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Portfolios in a Cinch

On Monday, I talked about how to use a portfolio as an assessment tool by using my handy Portfolio Cover Sheets. Now, I am going to explain how I make the portfolios and other details surrounding this process. I was lucky to run into some amazing free paper from our print shop in our district. It was too thick to run through their printers, so I had them cut it down for me. I am using these for my portfolios!  Did I mention it was totally free?!

I learned a new way to fold the Portfolios on Teach Kids Art.  Her portfolios leave a little space at the top to write names. This is very handy and I decided to do this as well.

After you fold the portfolios in half, you write the names at the top. Then, I just keep stuffing them throughout the year. I do have kids help me. I have what I call “Portfolio Day” where kids help pass back art a few times a year.

Why Portfolios?

I have adopted the philosophy that art should be sent home in a way that honors the art as a special event, rather than one piece at time that may get stuffed in a backpack and not held with a high regard. I Encourage parents to have a “Portfolio Night” at their house and sit down with their child and go through the work and look at their growth and processes.  There are times I will send the occasional “stray” piece home, and also the 3D or ceramic work will be sent home separate.

When do I sent Portfolios Home?

I usually send them home around the time of the second report card (February or March).  The remaining pieces from the year I will send home on their own. I don’t like the idea of keeping the work all year long, because then parents have no real idea what their student is doing in art.  I want to strike that balance of “keeping the art” and “sending the art home.”

Another reason I keep the artwork?  To save for art shows and other honors. If I send it all home I will not have the best to pick from for all of my art displays!

When do you send home art and how do you handle that process?  I am always looking for ways to improve this daunting task of passing out and collecting hundreds of pieces of art. I can’t wait to hear your ideas!

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.