Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Documenting Kids Artwork, PreK Style

 I keep note cards in several places in my classroom for quick anecdotal notes, general messages, reminders and of course for documenting children's artwork. They also fit nicely in my pocket without getting all wrinkled up like scraps of paper.

Some important things to remember when documenting children's artwork:

* Name & Date on all papers to make sure they get properly filed in portfolios later.

* Medium - I don't always do this but it helps parents and others know a little more about how this artwork was created and helps with those open-ended questions when talking with the child about their work.

* Try to write exactly what the child says about their work and not to add your own words... It may not make sense to you, but it absolutely makes sense to that child and maybe to others who read the documentation.

* Never write on a child's artwork unless you ask them if you can and even then I try to never do this.  If a parent wants to frame their child's picture, it would look much nicer without black sharpie notes written across the top of it. It also shows the children that you respect their work and don't want to "mess it up". I prefer the note card stapled to the picture or even better taped to the wall under the artwork if you have it up and on display. My only problem with this is losing track of the note card if it is not attached in some way. If the picture is going straight in the child's portfolio I sometimes tape the card on the back of the picture, which is a good alternative as well.

One more tidbit:  I know children often make great artwork that you really want to display in the classroom or add to their portfolio BUT they really want to take it home immediately to show mom. Right? We've all been there. What do you do? Encourage them to make another one "just like" the first one? Beg them to leave the picture at school "for just a little while" and hope they forget about it? lol  Your best bet is to either make a photocopy of the artwork (with a color copier if possible) or take a picture of it. These work great in your art gallery (even great works of art are sold as prints) and in the child's portfolio. After a trip to the copier with the child in tow if possible I even ask the child if they want the one they made to take home or the copy we just made. You would be surprised how often they want to take the copy. (:

Happy documenting!
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