Teacher Tips how to help Students Create Great Portfolios

Students focusing on literary genres of different kinds, writing music or working on various artistic projects need to learn how to show their creative works in a portfolio. A compilation displays a collection of their early works, as well as later ones and reveals their level of academic progress. Achievement is immediately evident in a well-constructed portfolio. Teachers are instrumental in the success of their students when they know how to help them create great portfolios.

What is a portfolio?

The freedictionary.com suggests that a portfolio is “a portable case for holding material, such as loose papers, photographs, or drawings” with “the materials collected in such a case, especially when representative of a person’s work”.

Consider the following teacher tips with respect to how to help students create great portfolios.

What do the contents of a portfolio reveal about the student’s passion or dedication? The word greatness has to do with the quality of the contents of the portfolio in relation to the creative ability of the student, evident in their work and reflected in their attitude. Students who love their work take pride in building portfolios, but it is not the portfolio as a case in which their work is carried that constitutes greatness.

Accurate identification of the student and his or her work is of primary importance in portfolio building. Dates, times and places of various kinds of creative endeavors can help to establish and validate student progress in different types of literary, music or artistic portfolios. Students including the names of teachers or instructors can help to increase credibility.   

Portfolios create and increase the marketability of creative works by any writer, musician or artist. To sell his or her work, a student must show it to others and that means taking it to prospective buyers like publishers. A portfolio can also be helpful in terms of admission to academic programs or possible employment.

Having the student’s work in an appropriate portable case is important. While it need not be elaborate, it should reflect the taste of the creative student. Ideally, the contents of the portfolio are well organized. Because many writers, musicians and artists are eclectic in terms of their creative genius, samples of different types of work prove beneficial. For example, a student who writes music can show case one or two symphonies. It is not usually possible to show case the entire contents of any creative writer or artist’s projects; nor is it practical.

Selectivity is important when choosing the contents of a portfolio for ‘show and tell’. Selecting primary works rather than secondary ones for inclusion in a portfolio offers the best representation. This also makes it easier for a prospective buyer to have an overview. Photographs may be perfect for various kinds of artwork or the use of computer files with cds, dvds, disks, etc. might be appropriate. Literary work like poetry can be in book or e-book form. Specific chapters of literary works like fiction often constitute a student portfolio. At times, summaries of various works or condensed versions may be appropriate. Blogs or web sites can also serve as portfolios. 

The positive, constructive creativity of a student can lead to the building of a great portfolio. Proactive teachers recognize and acknowledge the potential for greatness in their students and help them to create portfolios that truly reflect their creative genius.