Things That Should Be in a Kindergarten Portfolio

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Over the course of the school year, kindergartners will learn the alphabet, memorize sight words, write simple stories and develop basic math skills. While it isn’t possible to save every assignment students complete, a kindergarten portfolio provides a nice mix of student work samples, teacher notes and formal assessments. These pieces give students, parents and next year's teachers a snapshot of students' strengths, areas for growth and a cumulative record of how much students achieved during kindergarten.

1 Work Samples

Work alongside kindergartners to choose work samples to include in their portfolio. Include a beginning, middle and end of year writing sample. Ask kindergartners to help select their best math pieces showcasing their counting skills, patterning abilities, shape recognition and addition and subtraction facts. Include reading comprehension samples where students place story pictures in order or write and draw responses to stories. Allow students to select their favorite art pieces as well.

2 Readings Notes and Checklists

Include reading conference notes, running records and concepts about print checklists in kindergartners' portfolios to document reading behaviors during guided and independent reading time. Use reading conference notes to record reading strategies kindergartners used such as picture clues, rereading or word segmenting. Running records provide valuable data regarding students’ reading errors, self-corrections, retell and overall comprehension. Use concepts about print checklists to list skills mastered such as reading left to right, tracking print or understanding punctuation.

3 Formal Assessments

Place individual reading inventories, reading fluency tests, letter-sound charts, formal graded writing assessments and end of unit math tests in kindergarten portfolios. Include district-based math worksheets and tests to document students' progress toward meeting math standards such as number sense, computation and geometry. For students who complete computer-based assessments, include recording reports showing student progress. Include information on students' primary and secondary multiple intelligences, if assessed.

4 Goals and Learning Styles

Record individual learning goals set at parent-teacher conferences and progress toward meeting those goals. Have kindergartners and parents complete surveys about students' achievements and future goals. Invite kindergartners to draw or write what they like about school and what they want to get better at. If students completed any learning inventories, note if they are a visual, auditory or tactile learner.

5 Photographs

Take photographs of student work samples not easily included in a portfolio such as a large painting or a pattern block creation. Add pictures of kindergartners as they work with classmates to build a tower or complete a science experiment. Sit with students and have them tell you about each picture to record thoughts and impressions about the work displayed in the photograph.

Shannon Cathie has been writing for children, teens and adults since 2004. Her work has appeared in "Highlights for Children," "Ask!" magazine, "The Christian Science Monitor" newspaper, "Writing for Dollars" and "Northwest Baby and Child." She is also the author of several children's books about the human body. Cathie holds elementary licensure and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Colorado.