At this time of the year I have my students take home their portfolios.(We
have done several activities throughout the year building on the process of
growth through the use of portfolios.)
I tell them to go through it with a parent at home. Tell them about some of
the assignments, media, etc.
The student takes a short handout home and asks this parent to respond to the
viewing. I explain to the parent at the top of the handout that this is a
celebration of the growth that has taken place over the year and to avoid
The questions they respond to are:
1. What do you see as a special strength of this student artist?
2. Which piece in the portfolio did you feel the student artist did a superb
3. What did you notice in the student's portfolio that shows the improvement
the student has made?
4. What surprised you?
5. Did your student artist talk with you about the portfolio? Did you ask them
6. Any comments or suggestions?
The student returns this handout on or before finals. Part of my final is the
students response to this viewing. It always solidifies the activity for me to
read these responses. Many students never share their artwork with their
parents. It opens up a whole new dialog for parents and teens. Many parents
even call me to say it is the only way they would have known what talent their
child had for visual art.
Try it if you are a portfolio teacher. I tell you, it will bring tears to your
eyes and make you a believer in keeping portfolios.