I have used portfolios in grades 3-5 now for about 7 years. I start the
school year by having the kids create their portfolio from a 12"x18" white
paper folded in half.
Mechanics:We put their name,teachers' name, room number and grade in a box
in the upper right hand corner, and write their name again just above the
fold at the bottom of the portfolio (it is easier to locate by looking
through the folded side). I have some cubby's that I use to store them, one
cubby box for each of my 25 classes. One other thing I do on this first day
of class is some very quick sketches... draw a person in five minutes, turn
the paper over and draw your home. On another paper they draw what they
think a "design" is, turn it over and draw 2 animals, one near and one far.
This is a pretest of sorts that helps me see where the kids are, and is
also used in the future to see how the kids have learned ... example: 5th
graders learn to use one and 2 point perspective... looking back at their
house shows where they were at the beginning of the year.
We keep as much work as possible in the portfolio for the entire year, and
during parent conference time, the student is able to show and explain to
their parents what they have learned (with a little coaching, they are
Sometime around Xmas and at the end of the school year we do a simple
written evaluation of a project. It consists of 4 questions.
1) I see.... (describe artwork)
3)I learned... (both new techniques and info about artists/cultures that
might have inspired the project)
4) I feel.... because.... (our school uses Literacy Plus, so I have the
students try to use new vocabulary from their word books here)
These evaluations are saved in the portfolio.
At the end of the year, I put up some of the artwork I did as a child, and
ask the kids why I still have it... (trying to get them to take their
portfolio all the way home). I encourage them to keep their portfolios and
compare how they change over the 3 years that they are in our school.
Hope this helps!
Christine Merriam, Art Specialist
Kayenta Intermediate School