Digital Portfolios

Each Trimester my students create a digital portfolio of their work. Here are a couple examples.

A 6th Grade Portfolio by Emma

8th Grade Portfolio by Jake 

Another 8th Grade Portfolio by RR

I run a modified choice program in grades 6-8. I have kids everyday for about 50 mins for 12 weeks before they rotate to another elective class.

I have tried periods of full choice, but the middle school kids I have for the most part need a little more direction. So we have challenge assignments that are required, based on a theme and then they can choose the media and approach to solving the task. In 6th grade we do the same thing with the elements of art.

At the end of the trimester the kids ALL create a digital portfolio. I am still working on the best ways to do this but here  is what I have done for the past 5 years.

1) kids make the art and turn it in to be graded with a short reflection slip. The questions on the reflection are similar to an artist statement.
Title: what did you name your art and why?
Medium: what materials did you use and why did you choose them?
Content: this question is usually specifically related to the challenge task.

2) I take photos of the artwork as I grade the work and load them into server folders assigned to each class period.

3) The kids have a tracking worksheet where they list the work they have made during the trimester, including work they have done for graded assignments and additional ‘studio experiments’ as I call them. Basically anything else they make when not working on the challenge assignments. Many times I have had kids do the assigned challenge task at home and then use centers during class and have LOTS of art for theirportfolios. They are required to take a picture of ANY and ALL art they take home. I even suggest that although I take pictures of graded work, that they should also take some picture of the work. This both gives them the practice with the camera and makes sure they have several pictures to chose from when putting together their portfolios. Every few weeks we will have a ‘tracking’ day. This is usually a period that is shortened due to assemblies, so not enough time to get centers set up. So all the cameras come out (I have 12 digital cameras due to grants), work gets passed back, and kids document their work.

4) The kids spend a day or two towards the end of the trimester working on an artist statement with some guiding questions. There is always one last tracking day before the computer lab days. It is always a frenzy to get those last pictures taken and this is when I clean out all the storage cupboards and make them take all the art home.

5) END of trimester I book the school computer lab for 3-5 days depending on the schedules. I create a power point template with the required slides that list each of the challenge assignments and then a few extras for the studio experiments. Plus an artist statement slide.

Their power points are then presented to the class on the last 2 days of the trimester. I think the kids find it very powerful to see all their art together in this format and to share it. Plus as I have them over the years, they will find their older power points saved in their account and always look through it. Usually with cries of “oh I remember that.” and “wow, I am so much better now”

I love to finish the trimester this way. BUT a couple of problems is that inevitable there are missing pictures, either because they didn’t take one or it has just been lost in the process some how. AND writing is still such a chore. “why do we have to do all this writing, this is supposed to be art.” I hear often.

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