Many years ago, when I started teaching English in Primary without a course book, I also started using something similar to a scrapbook. In that time, some people called “profilers” to the folders organized to keep the different materials and worksheets done (the same we call “albums”).
But as the time passed I needed to collect some evidences of improvement and keep records on that. One of the best ways to do it was using “portfolios”. The only problem I found when working with young learners was that they wanted to keep every single thing! And not only the best!
“Logbook” was another option. Like a sailor children need to keep records of their learning and write about their feelings, pros and cons, comments... like in a diary! But, again in primary, this was quite difficult to carry on as children had to reflect on their own learning and, at the age of 6-10, they are not mature enough to do so.
But thanks to Theresa Zanatta I found what I was looking for: scrapbooking. According to Wikipedia “a scrapbook is a book where people can keep pictures, newspapers articles, recipes, letters and similar things. It is often used to keep memorable things or a collection of things... It is a way to preserve pictures and memories in a book that can last throughout a person's whole life”.
I attended to a seminar with Theresa and she argued different reasons to use a scrapbook in the English Language Teaching classroom:
- For children to express themselves,
- For collecting things related to the English language and, what it is more important, for collecting evidences of learning,
- For preserving and organizing memorable things,
- To keep records of their improvements
- For showing their works to colleagues
- To get parents involved in the ESL first steps to literacy, like a travelling folder (school – home) or an English agenda,
- For sharing whatever they do!
But I have found some other reasons and perhaps they are not the last (some of them are from Amanda Cant):
- Personalization: it’s a very simple process to connect children to the language
- Mixed ability: it’s a great opportunity to approach slower students to the standard
- Variety. Different types of class activities.
- Language. Lots of language used in a natural context
- Topics. It is a good starting point to introduce topics in a non dramatic way (cross curricular)
- Sense of achievement: everybody has something to do, to produce, and to finish.
- Motivation:it is fun and it is stimulating.
- Self assessment: showing interest in what children do, “Making learning visible”
- Learning by doing: do, do, do, do, and always do!
- Oral production and communication = Interaction!
- Individualization: everybody participates in some way.
- Collaboration: cooperative learning.
You can have a look to one of my student’s scrapbook (Portfolio)
And, this is the way I use it!
If you want to learn more about portfolios, logbooks, metacognition and all that stuff, you have got lots of sites in I’net to surf! Soon I’ll post some good ones!