Tips For Teachers


  • Allow your students to present their four-minute prepared testimony before other members of the class.
  • Those not testifying should formulate follow-up questions.
  • Those questions can be collected by the teacher, compiled and used for a final test on the project.

When Choosing a Topic

  • Make sure you can find research on the topic.
  • Choose a topic that can bring results.
  • Preview necessary vocabulary before beginning the portfolio process.

Keeping Organized

  • Create folders or binders that don't leave the room.
  • Communicate who is doing what so that there isn't duplication of sources and resources.
  • Keep track of resources you use.
  • Create and adhere to timelines.

Who Does What

  • Do a skills inventory of your students before making group assignments.
  • Divide the class into four groups, have group three shadow group one and group four shadow group two during first part of process. Switch during second part of process. -OR-
  • Divide class into two groups, allowing one group to work on part one and the other to work on part two. When the first two parts of the portfolio are finished, allow group one to work on part three and group two to work on part four of the portfolio. This keeps the students engaged throughout the process -OR-
  • Keep the students together throughout the process to ensure flow and accuracy.

Additional Information

  • Practice interviewing before students go out and interview community members.
  • Turn students' questions back to them and let them explore the answers.
  • Hold practice hearings (video, if you can, and let students critique themselves).
  • Assign some of the research for homework to expedite the process. You will need their help.
  • Involve other teachers in your building to help with the project, ie., math teacher, computer teacher, language arts teacher, art teacher.
  • Duplicate the documentation portion of the portfolio so you have it when preparing for the hearing.
  • Discuss liability issues with your school administrator (if applicable).
  • Use the media to your advantage. They love this stuff.


Your policy doesn't need to be implemented to be a success. The real success is in the experience of creating the product.