K-2 OneNote Student Portfolios

Published by TheJenalleeShow on

Creating a culture of reflection, evaluation, & revision within a K-2 classroom is not an easy task! It’s a culture that we as teachers value, but how do we actually cultivate it?

Are Student Portfolios the answer? 👱‍♀️👱‍♂️

Student portfolios offer your students the ability to create products, evaluate their creations, revise their products, and curate their best work throughout the year. It allows the student time to reflect upon their growth, set goals and truly see the evidence, purpose, & benefit of their learning.

As an educator, I often missed the opportunity to offer my students reflective moments in class. I had to move on, right? We had to get to the next unit, I had a ton of content to cover.

It saddens me that I did not take time to offer my students the opportunity to develop the skills that come from these moments.

  • Self evaluation
  • Goal setting
  • Curation
  • Revision
  • Reflection
  • Authenticity
  • Recognition of an audience

Students learn through each of these skills when implementing student portfolios. The great thing is that this can be built into my daily routine, not taking up a lot of time or bleeding into the next unit. How? Well… within their student portfolios, K-2 students set goals and track their progress, all while meeting with you during your normal small group sessions.

Boom💥 Time saved, skills gained, digital evidence for the teacher, student, and parents.

I know you see the benefits of these skills and want to offer your students the opportunity to set goals, track their progress, select exemplary work, & reflect upon their learning!!

But how?
This is where the questions begin.

How do I get started? What tech tool do I use? How do I share it with parents? My students can’t type!

Ugh… there are a lot of variables.

Thank you to 👉 Kendra Nivens, a 1st Grade teacher at Elkins Elementary School in Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD.

She took risks, tried new things, and found that even 1st graders can set goals, track their progress, and create a student portfolio! How did she do it?

Here are 5 steps to creating K-2 Student Portfolios!

  • Step 1: Create a OneNote Notebook
  • Step 2: Add a section for each student
  • Step 3: Add pages of content for each student
  • Step 4: Create a qr code for each student section
  • Step 5: Students scan qr code to access their section
Okay, this might look overwhelming, but its really not. 
Let's break each step down.

First let’s start with Kendra’s goals:

  • Create Student Portfolios for her students with data that could continue with them as they advance through school
  • Digitize her tracking method
  • Offer her students ownership of their goals and progress
  • Offer parents a living digital picture of their child’s progress

In wanting to reach these goals, Kendra set up a meeting with Jenallee to see what she could do to make this possible.

When meeting with her, we listened to Kendra’s goals.

We looked at each other and simultaneously said… OneNote

Now the real question… How? Here’s what we did👇

Note of honesty: What we came up with is not problem free. But it is what works for Kendra and her team. However, we do offer ✨solutions✨

Step 1: Create a OneNote Notebook

The first step we took was to create a OneNote Notebook. We signed in to our school Office 365 account, selected OneDrive, and clicked + new, then selected OneNote Notebook.

Warning: Nerd alert 🤓 banter regarding Class notebook vs. OneNote Notebook. Not interested? Skip ahead to Step 2 .

Okay, so this is where we began to play out different scenarios in our heads.

Class Notebook


  • Students have personalized space
  • Only teacher and student space
  • Collaboration space
  • Parent links
  • Students have to be able to sign in to OneNote
  • Students need to be able to type and know their id# email address to sign into OneNote
  • Students have their own tab
  • Everyone can see their tab
  • Parents can see their child’s tab at parent teacher conferences or with link
  • Teachers can password protect sections
  • Students can use a QR code to access their section

Both of these options are great! Typically we choose Class Notebook when working with a class of students. Unfortunately, our students can’t sign into this program and the teacher doesn’t have time to manually sign in each student as they meet with her. So, we decided to create a OneNote notebook.

(Solution ✨ We are hopeful that next year our district will be purchasing ClassLink Single Sign-On services. Why does this excite us? Well… Students can login to their SSO with a QR code!! 🤯 Whoa! This means our K-1 students can login to Office 365 with a QR code! Whoop! Which means they can utilize Class Notebook with a QR code login.)

