Welcome to this blog-Portfolio, or bPortfolio, sample for the Residency Certification program at SPU! This site will serve as a template to help you organize your own blog and bPortfolio for your time in your program (undergraduate/post-baccalaureate; MAT; ARC).
This screencast highlights a number of factors to consider as you compose professional-quality reflections for your blog. 10 different reference points are included on the rubric to help you evaluate the content and structure of your posts.
All entries should be tagged with at least one, if not many, meaningful keywords and terms. As you continue to post you will notice your tag cloud change as the emphasis of your posts vary.
You are encouraged to take some time to review Standards STLP and draw up a list of meaningful words that could serve as your tags. You may find it helpful to brainstorm a list of meaningful tags with classmates. In any case, be sure to refer to your tag list with each entry so that you are not creating multiple tags for the same topic.
Remember that there really isn’t a need to include the exact terms and criteria of Standard STLP in your tag list, as you should be categorizing each post according to these criteria as you blog.
As more of your course instructors require blogging as part of their classes, be sure to include the course number as a tag. This will allow you to click on the course tag to view all the posts that are associated with that course. Remember to include an internship tag, too.
A variety of teacher-based and student-based evidence (called artifacts) is required to document your performance competency on Standards STLP. Discussions on the nature, quantity and quality of evidence will be provided in your various SPU courses. You are encouraged to attach/embed your evidence in your blog as you post.
A few recommendations:
- Documents and other files such as presentations, spreadsheets, SPU assignments, internship lesson plans and classroom worksheets are best attached to a post.
- Single images can be i) embedded in a post, ii) inserted in a document that is subsequently submitted as an attachment, iii) linked to an outside photo album, e.g. Picasa web albums, Flickr, etc.
- Video files can be linked through a video website, e.g. Google video, TeacherTube, etc.
Developmental portfolio assessment will take place at the following points in your program:
- At the end of Methods quarter if your are enrolled in the undergraduate/post-baccalaureate program.
- At the end of your first year (May-June) if you are enrolled in the MAT program.
- At the end of autumn quarter if you are enrolled in the ARC program.
Developmental portfolio assessment will maintain a formative focus and provide sufficient feedback to help guide students in their developmental progress towards demonstrating evidence on all criteria of the standards. Program-specific expectations, rubrics and guidelines will be provided.
EDU 4899 and EDU 6139 are considered as capstone courses and they serve as culminating seminars on the internship experiences. Capstone portfolio assessment will take place when you are taking either one of these courses. Capstone portfolio assessment will maintain a summative focus and serve as final (capstone) documentation of performance on Standards STLP for certification. Program-specific expectations, rubrics and guidelines will be provided.
A teacher certification program in the state of Washington requires that all candidates for certification know and demonstrate the content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge and skills required for the certificate and their area of endorsement. These are to reflect the state’s learning goals and essential academic learning requirements, and are necessary to help all students learn (WAC 181-78A-220(5)).
Documenting performance on Standards STLP through the SPU residency certification programs (undergraduate/post-baccalaureate; MAT; ARC) will take place through web-based portfolio assessment. Teacher-candidates are asked to develop their individual ePortfolio in conjunction with their blog site in which they can i) provide a formal meta-reflection on their progress towards competency on Standards STLP, ii) document both teacher- and student-based evidence demonstrating competency on the state standards and positive impact on student learning, and iii) demonstrate professional development through the continual documentation of their reflective blog.
There will be different performance benchmark checkpoints for each of the programs. These will take place through portfolio assessment and normally occur at the end of each quarter. Teacher-candidates are asked to submit both teacher- and student-based evidence demonstrating competency on the state standards (STLP) and positive impact on student learning. Please note the posts on portfolio assessment concerning this process.
The set-up and design of your blog and portfolio pages will be assessed by your teacher education program chair. He/She will use the bPortfolio Set-Up & Design Checklist as part of this process. Use this checklist to self-assess your site’s organization. If you do not get clearance on all items, then please revisit the organization and design steps from this blog before proceeding.
By now, the set-up of your blog should be complete. For your reference, and by way of review, the following should be made available for quick access in your bPortfolio:
- About Me page
- About this Portfolio page
- Archives link
- A developing tag cloud
- Categories – Please limit your categories to the various standards and their criteria.
- Standards Pages including a statement of the standard and its criteria verbatim from WAC 181-78A-270 and a personal interpretation of the standard that addresses all the related criteria to suggest an application to your professional development as a teacher.
- Be sure that you are allowing for discussion-enabled posting.
View this screencast to help ensure your bPortfolio is meeting these requirements.
When you post to your blog, you are asked to leave the discussion options checked to allow for comments.
