Another way to document progress is a Student Portfolio. A Student Portfolio contains examples of what the student does. These examples could include videos of a student in a learning environment, a form like the one above related to skills demonstrated during observations, artifacts such as art activities, anecdotal information from the members of the student’s team, photographs, and charts documenting the student’s biobehavioral states (alert, sleepy, etc.) throughout the day or medical challenges (seizures, medications) that seem to impact performance. It could also include, for example, an on-going list or pictures of new objects the child interacts with, examples of an increased interest in exploring an environment, or connecting with a peer.
Below are some of the things we suggest be included:
- Active Learning Materials and Activities Planning Sheet (PDF Version)
- Functional Scheme summary page and other assessment summaries (OT, PT, Communication, Functional Vision Evaluation, Eye Doctor’s report, audiological)
- Video clip examples of the student in each learning environment (be sure to include short clips showing changes throughout the school year and throughout his or her educational career)
- Photos that show activities the student participated in and provide examples of skills, important people in the individual’s life, other information that will provide insight about the learner
- Information about how the student communicates including the forms (speech, gestures, behavioral state changes, object cues), topics (people, places, actions, emotions), and functions (requesting, rejecting, commenting, questioning, expressing emotions, greetings) of the communications
- Important medical information (what people who don’t know the child need to know such as how to respond to seizure, signs for problems with a shunt, list of medications and possible side-effects to watch for)
- Copy of IEP goals/benchmarks and progress reports
Tools for Sharing Information
You may want to use tools like LiveBinders or Google Drive or Dropbox to upload items for sharing with the entire team. Be sure to check features to insure student confidentiality before using any of these online resources. Parents and staff may want to compile a sample of photos, videos, and observation forms into a PowerPoint presentation to share with a new educational team entering the student’s life. These are also great for other service providers outside the educational system (babysitter’s, respite providers, home nurses, etc.) to help them understand your child better.
Children who are involved in Active Learning may take a long time to show big changes, but little changes are worth celebrating. Documenting progress is an important part of any instructional program. Your team may have already designed some forms to use.
Video recording is perhaps one of the best ways to document student progress over time. Below is an example of how brief clips can really show what progress is being made by the learner. Consider taping your student or child in a variety of activities and environment at regular intervals. You may want to capture these videos just before regular reporting periods to share with all the educational team members. These also are invaluable in sharing what works for a learner as transitions occur from one school setting to another or into community-based programs.
Description: This video shows the progression of a boy over a period of approximately 4 years, from lying prone on a Resonance Board to sitting up independently.
Portfolios also become important as a student transitions from the educational setting to life in community as an adult. Family members may want to continue to collect information to add to a portfolio begun at school to share with rehabilitation professionals, extended family members, community members, and others who will come into the life of their child as he or she moves into adulthood.
Family members may want to review these pages on the Active Learning Space website to help them begin to think about transition and activities for older individuals.
On these pages you will see video examples of Dean who is transitioning from school to adult life. His family has developed a vision for his future which his mother, Sarah Lundgren, has graciously shared with us. You may want to download this plan to get an idea of how you might devise a plan for your child.
Parent Sarah Lundgren shares her plan for her son’s life after the age of 22.
Click to download the PDF of Dean’s Life After 22.