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20 Years Project-Portfolio

School: High Tech Middle Chula Vista

City/State: San Diego, CA

Grade(s): 8

Format(s): Report

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies

Project Overview

8th graders at High Tech Middle School in San Diego, California each created a portfolio that presented himself or herself twenty years in the future. Beginning with a “Pre-Write” in which they thought through how they hoped their life would be over the next twenty years, students then interviewed someone who had taken a career path similar to what they envisioned for themselves.

Students also created a monthly budget based on their projected life style, which included estimated taxes and retirement income. Each student’s portfolio ends with a “20 Years Reflection;” an imaginative look back at the last 20 years. This particular 20 Year Study was done by a 13 year old girl whose anticipated trajectory includes a college education and a career as a medical scientist.

This portfolio example does not have an outside audience; however, it is very powerful as a tool for the individual student, giving her an opportunity to focus on her future. It could be used as an introduction for students to career choices and life finances, and to facilitate discussion between students and their parents and among each other.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A highly imaginative way to engage middle school students and to merge what interests them most (themselves and their goals) with academic content
  • A useful connection between academic life and future “real life” – builds understanding of career choices and life finances
  • Includes drafts of the pre-write and reflection as well as polished versions of both
  • Demonstrates the innovative use of portfolio “reflection” – the reflection is about the student’s imagined life, looking backwards
  • Uses both math and writing skills - the math aspect is particularly useful because of the depth to which math concepts are shown
  • A unique way to help middle school students not only think about their goals but what they will have to do to accomplish them
  • An example of a product that could be helpful in student assessment

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can write narrative texts about real or imagined experiences using relevant details and event sequences that make sense.
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use the writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • I can synthesize visual information with other information in a scientific or technical text.
  • I can use relative frequencies to describe the possible association between two variables of categorical data.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
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