One of the most overwhelming aspects of being an art teacher is managing all the artwork. Of course, you don’t have to manage it at all; children can take their art with them when they leave class. But for me, I like to keep all of the art created in the art room in the art room.
There’s a reason for my managing madness: Art Shows. Each spring there are a medley of opportunities to showcase the student’s art, starting with the biggest: the school art show. Each child gets to display one piece. I like to have all pieces available in individual portfolios in order to select the student’s best one. Also, this system gives me the opportunity to select a variety of artwork so the parents can see all of the projects done throughout the year. You can read more about how I prep for my art show here.
Creating Student Portfolios
At the beginning of the year, I take a 18″ x 24″ piece of sulphite paper (I use whatever color I have, but color coding would be cool!), fold it in half then:
- Write the student’s name,
- Write the teacher’s last name or room number
- Write the grade level.
- * If that class has inclusion students, I like to put an asterisk next to those children’s names, because even though they attend art with this class, their artwork is group with the inclusion classes for the art show.
So, now that you have a portfolio for each child, where do you put them? At one of my schools, I have this nifty cubical shelf. It’s old and wooden and the perfect size for holding a classroom’s stack of portfolios. By chance, this shelf has 5 cubes per row. Perfect, since I teach five classes in one day. I put a label at the very top of each row: Monday Group A, Friday Group A, Monday Group B and Friday Group B.
As you may have determined, I teach in cycles: Group A for 5 weeks, then Group B for 5 weeks. I work two days a week (Monday and Friday). So If I’m looking for Friday Group B’s portfolio’s, I just look at the last slot.
Of course, you may have a different schedule. At the other school where I teach, my schedule is different and so is my storage. I don’t have this nifty shelf, so I use legal metal filing cabinets. They are a perfect fit for my portfolios and you can organize the drawers however you like.
Organizing artwork after a class…
After a class is over, the art either goes on a drying rack or gets placed in a stack with a piece of paper on top stating whose class it is. Recently, I received a nifty tip from another art teacher to write teacher’s class names on wooden clothes pins. Clip clothes pins to a string beside the drying rack or art storage table. When a class is done, clip the teacher’s name to the top art on the pile. Isn’t this a great tip?There have been many times when my little piece of paper with the teacher’s name on it floats away, so I really like the clothes pin trick. I’ve mixed up ALOT of art by being rushed and anxious to get home or whatever.
I have never been able to spend alot of money on drying racks, so I have purchased fairly inexpensive ones. There are the kinds that have a support rail along the side (red rack) and the kind that has the support rail in the center (black). The black one is certainly better, but if you have the red one, here’s a tip for you: laminate some old 12′ x 18″ papers and use as “sliders”. Place artwork on sliders and slip into place. So much better than trying to wrestle a paint soaked piece of paper.
Portfolios mean easy access…
The best part of having portfolios is when a parent comes into the art room and wants to look at what her child has done. I can easily go to the filing cabinet, select the right class, find the portfolio (never alphabetized, I’m afraid) and let the art work spill out in all it’s glorious color. And if a child leaves during the school year, her art portfolio is ready for her.
How do you manage your art work? If you do 3-D items, do you store them for art shows? Share your greatest tips!Pin It