Mrs. Townsend’s Handy Hints

for Your Portfolio and Writing Pieces

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About This Page:

This page is about some handy hints from Mrs. Townsend. It was made for high school students in her classes. Mrs. Townsend was my supervising teacher at a Bowling Green, Kentucky high school two years ago.

I had a great student teaching experience. Mrs. Townsend let me make mistakes and showed me how to correct them. She not only explained what to do, she showed me. She was always there to help me if I had a problem. She had me completely take over a class section and let me make my own lesson plans to prepare me for my first job. We attended trainings together and met other teachers. She helped me with all aspects of my training. Thank you, Mrs. Townsend!

On this page I have put my notes from a training session Mrs. Townsend conducted for her senior class. They were getting their portfolio pieces ready. I took notes so I could help them and future students when it came time to do their portfolios. In Kentucky, this is a required activity. Students save their best pieces from many different kinds of classes.

I learned that there are some tips that can help students streamline their portfolios. I will be adding more as I get them from other sources.



• Put your name and address on your letter ­ use an “inside address”.

• Make sure to use spaces where they are needed after each section in the letter.

• Do not repeat the person’s middle name in the salutation (example of a WRONG salutation: Dear Mrs. Angela Townsend”...) The reason is that you have already put the name on the business paragraph heading above it. See the “How to Write Business Letters” flyer.

• Instead of putting your name on the piece, always put “Student Writer” or a line as the byline.

• Spread the title out above the story.

• When you use a photo, the line under it needs to have the first line indented like a paragraph.

• Use regular quotes.

• You may do two letters if you want.

Feature Articles:

• Give a source and plenty of quotes in a feature article.

• List your source information at the end of your feature article.

• You can use art or an illustration along with the story. This makes it look better.

• Use a “Phat” quote in the middle of the piece or wherever you want. It’s a quote that is blown up big. See examples in class or in the newspaper or magazines. You make your “Phat” quote by making a text box in Microsoft Word and flowing the text around it. A “Phat” quote makes your piece look more professional. See examples of “Phat” quotes in newspaper or magazine stories.

• Instead of putting your name on the piece, always put “Student Writer” or a line as the byline.


• Check out the “Vital Speeches” magazines that are in the room.

• Bring back the borrowed “Vital Speeches” magazines, so that other people can borrow them. • Make sure to address the occasion.

• Add an anecdote or joke if you want to ­ this can add to the speech

• Use small talk at the beginning of a speech if you want. This can add to the piece and make it more personal.

• A speech can also be like an argument. You can use motivation and argument (present your point of view).

• Some people say “thank you” at the end of a speech, and some people don’t.

Other important things to know:

• We are not doing editorials this time in class.

Improvements in every piece: make improvements in all the written pieces in your portfolio. Put the old version and the new version(s) together when you hand them in.

 • Additions:  Add one paragraph per piece ­ saying how you changed each one. This will help with your Letter to the Reviewer that you will do later.

Spellcheck: Always run the spellcheck program on your pieces that you have typed in Microsoft Word.

Your vocabulary: notice the level of writing that you see when spellcheck is over on the bottom of the dialog box. Using suitable, high-level vocabulary can improve your piece and make it more interesting.



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