6th graders added Art posts to their digital portfolio created with Google Sites

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Yesterday, I was in Yoshiko Maruiwa‘s art classes to help 6th graders add three posts to their personal digital portfolio (created in Google Sites). Yoshiko takes photos of all their finished work and creates albums on The Gallery. (The Gallery is our internal photo server powered by Drupal.) Kids include an image of their work along with an artist statement that explains their process, idea, challenges, successes, curricular connections, and anything else they want to include to curate their work. For today’s class, the students made a post for their Art Self Portrait, Art Tessellation, and Art Circle Design.

To organize all the posts from their 6th grade year, kids created an Announcements page named 2011-2012. As each post is written, it snaps into place in the sidebar index and is arranged alphabetically. Hence, I have them title their posts starting with the subject. I like this better than creating a new page/section for each subject. This way there are less clicks to get to examples of their work, and there is no danger of having pages without any projects on them.

During the course of our discussion, we talked about:

  1. Their invisible audience – while access to the kids’ digital portfolios is limited to users on our school’s GoogleApps domain, everyone in the community has an account. At any moment, their work could be viewed by students, teachers, administrators, parents, and anyone with access to a username/password. This should influence what they write (informative without being super personal) and how they write (grammatically correct).
  2. Appropriate commenting – write a comment that is specific and/or can initiate a discussion. Something like, “I liked your use of color” or “I see you painted a guitar. Do you play any other instruments?”
  3. Inserting an image by linking to the URL of the image online rather than taking a screen snapshot or dragging a copy of the image to the desktop. By using the URL, students can simply point to something else online. The alternative is to copy/take/steal a version of it which is tantamount to theft (depending on how the work is licensed).

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