Organizing Student Portfolios and Saved Work {Paper Organization in the Classroom}

This post is part of my 20 day "Organizing and Managing Paper in the Classroom" Series. Today I am going to share tips and ideas for storing and organizing student work that you are saving for portfolios, conferences and open house.

I used to save all of the creative and awesome projects we did in class to showcase at open house. But then I became a parent and was let in on a little secret. Parents don’t want to see all the awesomeness in June. They want to see it throughout the year. Therefore as much as it pains me to part with the best of the best I try to let go of most of it once a month. Still there are things I do hold onto for conferences and open house.

There are lots of ways that teachers store these items.

Pizza boxes are a popular option. You can usually get one or more local restaurants to donate them to the classroom. They are a good choice because they are free, stackable and oversized which is great for those larger art projects. The downside is they aren’t easy to get into, a large and not always easy to store and can be a bit of an eyesore.

Some teachers use binders. These will allow you to move things around and make a nice keepsake since everything is organized within. They can be costly if you replace them each year. If you decide to use binders I suggest putting them on your school supply list. 

What I have found works best for me is a combination of open-top boxes and digital images. I decorated the boxes to match my classroom and used student numbers so that I could reuse them each year. The boxes fit well on a top shelf in my classroom that isn’t easy to reach so the fact that I only add to them every other month or so makes them a good option for that space. I typically take them down and pass them out to the students. I then have kids pass out the work that will go inside. Each child puts his work into his own box and then I call them in number order to return the boxes to the shelf. I like these because they hold more than just flat 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

I have really been including more digital documentation of my students which I’m really loving. Instead of holding on to a project or writing piece that includes artwork I will photograph the work or take a quick video of them sharing their project. I’ve really enjoyed sharing these on my Smartboard during conferences and the parent feedback has been amazing. I’m looking forward to further developing this process.

{Sources 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5}



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