Posted on December 4, 2011
It just keeps getting better.
If you were in the audience at the preschool and elementary Christmas program in Bakken auditorium last Thursday evening, I'll wager visions of over 800 adults and children are still dancing in your head! Every grade level, from the high-pitched singing of our adorable preschoolers and kindergartners to the syncopated rhythms of the fifth graders and every class and soloist in between gave a joyful performance. Even the MPI choir sang a catchy song, Hot Chocolate, accompanied with clever motions. In the past few years, the finale has evolved into an audience participation number, and what happened this year was a sight to behold. To the tune of Bob Marley's popular Three Little Birds, the entire audience -- and I mean 600 parents, grandparents, family members, faculty, staff -- danced hip-hop with unbridled glee! You just had to be there. Talk about sending everyone home with a song in their heart and lilt in their step. Kudos to Music specialist Diane Koshi whose expert teaching brings out the very best in our students. Christmas at the preschool and elementary has now officially begun!
Preparations are still underway in every classroom for the upcoming parent-teacher-student conferences December 12-13. This coming weekend parents of elementary students will be logging online to access their child's performance continua and digital portfolio. Yes -- significant moments of student learning are now documented electronically! (The preschool teachers have been doing similar documentation with video shown in their parent-teacher conferences for the past two years.)
Two years ago the faculty and I began discussing the possibility of developing electronic portfolios. Torry Montes, one of our multiage third-fourth grade teachers, described this process in a recent blog, which is well worth reading so that you can appreciate the careful thinking that has gone into the design of the portfolios. Go to http://www.midpac.edu/elementary/3_4M/2011/11/it-is-hard-to-b.php. Though this is the first year of implementation, I think parents will have a better appreciation of the electronic portfolio as their children matriculate through elementary school and evidence of learning is readily available online and easily linked from one year to the next.
An information session is scheduled for Friday, December 9, at 8:00am in the Technology Lab and at 4:30pm in the same location for parents who'd like a brief overview of the portfolio content. Parents should look for details of these information sessions on the parent intranet on Monday afternoon.
I want to underscore that the digital portfolio is the result of a two-year faculty inquiry about how best to document student learning and improve the quality of students' reflection on their learning. The faculty and I will be evaluating the portfolio process and product in January. We already anticipate that revisions to the e-portfolio will be a necessary part of its development. For example, we would like more of the students to actually manage their own documentation or learn how to manipulate their portfolios. The faculty and I are quite proud of our initial efforts to finally provide a digital process in concert with 21st century learning.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey