19 April 2016

Super Spanish Portfolio Blog Setup

Portfolios have been working really well this year. Blogs have also been working really well.

After TELLcollab, though, I think they can work even better together.

Think about it: no need for a whole separate Google Site. No need to create a class blog for each project. No need to sift through Seesaw or Classroom for weekly self-selected homework. The posts can show a chronological proficiency progression, and blog pages can work to show off samples divided by communication skill!

So here's my vision.

Portfolio Blog Contents


Students will create four SKILL PAGES--one each for Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. This is where they will embed their skill VoiceThreads (rather than creating an infograph or a whole Google Site), and they can also insert images of the badges below as they earn them!

I got the idea for a PROFICIENCY PATH PAGE from @senoritasatar at TELLcollab. She has her students create personalized proficiency paths for their interactive notebooks. Whether it was combo meals or butterfly life cycles or the Shire, the visual analogies were such a perfect way to connect students' existing frameworks for understanding growth to the concept of proficiency development. However, I still want students to have the babies, rubrics, and proficiency cone to illustrate where we're heading in my their notebooks, but I think this would be a beautiful thing to demonstrate to potential portfolio audiences.

I also really love Srta. Satar's contest idea that she uses to encourage students to get creative. At the end of the course, the creator of the best notebook from the final exam. I myself don't have the authority to exempt exams, but I could offer some sort of pass or extra grade (since my grading is not strictly standards-based anyway.)


PROJECT PROGRESS posts have been a wonderful for me and students' group members to keep tabs on how they're keeping up outside of class--not just for the self-improvement project, but for ALL projects. Whether it's uploading photos of handwritten daily posts, posting an entry every day, or doing one big reflection post of each day's progress for the week, it is also an excellent way to make sure kids are fulfilling some ACTFL Can Dos regularly but also keeping a constant touchstone for observing problem patterns.

I personally always collect students' blogs on a big Symbaloo webmix, and students should be able to find each other's blogs for commenting easily on Seesaw. As long as everyone makes sure to add a "PROYECTO" labels to the appropriate posts, we're set!

WEEKLY CULTURE REFLECTION posting is an idea I ripped off from @profepj3 at TELLcollab also. My students have not been satisfied with their bilingual conversation homework for a while, and I think they'd be a lot more receptive to simply immersing themselves in the language for, say, 30 minutes a week. (Sr. Jennemann requires more, but I'm kind of spring this on them at the end of the year, so...)

Keep an eye out for a post on how I plan to set up the activity, but what will be on their blog will simply be:

  1. what they did
  2. how long they did it
  3. and what they learned
  4. (with an "INMERSION" label)
My TELLcollab compañero lets them choose Spanish or English, and I really like how that takes the pressure of and keeps the focus on input--plus my kids will totally think they're getting away with something.

Another thing Profe Iciency and I talked about was VLOGS and how to get our kids to do 'em. So my plan is for one week each six weeks to waive the 30 minutes of immersion requirement. Instead, they'll look back at the other 5 weeks of posts, make a short list of what they want to talk about and just TALK about what they noticed about Spanish-speaking cultures through their immersion for that grading period.

My TELLcollab resolution was to "provide opportunities for my students to engage in cultural observation & analysis," since I've been struggling to make culture a more conscious focus in my PBL classes. Why not make them use their own time?

Setup Instructions

I've decided to revive my Portuguese Genius Hour project to demonstrate how I envision the new portfolio, so my new portfolio blog is (mostly) set up and ready for me to start blogging!

Google Slides

1. Create a slide for each of the four skills in Google Slides and include:
  • your name
  • the skill (reading, listening, speaking, or writing)
  • your level (Novice Mid to start)
  • the month and year
2. Add an image or images that represent what YOU want to be able to do with that skill in the target language.
  • Listening
    • a group or singer you want to listen to
    • a music video screenshot from a song you like
    • an image from a show you want to watch
  • Reading
    • an image of a book, magazine, or website you want to read
    • a quote you like
    • an infograph on a topic that interests you
  • Speaking
    • 3 images representing topics you want to be able to talk about
  • Writing
    • 3 images representing types of texts you want to be able to write
I would allow students to draw their images, but I will still require that they upload them to Slides and type the label parts . That way they can simply duplicate slides and update the date and skill (if they move up)!

3. Use it SnagIt to save the slides to Google Drive as images. I had them upload them to Seesaw this time, and it was nice having them in one place, but just leaving them in Drive saves a step when you're livin' la vida Chromebook.


1. Create an individual blog with your your URL in the following format:


For example:  LauraSGECPortuguese

2. Click on Pages and create 5 new pages:
  • Proficiency Path
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Writing
3. Click on Layout and add a Pages gadget to the Cross-Column (select all pages).
4. Add a Labels gadget in the sidebar.
4. Design a proficiency path analogy and upload it to the Proficiency Path page. 


1. Create a Reading VoiceThread and upload the Reading image created in Slides (the title should be just READING).

2. Click Share, Basic, then Embed

3. Change the dimensions to Standard (480x360)

4. Copy the embed code

5. Edit the Reading page on your blog and paste the embed code in HTML mode.

6. Repeat steps 1-4 for Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

Next steps

The all-wise Sr. Jennemann also proposes piloting plans for next year at the end of this year. I don't want to make my kids set up a whole new blog, but what I think I will do is have them create some pages and migrate their VoiceThreads over to their Mejor Yo blogs from the beginning of the semester.

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea and how you've set everything up. Do you have a student example you could share? I am a visual learner and it would help me better visualize it by seeing a completed portfolio. Thanks for sharing your ideas and procedures.