At Cloverleaf, “student-centered” is much more than just a buzz word. It is a deeply held value we strive to live out in our educational practices. Cloverleaf students of all ages take a leading role in their education– they exercise choice and voice, practice goal-setting and reflection, and present their work proudly at student-led conferences three times per year. When I asked them yesterday what their portfolio is for, what they feel proudest of within it, why they created it, and how they felt about it, I was blown away by their answers. As the school year draws to an end, it was clear to me that our kids spent it getting to know themselves as learners and as people– they are attuned to their strengths and areas for growth, they built confidence as they saw how capable they are, and they developed thinking skills that go much deeper than content knowledge.
“Right here [points] we set 2 main goals for the year. I think I’ve done great on mine. It’s been hard and sometimes I can get a little side-tracked. I think I can still work on coming back from breaks quicker when the teacher says to. One thing I feel really proud about this year is all the community connection trips we went on.”
“I feel good about how I did on the ideas area in my writing. I liked these new pages we used [for scoring] this year because it was so organized for me to see how I’m doing.”
“Here’s the one I’m most proud of— my spelling. I got 98% of the words right! I’m also on level Z in reading. I’m pretty good at reading— I don’t know why!”
“It’s my portfolio— I made it because I wanted to show how I learned. I learned how to draw when we read the meatball book. Pictures can help people read better. On this one [points] I tried my best. When you try your best, you learn something. [reads his writing aloud to me.]”
“It’s my portfolio. We put all the stuff in it. I did this work in Ms. Jennifer’s class. [points.] I did the numbers in the stars. I am getting better. Mom and dad will see me learning!”
“This is my favorite! [points.] He has rainbow scales. He swims the ocean. I did good! Mom will be so happy!”