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Lower School Portfolio Day: What You Need to Know

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mark your calendars early this year for the Lower School Portfolio Celebrations on Friday, June 8th, 2018 (schedule below). Lower School parents—no extended family, please—join your children here at school so that they can share selected portfolio work with you in a community of their classroom peers.

Students and teachers have collected work all year long, selecting samples that represent both processes and finished products. Students have reflected on their work over time in each grade and will sit down with you informally, in hallways and in classrooms, walking you through a timeline of their work. They may even take you on a tour of their favorite reading nook, or teach you a game they love to play with their friends. These portfolios will go home with students at the end of the day, and you may find yourself perusing them all summer, and into the future.

Children at different ages and stages will have a range of abilities to sit and share this work with you with focus. Stay present, meet your child where they are, and take what you can from the moment. Come ready to spend quality, focused time with your child—it is always best not to have siblings or grandparents for this event. The lower school portfolio years will culminate, a few years from now, in a middle school student-led conference experience that will bring it all into keen and purposeful focus for students, and for you. We have the long arc in mind; in the lower school years we are laying the foundations for a self-reflective practice that will help all of our students thrive with emerging confidence, demonstrate strong self-knowledge, and lean in to challenge with a ‘growth mindset’ that will last a lifetime.

If you find your time split between two or more children and events and you are not sure what to do, contact your child(ren)’s teachers (if they haven’t already contacted you). They have been proactive in making arrangements to accommodate any complex overlaps, and can help you plan the morning. Some families choose to split the scheduled time in half between two classes; others may be able to send one parent in one direction and focus on one child for the entire time.

Below are a few reminders to guide you when looking at work with your children, in support of their self assessment, celebration and learning.

Sample of reflection prompts used by students:

I chose this piece because...
I used to, but now I...
The hardest part was...
This piece shows improvement because...
I felt proud...
This is a good memory because....

Tips for portfolio viewing for adults—try questions like:

Was this hard for you?
What do you like about this piece?
Did you do this work in a group or on your own?
Did you have to work through frustration on this work?
What about this piece are you proud of?

Make comments that are descriptive/specific rather than judgmental:
This looks like it took a long time.
Tell me about this part.
Looks like you had fun with this.

General Outline of Lower School Portfolio Day

Friday, June 8th 2018

  • 8:30-9:00am: kindergarten and first grade Parent Coffee with Mike/Jennifer in the Meeting Room
  • 9:00am: kindergarten Spanish song share (K parents stay in the Meeting Room)
  • 9:00-9:30am: first grade portfolios
  • 9:15-9:45 am: kindergarten portfolios
  • 10:00-10:45am: second and third grade portfolios
  • 11:00-11:30am: second grade play "Tall Tales" with Hilary/Kent in the Black Box
  • 11:00-11:30am: fourth grade band with Garth in the Meeting Room
  • 11:30am-12:10pm: fourth grade portfolios
  • 12:15-12:45pm: fourth grade parent meeting with Andrew Salverda and fifth grade team in the Meeting Room