other teachers you find via #gtchat in Twitter.

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About.Me - Tony Conrad, Ryan Freitas, Tim Young

Grades
6 to 12
5 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows ...more
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Promote yourself for college or future jobs by creating your own "me portfolio" website. No matter your age or stage in life, in today's world you are what Google shows about you. Take control of your online presence to show your chosen audience what YOU want them to know. You are more than your FaceBook persona or Linked In profile. About.Me allows you to create a "hub" with links to your online projects you want visitors to see. Upload a photo, write a short piece about your interests, then link to your online content and social networks. There is also an Assets page where you can download the About.Me logo and colors to add to other pages and projects you have on the web so visitors will link back to the hub and discover your other projects. Before creating your About.Me website, you might want to read about "branding" yourself on the Student Branding Blog reviewed here. The information on the Branding Blog applies to any adult, too. The Terms of Use for About.Me prohibits creating fictitious personas.

tag(s): college (43), internet safety (109), portfolios (25), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Counselors and teachers could work together to have high school students make About.Me the place they use as a "branding" home for themselves online. Start by making your own About.me page to mange your own professional presence and use as an example. Suggest to students that they use a "me portfolio" on About.Me for college apps, employment apps, etc. You might want to have students look at the "branding" suggestions from the Student Branding Blog before creating their page. Using About.Me is also the perfect opportunity to talk with students about their online presence and how outsiders might interpret what they decide to post on About.Me or any social network. Along with that discussion you'll want to review Internet safety and privacy. Consider using Internet Safety: Rules of the Road for Kids reviewed here. If you teach gifted students (13+) who are working beyond your regular curriculum, start by having them create a real world presence using About.Me, with parent permission of course. Use this space for them to publish links to their best work, especially projects that take on a life of their own long after the assignment ends. Have a student interested in international politics? Maybe STEM cell research? Have the share the class project that got the started along with essays about where they see themselves in ten years or portfolios of their related accomplishments, including those outside of school. This portfolio site is not something to "pile up" with everything. It is for them to present their best face to the public. Encourage them to take ownership of it.

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DIY - DIY Co

Grades
1 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Discover a free online portfolio or collection place specifically created for children to showcase things they make: projects, work, videos, and pictures. Upload videos or pictures...more
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Discover a free online portfolio or collection place specifically created for children to showcase things they make: projects, work, videos, and pictures. Upload videos or pictures of the projects from your computer or iOS app to the website. With an animal avatar identity and different name, children are not identifiable to outsiders. When a project is shown online, viewers can add stickers to show support. An Android app is "planned." Parents or teachers have a dashboard for reviewing all activity on the account. Students under 13 must provide a parent email for their parents to verify tha they give permission for the membership.

tag(s): portfolios (25)

In the Classroom

Leap into the age of technology by making your student portfolios digital. Use DIY for student portfolios of class projects, explorations at home, and family fun. To get started, make a whole-class account to share class accomplishments. Then move to having each student create his/her own. The digital portfolio includes an extra bonus: parent involvement. Using parent emails, the work shared brings a close home-school connection going beyond just parents to extended family and friends. Have basic standards and requirements for posting to encourage quality control. Excite and motivate students using this easy portfolio. Use for an after school club, such as book club, photography club, Lego club, Odyssey of the Mind, chorus, or news team to keep a digital record of events, ideas, or projects. During science fair or any long-term project, record step by step progress. Use as a presentation tool, data notebook, or reflection tool. Teachers of gifted (or teachers who have gifted students in their class) can encourage these students to start collecting a portfolio of their best work, especially projects that go beyond the regular schools curriculum or school year. If a student has a special interest in poetry, rocketry, or forestry, encourage him/her to start documenting accomplishments with explanations, pictures, and links.

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Bookemon - Bookemon, Inc.

Grades
K to 12
42 Favorites 1  Comments
 
Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing....more
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Write your own original books, add images and artwork as illustrations, and read your published books in interactive, online form. There is no fee for the online publication and sharing. This is the ultimate in "digital storytelling." Click "Explore" to browse many "public" examples on the templates page of books created by others. Take advantage of the free apps that make Bookemon even easier to use with any device! Use Bookemon Reader to READ books you created in Bookemon or Bookemon edCenter (available for both iOS and Android). BookPress for iOS devices only allows you to CREATE books from scratch, including using photos from your iPad/iPhone. InstaPress (for iOS only) offers options to make books from documents, pdfs, etc. to be shared on mobile devices as eBooks. Here is an example of a book created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors. Once you set up free membership in this site, students (or teachers) can select to create from a blank start or using templates provided. You can also create a book starter of your own as an example so students can follow the prompts you have created. The book creator allows you to upload your own images and to create books from a Word document or PowerPoint file you have already made. EdCenter users can collaborate on books.

