Monday, September 7, 2009

Lesley-Anne's DSA portfolio

One of the items Lesley-Anne had to prepare for her DSA interview was the portfolio. According to her teachers, the portfolio should lay out the child's relevant achievements, as well as reflect his or her academic journey in GEP thus far. We were not shown any samples, I think the teachers rightly wanted to avoid any copying which might result in every child's portfolio looking identical.

Left to our own devices, I suggested to Lesley-Anne that she do a summary of each major project that she had done in GEP, covering all subjects. The teachers did caution against bringing entire physical mockups or detailed writeups as the interviewers would hardly have time to plow through them.

I know for a fact that many of these kids receive extensive help from their parents in putting their portfolios together (In fact, I wouldn't put it past some parents to take on the entire project themselves.) To be fair, I think the schools expect at least some parental involvement. So naturally I offered Lesley-Anne my help, thinking I'd assist in getting some design templates to dress up the summaries of her projects.

To my utter astonishment, Lesley-Anne was quite adamant in tackling the project herself. She wrote up the summaries and reflections for each project, went onto and independently navigated her own way round the site to create designs for her work. This was the cover:

Here are some of the inside pages. This one is of an English project done on the book 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

This is another book project, on '101 Dalmatians' by Dodie Smith.

And this is of a maths game that she created in p4.

After all the designed pages, she filed her school results, certificates and teachers' feedback forms.

At first, I was slightly peeved that she rejected my help. Everything I offered to do, she would protest, "I want it to be my own work!" Finally, she consented to let me cut the photos for her. And some minor editing of the writeups. Yay! I have a role!

But I think I finally understood her thoughts when I read what she wrote as a cover page for the portfolio:

Magnum Opus

This portfolio is a snapshot of what I have learnt and experienced over the past two and a half years in GEP, as well as my achievements outside school. During this journey of my life, I have not only grown academically but also in character and I have come to know myself better.

My creativity is what I value most in myself. I have really enjoyed creating my portfolio - it is an achievement I am proud of. To me, it is my magnum opus.

To those unaware, "magnum opus" means "great work", borrowed from EB White's 'Charlotte's Web'. Lesley-Anne wanted to take ownership of this project because to her, this is her journey, her achievements and she wanted to showcase something that she could call her own.

As it turned out, for both interviews that Lesley-Anne attended, no one even bothered to glance at the portfolio! But Kenneth and I both think this project revealed her great sense of responsibility which is more valuable than all her academic achievements. For that, it didn't matter whether any interviewer saw it - it IS her magnum opus.


Karmeleon said...

After all that work, you didn't make a copy and submit it to the school with her application? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica

I am truly impressed by Lesley-Anne and her portfolio. She writes well and her creativity clearly shows through.

Did she submit her portfolio or just bring it along with her to the interviews? My dd didn't prepare any portfolio for her DSA. She just submitted her certificates and results as requested and went in empty-handed into the interviews. :P I am glad you're only showing L-A's portfolio now or I would have been really worried for my dd!

And you know what? It doesn't matter that the panel didn't ask to look at her portfolio because it's such a wonderful keepsake and testament to L-A's journey in GEP. Really something to be proud of. :)


Anonymous said...

L-A really 'wowed' me off my feet, what do you feed you? :)


monlim said...

Nope, L-A didn't submit the portfolio cos the applications didn't call for it. Anyway, that would mean have to make another 2 copies right? *faint*

We'd heard that many schools stopped looking at portfolios at interviews but L-A's school still asked the kids to each make one, just in case. But as Sue said as well, it's ok they didn't look at it, we think it's a great keepsake for L-A. She really enjoyed her 3 years in GEP and the portfolio will be a great way for her to remember her experience by.

QX: I feed her Mouse Hunt :D

Anonymous said...

Hey Mon, you can probably delete my previous comment, my fingers and eyes coordination is whacky this morning..

OMG Mouse Hunt! This is something not achievable for me being so clueless myself. There goes mission impossible...Thanks for sharing though.. LOL


Lilian said...

Uh-oh, you have no idea what you've done have you?? Everyone's gonna copy this for DSA application next year lah! hehehe...

I saw the portfolio when I visited you at the start of our trip back, and I was so impressed! What a great keepsake.

Okay, gtg now. Byeeee!

Click hunter's horn while we're out!

monlim said...

Lilian: Haha, copy at their own risk, I already warned everyone the interviewers have stopped looking at portfolios!

*fights with Andre to click horn*

Alcovelet said...

Mon, when you mentioned the portfolio a while back, you said you were impressed but I didn't catch on. This is fabulous! She clearly enjoyed herself during the three years and has expressed herself accordingly.

Except, just judging from her quality of work now at this young age, I think her adult magnum opus is definitely going to be even more special.

Don't lose your love of learning, Lesley-Anne! You definitely have it!

monlim said...

Thanks Ad! You are so very encouraging. As you've said, I'm thankful that she loves learning. It's so easy to lose that after being in our system, I've gotta keep reminding myself that in this crazy competitive system, it's important to maintain that fire.

Anonymous said...

wow! this is damn (pardon my french) impressive! really good that your daughter wants to do her own work. i'd be proud to have her as my kiddie. *heart*

rgds - kjj

elan said...

Wow, fantastic work. Keep it up L-A!
You are right, even though the interviewers did not look at it. It is something that she really be proud of and keep as a memento of her GEP days.
I'm glad my son didn't have to submit a portfolio that would have been more stress for us. Although there was the pang for a while there - so what was the point of doing all those GEP projects for the past 3 years if it is not going to help his DSA application since he worked so very hard and earnestly on each of them? Fortunately I came to my senses and realised that it was the journey that was important. The skills and confidence in writing, analysing, organising and researching that would be with him for the rest of his life and NOT whether a panel of teachers would look at it to let him into their school.

monlim said...

Aww.. thanks JJ!

Elan: I know what you mean, so often we think something is worth doing only if there's an intrinsic benefit at the end of it but that really isn't the point, is it? We just have to keep adjusting our perspectives and be glad that our kids are forging their own paths :)

breve1970 said...

Your cup indeed runneth over again, my friend :). So happy for you. Lesley-Anne possesses such maturity beyond her years. If I have a kid like her, I would blog all day long about her... :).

Honestly, I think it is also because you and Kenneth have inculcated all the right values into her so credit must go to you two as well!

An ultra-impressive portfolio! Very nice of you to share that with us.

monlim said...

Thanks Ann! Have to admit I'm very proud of her, not sure we deserve any of the credit :P

Continue to blog about your kids! Would love to read about them.

Anonymous said...

Wow! L_A's portfolio is very eye catching. I love what she wrote on the cover page, the lay out & the colours! Nevermind about the interviewer not looking at it, I will keep this portfolio forever.

Way to go, L_A!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Mon,

LA's portfolio will be a very nice momento to remember her GEP days. Now I don't just have very good impressions of your kids, I think LA's school is very wise too!


monlim said...

Thanks Chris! I think L-A is feeling a little shy from all the compliments :)

SC: Thanks! I'm so glad we chose this school for our kids, it has indeed turned out to be one of the best decisions we've made as parents :)

Anonymous said...

Great job!

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