Step 2 & 3: Add a Section & Pages for each Student

For the next step, we will explain 2 different ways you can add sections and content to your OneNote Notebooks. Everyone works a little differently and everyone has different preferences on how the enter content. So, we will show you 2 different ways we entered the content. This process is a little tedious, and the down side to selecting a OneNote vs. a Class Notebook. Class Notebook offers you the ability to distribute section and pages. However, here are a two ✨solutions to entering content.

Copy/Move a Section

You can create a section for the student. Enter the content on pages within the section and then copy this section for every student in your class.

Copy & Paste Pages

You can create a section for each student. Then add pages desired in one of the sections. After each page is added, select all of the pages and copy. Then simply paste the content in each section.

Quick Tip: We numbered the sections vs. adding student names. Every student can technically view any page they wish, so to help keep student work more private we numbered each student and placed their unique number on a section. This helps to ensure student content is not easily identifiable by students.

One Question you may have at this point is what content are we entering? Well, we are entering PDF tracking charts. We include charts for sound blends, sight words, letters and sounds, etc. We set each of these charts as background images and students use the draw feature to mark their progress on the PDF’s. Simply right click on the PDF or image 👉 select picture 👉 select set picture as background.

Step 4: Create a QR Code for each Student Section

  • Copy the link to each section
  • Paste link in any free QR code generator
  • Copy and past the QR code into a word document with student names or numbers
  • Print word document
  • Give each student their QR code to their section (Solution ✨Our teachers created a ring of the QR codes so that the students could use the code when meeting with them during their small group time.)

Step 5: Students utilize a QR Code to Access Their Student Portfolio

Yay! We have reached the final step 🎉

While working with the teacher in their small groups, students can scan their QR codes, the QR code takes them directly to their section, they click the draw tab and track their progress.

Quick Tip: You can scan QR codes by simply opening the camera on an iPad, hovering over the QR code, and clicking the link that appears.

✨ This is not perfect as mentioned before. The teacher signs into Office365 on each ipad prior to meeting with the students. As long as the students access the student portfolios under the teachers supervision, I think this is a good way to utilize student portfolios with littles. If students are working within their portfolios on their own or without direct teacher supervision, I would suggest looking into an SSO that offers QR code sign-in options. This would offer each student a Class OneNote and they would be signed into their account vs. a OneNote signed into the teachers account.

I know this was a ton of information! If you have any questions or need help setting this up for your classroom, contact #Jenallee! We would love to help!


Jeni Long and Sallee Clark are Instructional Technologists with Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD. This dynamic duo, known as #Jenallee, is passionate about technology integration and making learning accessible & fun for all! Between the two of them, they have presented across the 26 schools in their district, at their Regional Education Service Center, FETC, TCEA, TCEA for Tots, & Central America. They are both MIE Experts, MIE Trainers, Ed to the Max Consultants, and Flipgrid Ambassadors. Jeni has served in education for 20 years as a 6th grade Math Teacher, 7-12 ELA Curriculum Specialist, Technology Integration Specialist and a Science Curriculum Specialist. Sallee has served in education for 14 years as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher, Elementary Librarian, K-12 District Librarian, & Instructional Technologist.


5 Ways to Empower your Students with OneNote – The Jenallee Show · April 19, 2020 at 6:06 pm

[…] upon their growth, set goals and truly see the evidence, purpose, & benefit of their learning. Read this blog post to see step by step directions on how to create and implement student portfolios in the K-3 […]

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Empower Your Students with OneNote | Learning as I go: Experiences, reflections, lessons learned · May 11, 2020 at 12:28 pm

[…] upon their growth, set goals and truly see the evidence, purpose, & benefit of their learning. Read this blog post to see step by step directions on how to create and implement student portfolios in the K-3 […]

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