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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.
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!
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.
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?
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.