What Mid-Year Portfolios for Kinders Can Do for You!

It’s safe to say that time and space are two of our biggest battles as art teachers. I was facing these two enemies as my kindergarteners completed more and more work. With winter break approaching, I knew it was the perfect time to send some work home and create some space. But, I wanted my communication home to be efficient and accomplish a few goals. I decided on portfolios.

Below are six benefits to creating and sending home mid-year kindergarten portfolios!

kinder portfolios

Sending home portfolios clears space! 
I have class shelves with ample space. But, it was getting next to impossible to keep everything organized. It felt amazing to get the work off the shelves and reclaim the space for more projects from my most eager little artists!

Older students love to help putting portfolios together. 
We know our students complete projects at different paces. As an option for students that get done early, I often have “help the teacher” jobs available. My older students loved helping put these portfolios together, and with the help of just a few of them, I was able to take down kindergarten displays and sort the work in no time!

You can assess work and growth quickly.
Another time-saver! It can be difficult to keep up with grading hundreds of projects week-to-week, especially for our more prolific younger grades. If you’ve fallen behind, this can be an easy way to assess growth and projects because everything is together right in front of you! Lay the portfolios out in a row and go at it!

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It provides another opportunity to connect with students’ families. 
You can never have enough communication home to families. We have the advantage of being a subject most students may talk about at home, but it’s good for families to hear from us too! Therefore, I attached a newsletter to the front of each portfolio. If you’d like to do the same, you could consider including information about learning objectives, future projects, upcoming events, and conversation suggestions.

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Portfolios are a wonderful advocacy tool.
A lot of families might not know exactly what we do in the art room. This may be especially true for our new kindergarten families. A portfolio is an advocacy piece in itself. Attaching a newsletter of objectives and updates only further increases communication. This can make all the difference if budget issues are influenced by the community.

Portfolios build student pride.
Students love to see their work displayed throughout the school, but they are even more excited when they get to bring their work home. There isn’t a week that passes without students asking when their current projects can go home, especially the youngest students!

My portfolios were super simple to make, but recruiting my older students to help saved me valuable time. The portfolios were cheap 12×18 inch manila paper, and my newsletter was a simple, typed-up half sheet stapled to the front. Not only did I clear space, but I was able to communicate efficiently with my students’ families!

How and when do you send artwork home? What else do you include with student portfolios?

Do you communicate more with your new kindergarten families than you do with other students’ families?

 

Alecia Eggers Kaczmarek

Subscriber

Alecia is an elementary art teacher in central Iowa who is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.

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  • Bobbie

    In my school , I start with first graders. I send home work as soon as the project is done, unless that class’s work will be displayed in the hall. My school has a laminating machine, and believe me, I take full advantage! The laminating makes the project look more “important”, as well as protect it on its way home . I started stapling a note on all artwork that goes home. The note simply states our inspiration ( ex:style of Mondrian ) , and skills and vocabulary words learned . This is a good quick way to keep parents understanding what we’re doing , instead of sending home a project ” out of thin air”.
    .

    • Alecia Eggers

      Yes! I love the idea of providing context and background for our families. It’s definitely a conversation starter!

  • Vicky

    Bobbie, I am not sure if this is true but I was told that laminated things takes years and years to break down in landfill.

  • Donna Wiskirchen

    This is a great idea. I have been using address labels and typing a little info about the artist or elements and principles that we were learning and sticking it to the back of the artwork before it goes home. This way when they see the Mondrian lesson was about vertical and horizontal lines, they will be able to see if their child grasped that concept (or not if their kiddo has a starburst of diagonal lines–which I kind of love to watch that child’s possible ‘out of the box’ style in the future!).

    • Alecia Eggers

      That is so genius Donna!! Thank you for sharing!

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