Children are born with ownership instincts. It is one of the first social issues to come up with kids. I can still remember the look on my son's face at the first play group I took him to, when another little pair of hands reached out for the toy he was holding. "Mine!" he shouted. He couldn't understand why someone wanted to take 'his' toy. Now that I have two kids, this is an ongoing battle between the two.
Ownership can be a great thing though. Something I took away from schools in the UK (that I really don't see much of here in Canada) is the way teachers in Early Years and lower grades give the kids ownership of their work. Pieces that children produce are usually labelled by a teacher, using the child's own words to describe it. To be fair, it mostly developed from the UK's inspection system. Teachers always have to have evidence of learning in case Ofsted drop in. It is time consuming to do with a class of 30, but it really does help a teacher see the development of the child's thinking over the course of the year.
It is also really lovely for a parent to be handed a collection of work at the end of the year. You can sit with your child and read through their work together. Rather than just see a page of dots, you can read about what they were trying to draw. It gives them ownership. It jogs their memory. I think it even gives them a sense of pride in their work/creations from a young age.
So I started doing it myself at home as much as I could. What I ended up with though was a giant box of every single scrap of paper that my kids ever wrote on. It was getting pretty ridiculous!
One day I was reading a blog (I can't remember which one, so if anyone knows, please add a reference for the idea!) and the writer shared how she organised her kids' work. She had a 3 ring binder with plastic sleeves in it. Each month she selected a few pieces she loved and slipped them in the binder.
I thought it was a great idea! I'm not quite that organised though. So I try to just stick a date on the work and then save it in a box of their 'creations'. Every once in a while (when the box is filling up), I bring out the binder and sort out pieces to keep. My older son loves doing this with me. We pick our favourite pictures (he doesn't know where 'the rest' of the work goes!) and read them together before filing them in the binder.
I have also been trying to snap pictures of all their work as we go along. That way we have a digital record of them in case a small set of hands gets hold of the binder and is in a 'ripping' mood.
How do you save and organise your kids' work? If it is a way that makes it easy to look back through it together as a family, please do share! I am always looking for ways to be more efficient.
Hello! I'm Deb,
a book-toting mother of two and an elementary (primary) school teacher. I love making stories engaging and interactive for kids.
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