I have been making portfolios for my students ever since I began teaching. It started out as a simple, fun way to illustrate how a child grows over the course of one year . . . both literally and figuratively. I do a ton of art with hand prints in preschool, many of which are included in the kids’ portfolios!
For September, our theme is “Getting to Know You”. We’re talking and learning about friends, names, school rules, appropriate behavior, body parts, the five senses, likes/dislikes, etc. In keeping with this theme, I decided the hand print art would simple be the kiddos’ hand prints. Nothing fancy to it at all! I gave each child a choice of 5 colors (red, blue, pink, purple, and yellow), painted both of their hands, and had them place their hand prints on white construction paper.
Once everyone’s hand prints had been taken care of, I called the children back for dictations. Since this is the very beginning of the year, I wanted to go with something simple just to get them into the swing of things. I asked each child, “what’s something you can do with your hands?” Many of them answered with just a word or two, so I talked them through it until they had each given me a complete sentence. I then wrote their sentences on white paper, quickly modeling the writing process.
It was very interesting to hear what each child had to say. I found it especially intriguing that I was given short answers by all of the children in my class. Usually, there are 1 or 2 kids who say so much that I end up filling up an entire piece of paper — “Well, I can peel a banana with my hands and clap my hands and squish bugs with my hands and push with my hands!” This year, the children kept it short and sweet. We’ll see if that pattern persists throughout the year, although I doubt it will. 🙂
This whole process may seem pretty simple, but it packs a punch. It draws the children in, gives value to what they have to say, encourages language development and correct speech patterns, models the writing process, and provides meaningful materials with which to read. Additionally, it provides a starting point for our portfolios . . . we’ll be able to compare this month’s writing sample/dictation with May’s writing sample to see the growth!
Once I had everyone’s hand prints and dictations completed, I simply bubble-cut everything and glued them onto coordinating construction paper. Eventually they’ll be coupled up with first day pictures, laminated, and saved for our Preschool Portfolios.