To take advantage of the comments feature of your blog (in order to allow threaded discussions for specific courses or to allow interaction with your course instructors, university coordinators and/or mentor teachers), be sure to check the following options under discussion settings. These can be accessed through the settings link along the left column of your Dashboard.
- Check all default article settings.
- Please check the following other comment settings:
- Check Comment author must fill out name and e-mail.
- Check Enable threaded (nested) comments 5 levels deep (change the default to at least ‘5’).
- Do not check Users must be registered and logged in to comment. This will allow your mentor teachers and other instructors to comment on your posts.
- Check both email me whenever settings. By doing this, you will be alerted by email whenever you receive a comment to your posts.
- Check Comment author must have a previously approved comment. This will allow you to have greater control over what appears on your site.
- You may choose to return to your settings to complete the “comment moderation” or “comment blacklist” once you gain greater experience with your blog.
- Be sure to check Enable sending comment replies via email for greater ease of interaction with others.
There are two tags that every bPortfolio should include:
- The internship tag – Be sure to tag any internship-related reflections with this tag. As your internship progresses, clicking on this tag will allow you to review your posts that come from these experiences. Also, your University Coordinators will want to review these reflections on a regular basis, and this tag will help them locate the most recent posts.
- The course tag – Be sure to tag any posts, assignments, reflections, etc. that come from a specific course with a tag of the course number (e.g. EDU 6918; EDU 2104; EDSP 6642 etc.). Your course instructor will use this tag to review only those posts related to the course.
A tag is a keyword or term assigned to a post. Tags are usually single words and are typically used to describe the content of the post. It is possible to have many tags associated with a particular post.
Tags are typically listed alphabetically in a tag cloud. A tag cloud is a visualization of tag frequencies in your blog. It is a weighted list that shows the most popular tags in an emphasized manner while displaying them alphabetically. The relative importance of a tag in the tag cloud is shown with font size, i.e. the more frequently a tag is used in your blog, the greater the font size of the tag in the tag cloud.
Tagging your posts and using a tag cloud provides you with a visual. You can see quickly what topics you have been posting on most frequently. You can also view your tag cloud to see which tags you have already used in order to be consistent when tagging posts.
In WordPress, the tags are hyperlinks. This feature allows you to click on a tag to view all the posts that are associated with that tag.
As the author of your blog site, you can develop your own personal list of meaningful tags. WordPress will develop a corresponding tag cloud.
To tag your posts, follow these simple steps:
- Prepare your post as you normally would.
- In the Post Tags box on the right side of your dashboard, either:
- Type in a new tag that you would like to start using in the box, and then be sure to click add; or
- Click on Choose from the most used tags link, and then click on any existing tags.
- The tags associated with the post will appear in the Post Tags box.
- When you publish your post, the specific tags associated with the post are usually found at the bottom of the post. As your blog develops, you will see your tag cloud develop accordingly.
It is as simple as that! A demonstration of tagging can be found in the screencast on posting in your blog.
Later if you wish to manage all your tags, this can be done through “Post Tags” under “Posts” in your Dashboard.
When you blog, it is helpful to categorize your posts. This will help improve overall navigation and functionality of your blog, especially as the number of posts increases over time. For example, after blogging for a term you may be asked to synthesize your thoughts on a particular standard or its related criterion in order to prepare your portfolio for submission and assessment. By clicking on a particular category, the blog will assemble all the posts that were classified according to the particular category for you. You can, then, simply review these selected posts rather than review all your entries in the blog.
For assessment purposes of your portfolio, you are encouraged to categorize according to the related criteria of Standards STLP.
To create the categories for your blog, follow these simple steps:
1. Go to your blog’s dashboard.
2. Under Posts (the left side of your dashboard), click on Categories.
3. Enter the necessary categories as follows.
- S1 – Content driven
- S2 – Aligned with curriculum standards and outcomes
- S3 – Integrated across content areas
- T1 – Informed by standards-based assessment
- T2 – Intentionally planned
- T3 – Influenced by multiple instructional strategies
- T4 – Informed by technology
- L1 – Learner centered
- L2 – Classroom/school centered
- L3 – Family/neighborhood centered
- L4 – Contextual community centered
- P1 – Informed by professional responsibilities and policies
- P2 – Enhanced by a reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practice
- P3 – Informed by legal and ethical responsibilities
4. Note that it isn’t really necessary to create “category parents” for the purpose of your portfolio.
5. Enter a description if you wish.
6. Click on Add Category.
It is as simple as that! This screencast helps demonstrate the process. The discussion on creating your categories begins at minute 8:46.
When you complete a new post, be sure to categorize the post into one (or more) categories by clicking the relevant box in the categories section of your dashboard (the right side of the screen). Failure to choose a category will leave the entry in the “uncategorized” category by default.
