YearLONG Writing Portfolios

This post is completely dedicated to why I save keep hoard my student's writing projects all year long and send them home at the end of the year. I have to admit that in the past I would have my kiddos complete a writing project, display it for my class to see, take it down and send it home. Ugh, I'm sure half of them didn't survive the bus ride home. All that hard work. All that dedication. DOWN. THE. DRAIN.

Last year I decided to try something different. Not only did I switch grade levels but I wanted to change things up. Instead of having my kids not remember anything we did throughout the year, I wanted to save their work and collect it in a portfolio as a keepsake.

Who wouldn't want a year book to show their families of their writing accomplishments??

Now, before you begin saying "What was she thinking? Where did she keep all of that? How did she pass it out?" There is a method to my madness.

First, my writing projects are not your typical 8 1/2 x 11 standard paper size. Most projects are large sheets of paper glued together with a writing project and sometimes craft attached. There is NO way that kind of project would fit neatly into a binder.

The small 1-inch binders worked perfectly after we folded their
projects down.

Last year, I tried to have my kids put their projects in a few at a time into their writing portfolio binders. Hmmm....not my best idea. The projects did not fit in their binders well AND sit on a shelf inside a hidden cupboard.

So, this year I tried something completely different. I grabbed a large box and hid it on the other side of my desk (out of everyone's view) and would put their writing projects inside the box after I took it down from the hallway. Of course, by the end of the year the projects were piling up nearly twice the size of the box. BUT the system totally worked.

This is a sample of a student's portfolio in the correct order BEFORE
I helped them fold down some of their larger projects. Like I said, there
is NO way this would have fit neatly on a shelf!

I lost my voice the last week of school.

I know most would say perfect timing, right?


After having an asthma attack at school and losing my voice for nearly 5 days that was the last thing I wanted.

While my kiddos were busing completing their end of the year Memory Book I started sorting through their projects by month. Yep, it took a while but it made the process so much easier!!

I really feel like this picture does not portray how many writing projects there were.
We did 35 writing projects and I have 23 kids so that really adds up!!

Today was the big day and I had my kids make a writing cover while I finished sorting their projects. I cut and glued them to the cover and they really made the binders pop. I had the kids open their binders and keep all of their projects on their desk.

Once they were all passed out, I had the kids move their projects from their desk to their chairs and I would announce the project I wanted them to find and wrote the title on the board. We went through each month and put the projects in order for the year. By the end of our project, the kids were amazed to discover we did 35 (yes 35) writing projects this year!

This is a sample of a portfolio AFTER I helped organize and
fold some of the larger projects down to fit inside the binder.

Once they were organized, I helped fold down some of their larger writing projects, place inside a plastic grocery bag and voila we were done!

The best part of this project was listening to the kids shout out things as they read their old projects.

"I remember this!"
"This was so much fun!"
"This was my favorite project!"
"I completely forgot about this!"

What do you do with your writing projects? I would love to hear other ideas!


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