I've been rethinking how I do things recently. I've never had students keep a portfolio. I evaluate student work, keep the best or at least the best from each student for different exhibitions, and send the art home. Everything sent home has a note attached that tells about the lesson, and, in most cases, a rubric evaluating the student work and the students' behavior during the lesson. Sending art home is my primary method of parent communication.
However, a few lessons this year have seemed to fall flat. If all their work was kept in a portfolio than students could go back and rework projects they didn't like. They could improve their grades in many cases, as well as be prouder of the work they create. I've always liked the idea of a portfolio before, anyway. It kills me to see drawings folded or stuffed into backpacks on the way home. I'm not sure how the storage works, though. Do the students keep their projects in the portfolio the entire time? Do they just put it in the portfolio when the class project is over? I also don't know where I would store the portfolios.
I did not have a school wide art show at either school this year. With only being at each school for a semester, it just seemed like too much. Plus, parent involvement tends to be very low. I just couldn't see going through all of the work of hanging work from each student to have only a handful of parents come to the show. However, we just had a district art show, with the opening on Tuesday night. I included about 75 different artwork between my two schools. It's a pretty big deal. I had 7 students come from my first school (which was a bit cheating, since five of these were from sibling groups.) Two students came from my current school, including one of my winners. I really talked up the opening, and several students said they would be there. The day after the opening, students kept coming up to me, explaining why they couldn't make it. I understand that it is hard for parents to take their students to the show. One student told me that his mom only had enough gas to take his dad to work. I realize other parents do not have cars. It really got me rethinking the school wide show. Yes, the district show is a big deal, but it is pretty far from my schools. I doubt that the kids feel as special about their work being included if they can't make it to the show. While I might not have a lot of parents make it to a school art show, it would at least be possible for them to get to the show. As an alternative, I'm thinking about a parent art night, where parents create art with their students. I guess I could potentially do both.
Of course, all of these thoughts may not work out anyway. Our district is consolidating schools next year. Our superintendent just released his final recommendation to be sent to the school board. Both of my schools are on the list for closing. At this point, teachers have been reassured that they aren't planning on cutting any positions. With 11 elementary schools closing, I can hardly imagine that specialists like pe, library, counselors, music, and art will all have positions. At the very least, I will not be at the same schools next year.
This photo has nothing to do with this post, of course. Every post should have a photo, though, and this is my old dog, sleeping in my daughter's doll bed.