After you save and publish the work, share the URL so people can read the entire thing online, either among an audience of "just my friends" or publicly. They also offer the embed code to place your books in a class or school web page, wiki, or blog. The easiest option is to copy the address of the new window displaying the interactive book. There is an option to have the book printed for a fee, but this is not required. You can also read books created by others (if they make them public). Use the fully-public option to create learning materials for classes to access year to year for at-home review or reading practice.

This site requires a simple registration. Teachers can set up an edCenter for their school or class in accordance with school policies. See more detailed suggestions "In the Classroom" below and in our sample book! Newer mobile device options include players to view your books on iPads and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (167), digital storytelling (135), writing (355)

In the Classroom

SKIP the profile and friends areas to get to the book creator to play with the tools a bit. Before you get too involved, create an edCenter to minimize advertising and create books in your own teacher-friendly class environment. Use the edCenter to register students and establish privacy settings for your class. No student emails are required.

On the Create Books page, choose from using a blank book, starting from a file, or using a template. Choose "school" to see projects from other classes or a sample created by you or a student team working in advance along with you. Explore ready-made themes (seasonal, topical, etc.) or use "open theme." Choose book dimensions (match layout shape to any uploaded files, such as PowerPoint slides). Enter settings and description of your book (editable later), including who is allowed to "see" it: everyone, just friends, or private. Again choose a "theme" - more of a category where Bookemon will list your completed book. A logical option is "school." Experiment with tools to upload files (within file limits), add images, add text, etc. Written help is offered as you go, but there is no video demo. SAVE often. Turn margins on to avoid chopping content. To share the book, you must "publish" it (i.e. finalize).

Once published, locate the book under "My Books" and use options to share (by email--and see the URL to copy from there), "Make a new edition" to create a new version--also useful for treating the original as a template for later books), Post to Other Sites offers embed codes. The BEST option is to click the book COVER which opens a new window without ads or "stuff," and copy the ADDRESS of that window to paste into email, etc. You can also mark that clean window view as a Favorite on a classroom computer!

Use your edCenter settings to manage social networking features. This will avoid the "public" Bookemon features such as opportunities to share address books, use social tools such as Facebook to share your books, etc. Teacher-controlled edCenter accounts are probably the easiest option for managing within school policies.

With younger students, have them begin their work in PowerPoint then upload for whole-class books. See an example, created by the TeachersFirst Edge editors . The example is full of ideas for classroom use from Kindergarten to high school, including science concept tales, poetry books, general writing, math problem solve-its, and more. ANY grade can use this tool, depending on the amount of direction by the teacher. (By the way, the correct answer to the problem in the sample book is c. 27.) Another idea: have students create personalized books for their parents or grandparents for special occasions (Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Grandparent's Day).

Use the mobile device features offered in your BYOD classroom to make and share books, PDF's, and more. Tip: Use this site for a guided introduction to social networking as a class, an excellent teaching opportunity for digital citizenship in the context of a project.

This is one of the best creative tools for gifted students to go above and beyond regular curriculum. Don't let the "juvenile" appearance fool you. Even older students can write and include images to create and share books of any length. Any independent research or writing project can become an interactive book. Even advanced science experiments and lab reports can be shared online using this tool. Once you have one book, you can use that as a template for others. Inspire your gifted students to create literary magazine or even a personal online "portfolio" of writing, artwork, or photography presented in interactive book form.

Comments

This is one of my all time favorite creative tools. Very versatile. Great for making "buddy books" or for teacher-created learning "books." Make one as a whole class to summarize a science unit in primary grades. I even use it personally to make fee online "gifts" for children I know. I did purchase one print version, and it looked great. Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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Homestyler - Autodesk

Grades
5 to 12
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Homestyler is a free online interior design planner. Users choose a layout plan, add details such as doors, windows, and furnishings, and then decide on color schemes for interior decorating....more
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Homestyler is a free online interior design planner. Users choose a layout plan, add details such as doors, windows, and furnishings, and then decide on color schemes for interior decorating. Designs are viewable in both a 2D and 3D format. This is a free online program that requires no downloading. Registration does require an email address. This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. Check to make sure all portions of this site are available when using your school's network. Homestyler does have a retail component that suggests certain name brands for appliances, and building supplies but the 3D designing capability outshines this form of advertising.

tag(s): architecture (83), area (65), design (84), volume (46)

In the Classroom

Users click and drag design components onto the main layout page. The free draw tool is a bit trickier to control but is similar to drawing tools in other programs. The perimeter measurement scrolls alongside the line you are drawing. The interface for such a complicated concept is intuitive. Students will need explicit instructions on how to operate this program.

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to share the tutorial presentation and demonstrate how to use the design tools. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Consider this resource to help math students visualize how to compute the surface area of three-dimensional shapes and understand how area and volume change with scale. Social Studies and History teachers can ask students to re-create the interior of an early American home, Greek Temple or even their own classroom. With guidance, this could be a wonderful tool to help younger students understand interior mapping skills. Classrooms focusing on "real-world learning" may find this a valuable resource tool to help students create design plans for an alternative environment.

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