Showing 5-8th graders how to set up personal digital portfolios using Google Sites.

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The kids arrived last week. Since then, I’ve been trying to schedule time with the 5th-8th grade classes to get them started on setting up a GoogleSite as a super simple space for their digital portfolios.

Before the first day of school, the other instructional technologists and I decided to have kids set up a GoogleSite that they could presumably start in 3rd grade and add to each year until they leave in 8th grade…or when the technology changes. (I managed to last one year using iWeb until I declared it was dead to me.)

This was my plan with the kids after our talk:

1. Create a new GoogleSite and name it their server name. Anticipating they’ll use these sites for consecutive years, we decided on a naming convention that will never change during their time at The School, like their username – mine is kblumberg.

2. Rename the Home page to About Me or About Karenor whatever their name is. Then they inserted an image taken with Photobooth and a brief autobiographical description about themselves – like a mini digital profile. I reminded them they could edit this endlessly from any location. We love The Cloud!

3. Create a new page, choose the Announcements template, put it at the top level, and call it 2011-2012. Belatedly, I realized they maybe could have called it “5th grade work” or something more specific, but it’s not the end of the world. Next year’s work will be on another new page (using the same announcements template) and titled 2012-2013.

4. Posts should include the subject first, like English R+J Podcast or Art Mosaic or SS Artifact Jars. Turns out posts are listed alphabetically rather than chronologically in the Sidebar on the left of the site, so I like that they can be organized by subject this way.

5. New Posts should contain an artifact like a link, photo, video, music file, slideshow, and/or something visual. They should put that artifact in context by using some sentence starters like the following: What is the artifact? What subject is it? What does it represent? Why did they choose it? What was the process? What was the most challenging part? What did they enjoy the most?

Here’s my example: https://sites.google.com/a/theschool.columbia.edu/kblumberg/home

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