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re:[teacherartexchange] portfolios


From: Jerry Vilenski (jvilenski_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 07 2005 - 19:54:38 PDT

As a point of clarifation regarding the portfolio
issue, I don't mean to imply that keeping portfolios
on students is an inherently insane idea, in fact, I
believe I said I thought it was a good idea, but one
that has many impracticalities to it. I should have
qualified that I am a K-5 art teacher, teach in
facilities with limited storage, and I also teach a
curriculum that has more than half of my projects
comprised of some kind of 3 dimensional component to
them. I don't think there is much disagreement that
paper mache and pottery hardly fits the art folder
concept. I do like and support the idea of digitally
photographing and keeping the portfolio in that
manner, but time and circumstance may prevent that for
 My comments were centered on the real-life practical
aspects of teaching art with limited time,resources
and facilities, and the best use of my time as a
teacher. I have read several comments on this list
from teachers who find themselves in extremely
difficult teaching circumstances, with a shortage of
money, time and support. I would hate to think that
any of those teachers come away from this discussion
thinking they were somehow inadequate for not keeping
a student portfolio for each of their kids. Those
teachers are probably struggling just to get through
the year with what they have.
 I support the use of the portfolio concept at the
middle and high school level, because it brings a
degree of accountability and a visual compilation of a
student's output and learning experience for a given
marking period. Others on this list have commented
that some of their students throw the whole thing away
at the end of a marking period--that is really a
shame, and in my opinion, negates the value of keeping
a portfolio in those circumstances.
My own experience as an art teacher of 32 years has
been that kids are most excited about the work they do
in class when it is put on display, sent home in a
timely fashion, or kept for the annual arts festival.
Artwork that sits in a folder, especially for
elementary kids, tends to lose its luster and is more
likely to be discarded or forgotten. I hope this
clears up things for those who feel I was demeaning
their efforts, it was not meant to do so, just to
state there was a different opinion out there. Hope
this helps, Jerry

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