Friday, August 21, 2015

Sketchbooks, Portfolios and a Management System 2015

I am excited to implement artist portfolios this year with my 1st - 5th grade classes. Parents, you can expect to see your child's amazing collection of artwork at the culmination of the year! Keeping a portfolio is a perfect way to measure growth and accomplishment in art. The covers are fairly simple (a Xerox copy) with a place for name, teacher and grade. I added a box for reflection in the top right corner. We'll use that to write about our favorite piece of art at the end of the year. The bottom includes an image I borrowed that was made by Melissa Mercillott about many careers in art. This paper cover was glued down onto the back of a manila file folder using Elmer's glue (I did that after the kids left to make things easier). While we worked on the front of the folders during class, the paper covers were slid inside to keep them "marked."
First grade made a list of lines on one half of the folder front and a self portrait on the other.
Second grade made a list of lines on one half and a list of important color families on the other.

And third - fifth grade made a list of the elements and principles of art while I gave short explanations of each term. Using that information, we played a game in table groups. I gave each group a piece of art to observe and then the table worked together to talk about one element and one principle that really jumped out (even though there were many). The results were shared with the class while we took turns viewing each piece of art.

This year, I knew that I wanted to change up things in the art room and that I wanted to incorporate a sketchbook that could be kept all year long. I've never had much success with sketchbooks and did away with them for several years, however, this year I am excited to give them a try again - and I think the kids are excited about these special books as well! I am referring to them as Drawing Challenge Sketchbooks. Each grade level has a list of 10 topics to work on throughout the year. We will get these out and work on them when we have completed a project or a part of a project, when someone finishes their work early, or I have to be away from school. If you are interested in my lists of sketchbook challenge topics, send me an email and I would be glad to share. Of course, there are also directions for the kids to follow and all of that information is included on the topic sheets as well.

And here is my behavior management plan - Quietest Artists. It is based on a system that the kids are already familiar with and understand because I have been using it for the past 2 years - the "ART" letters. If the class is loud or not listening to directions, I begin by flipping the "A" for the first warning. If things don't calm down, I flip the "R" for a second warning. When the "T" turns over, we stop and clean up for the day. The class has to work as a team and they can earn letters back (except for "T"....there's no coming back from that!) if they work hard to turn down the volume and focus on art making. If the teacher arrives to pick up the class and the letters spell, "ART," then I give a sticker to the class on the chart. 10 stickers = free art day. I am working on compiling an awesome collection of free art activities for this special day and stacking my bookshelf full of games, puzzles, manipulative, etc.! I'm excited and the kids are too!


  1. Hello there
    I am extremly interested in your 10 topic list!It seems like a briliant idea!
    Neomi Goldbaum

  2. Love seeing your portfolio sketchbook ideas! I'm implementing pilot portfolio assessments for my K and 4th grades this year. For 4th I purchased pocket folders at Target (.17 cents a piece) it was perfect! Kinder are getting 12x15 manilla folders to keep everything in. We'll see how it goes! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  3. I love the portfolio! What a great looking classroom!


Thank you for leaving your comments! They are greatly appreciated!!