Later, by clicking on categories in your blog you will notice how the blog assembles all entries that have been categorized together. If you choose, your dashboard will also show you how many posts are in each category under the Categories menu.
When you start a blog, you are assigned a default WordPress theme. You are encouraged to personalize your blog by choosing a theme that interests you. These options are found under Appearance in your Dashboard along the left column.
When you preview a new theme, be sure that the following are immediately visible on the sidebar somewhere on the homepage:
- Links to the About Me and About this portfolio pages
- Links to the Standards pages
- Categories (see post on creating categories)
- A tag cloud (see post on creating a tag cloud)
You may choose to customize the header that appears on your blog site through the Custom Header and Header Colors options.
It may be helpful to view your bPortfolio site as serving multiple functions. This screencast highlights two of these functions by suggesting that you consider your bPortolio as both a workspace, where you can document your learning, and as a showcase where you can document your achievement. Both functions involve the practice of reflecting on your growth and development as a pre-service teacher. The former emphasizes the process of developing as a new teacher. This allows you to track your growth over time as you post reflections on your various learning experiences in the program. The latter serves as a platform to present a product of your achievement. It also allows others to review your achievement and carry out portfolio assessment.
The privacy settings of your blog site can be accessed through the settings link along the left column of your Dashboard.
To allow for the greatest interaction with fellow teacher candidates, course instructors, university coordinators and mentor teachers, yet maintain a level of privacy from others, please check I would like to block search engines, but allow normal visitors. If you would like to make your blog available to search engines, you can check that option. Please do not choose the “I would like my blog to be visible only to users I choose option.”
A widget is a programming feature that can further personalize your blog. Available widgets are found under Appearance in your Dashboard along the left column.
Simply drag each widget from the available column to the sidebar on the right to activate it. Be sure to save each setting.
The following widgets should be in place and are required as part of your SPU ResCert blog – ePortfolio:
- Pages – this will allow you to view the Standards Pages.
- Archives – choose the show post counts option. Depending on the amount of extra information you would like on your homepage, you may choose to display as a dropdown.
- Categories – this will allow you to view the posts categorized by standard (see post on creating categories). If you wish, you may choose to display as a dropdown. For ease of reference, check show post counts. Thiscould help you gage the number of posts associated with each category. Using this may help you determine the need to address certain criteria more than others.
- Tag Cloud – (see post on creating a tag cloud).
This screencast will also help you set your widgets. The discussion on setting widgets begins at minute 4:11.
You can access the general settings of your blog site through your Dashboard. You may find this screencast helpful in establishing your general settings.
The settings link is along the left column. Here are a few guidelines to consider regarding your settings (remember to save changes as you move from page to page):
- If you would like your posts date/time stamped accurately, SPU is located in the UTC-8 time zone. (UTC stands for “Coordinated Universal Time”, which is a time standard based on International Atomic Time. Time zones are expressed in positive or negative increments of UTC, where UTC is equal to the time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London). Note that you will need to update manually the time stamp for Daylight Savings Time, if you wish.
- Please choose a date and time format that you like.
- You may choose to select a different default post category than uncategorized.
- Please keep your latest posts as your front page display.
- Please choose to select the number of posts that you would like displayed on each page.
This blog template serves as a guide to help you organize your own site according to the approved template for the program. Please follow the various instructions provided in the posts accordingly.
If you wish, a number of informative resources (Help!) pages are available in addition to what is provided here to guide you as you begin your blogging adventure in conjunction with residency certification at Seattle Pacific University.
Certain things that bloggers need to know is a resource that further explains the tips provided in this template site.
A “blog” is an abbreviation of “weblog.” This is a type of website that provides regular entries, or posts, of commentaries, observations, reflections and/or other materials such as images and video, etc. Blogs can be very personal or even quite political in tone. They can focus on a single subject or comment on multiple topics. Some people may think of a blog as a type of journal or diary for everyone to read.
A blog can be quite interactive since it usually includes hyperlinks to other websites and resources, and it invites comments and other input from visitors to the site. As such, this makes it a public site; we need to remember this as we post on a regular basis.
Posts are usually presented in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry provided first at the top of the page. For your reference, an introduction to blogging presents the basics about blogging. Be sure to watch the video explanation, too!
Begin your blog by signing up for a free account at http://WordPress.com. You are asked to include at least your first initial and your surname as part of the “domain” (i.e. initial surname.wordpress.com; for example jsmith.wordpress.com) so that professors, coordinators, evaluators and other visitors to your site will be able to identify your blog for assessment purposes. A screencast of this process can be found here.
Once you have opened your account, you are ready to begin blogging on your thoughts and experience in your program.