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!

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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