This typically takes a week or so, and as much as anything I use it as an assessment tool--to see how the kids think, how they express themselves artistically, to determine what skills they have with design and color mixing, etc. etc.
Last year, though, we didn't really use the portfolios that much and so I can't justify doing it again. HOWEVER, I'd still like to do something similar that I can get the kids started on immediately that's of a pre-instruction nature and that will allow me to do similar assessments.
I'm thinking of having them design posters, perhaps--advertising their life as if it were a movie, using 1/2 sheets of posterboard.
Does anyone else have any ideas for a good opening, pre-instruction, assessment tool, approx. week-long project? LOL--not that I've waited until the last minute to figure this out, mind you! ;-)