The LowDown

Upcoming Days in Rotation

Monday, January 23rd – Day 2

Tuesday, January 24th – Day 3

Wednesday, January 25th – Day 4

Thursday, January 26th – Day 5

Friday, January 27th – Day 6


  • The Lower School Scholastic Book Fair starts in less than two weeks (Feb 1-3 with setup on the 31st and breakdown on the 6th) and we need parent volunteers to fill some 90 minute shifts! If you can help, please sign up at:
  • We wanted to remind everyone that we will happily accept Porter-Gaud uniform donations, gently used book donations (children's and adults), and truly any other donation you may have, at any time. Our service program can connect you with a variety of non-profit organizations that are in need of so many things. Please save the date for the following school-wide service efforts and check the Community Service tab for regular updates about our program:
    • Friday, February 3rd is our next American Red Cross Blood Drive. You can register online for an appointment two weeks before the drive or email
    • February 20th-March 3rd - Gently Used Book Collection to support our Used Book Sale. All books will be sold for $0.50/each and money will be donated to One80Place Homeless Shelter. The Book Sale will be held on Thursday and Friday, March 9th and 10th in the lobby of the Wendell Center.
  • Monday, January 23rd marks the first day of our Spring Enrichment Programs. Registration will close February 3rd.
    • Due to popular demand we have created Football FUNdamentals, a Porter-Gaud Football Program for the Lower School (Grades 1-5). This introductory course will focus on the key concepts, terms, formations, skills and techniques that are necessary to become a successful Porter-Gaud Football Player. Fun will also be a major component!
    • Registration for all programs can be found on our website, Go to After School Enrichment, click the Spring Enrichment Tab, add a participant and wait for the programs to download.
    • If you have any questions or concerns please contact the Director of Auxiliary Programming, Corey Colman,

Using Chromatography

First grade learned about plants this week and how there can be hidden colors in leaves. They found the colors hidden in two markers in the process (using chromatography)!

Hour of Code

Dr. Sessions and Mr. Luce from the Technology Department joined the second graders to lead an hour of code in each homeroom class this week.

All About the Data

This week, students in Ms. Frasier's math group had a tasty lesson in using data and interpreting graphs as they worked with M&M candies during a hands-on lesson. The students answered questions about their sets of data and talked about frequency tables, bar graphs and pictographs.

Be the Change

Fifth graders have been learning about ocean currents, gyres, and the global problem of plastic pollution in our waters. On Friday, they made posters representing ways that individuals can work to reduce the amount of plastic making its way into our oceans.

Fact Families

Mrs. Gerth's math class worked on fact families this week.

Instrument Encounter

Bass player Jonathan Gray presented his instrument on Friday to fourth grade as their third Instrument Encounter of the year. Students enjoyed hearing jazz, rock, classical, and bluegrass styles played on the bass.

Ecosystem Dioramas

Fourth graders were busy working on ecosystem dioramas in science class this week.

Learning from Friends

Mrs. Sallee's class enjoyed a lesson in Swedish from their classmate this week. She introduced them to several Swedish words and read a book to the class during her Sailor of the Week presentation.

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A Note to Parents from the Virtues Committee:

Our virtue focus for January is Respect. Over the next several weeks, your child will be role-playing, discussing, writing, and drawing examples of respect in our classroom lessons.

Respect includes honoring parents, elders, and people in authority. It means honoring other people despite your differences and honoring your own self as well. Yet respect involves more than people. Respect for the environment is also important, as is respect for others' possessions, respect for society, and respect for systems that bind communities and countries together. Since positive reinforcement is such a powerful learning device, it would also be helpful to tell your child when you see him/her showing self-respect and showing respect to others or property. When children hear the words, "I'm glad to see you know how to respect your brother's toys," they get a clear picture in their minds of what respect for property is really all about.

You are the most influential character teacher in your child's life. We hope to take what you have so diligently begun at home, and incorporate it into the school setting. Since we are partners in teaching your children we look forward to your comments, suggestions, and support, in implementing these important skills.

Upcoming Days in the Rotation

Monday, January 16th – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – School is Closed

Tuesday, January 17th – Day 5

Wednesday, January 18th – Day 6

Thursday, January 19th – Day 7

Friday, January 20th – Day 1

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." – Martin Luther King Jr.

A Look Back at Beyond the Books

Please visit our photo gallery to view more pictures taken during our Beyond the Books Program.

Introduction to Respect

We introduced the virtue of respect on Thursday with a special guest speaker, Reverand Dr. Clark. She is a native of Awendaw, South Carolina and is the Pastor of the historic Bethel AME Church in
Georgetown, South Carolina. She spoke to our students about what it means to respect yourself and others. Her words tied in beautifully with our upcoming holiday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.

The Chocolate Touch

In celebration of finishing The Chocolate Touch, Mrs. Sallee's reading class had a chocolate tasting and the students wrote a summary of the book. Way to go second grade readers!

Fun Fraction Friday

The fifth grade participated in Fun Fraction Friday this week to kick off their next unit of study in Math. Please take a moment and ask your fifth grader about what he/she learned: can you change a fraction to a decimal? Can you change a fraction to a percent?

The Outdoor Classroom

Our outdoor classroom is the perfect place to have Reader's Workshop.

Bucket Filling Celebration

Three cheers to Mrs. Sallee's class who earned all of their pom-poms in their bucket by showing virtuous behavior. They celebrated with extra recess and a holiday toy show and tell. Way to go!

First Graders Love to Read

Science Explorations

Second grade explores the microscopic world of insects and flowers.

Third grade builds mountains, models erosion and deposition. They also began their clay project to model their answer to "What is inside Earth?"

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All of us in Lower School have enjoyed the start of the New Year with our Beyond the Books program. It is a joy for students and teachers alike to learn in new and creative ways. We hope all of our students bring home stories of their experiences. The teachers have already begun to share moments in which they saw light bulbs come on, allowing students' unique talents and abilities to shine.

We are building a photo gallery to share with all of you and hope to have it available early next week. We will keep you posted!

Upcoming Days in the Rotation

Monday, January 9th – Day 7

Tuesday, January 10th – Day 1

Wednesday, January 11th – Day 2

Thursday, January 12th – Day 3

Friday, January 13th – Day 4

Welcome Father Richard

We are pleased to welcome Father Richard into our Porter-Gaud community. He led his first Lower School Chapel on Wednesday. We are so happy he has joined our family!


  • The cold weather is upon us! Please remind students to dress appropriately for outdoor recess. Students are permitted to wear non-uniform outerwear to school if they remove it once in the classroom.
  • We are still searching for volunteers for the Lower School Library and Book Fair. Please contact Susan Easter at if you are interested in helping.
  • SIGN UP NOW for Spring enrichment programs including arts, sports, Brazilian Ju Jitsu, robots, private music lessons and more! Visit!

  • It has come to our attention that many students now have SMART/Apple watches. Because of their pairing with SMART Phones/iPhones, the watches have the ability to receive text messages which are very disruptive during class. Therefore, all watches must be disconnected from phones during the school day. If a child does receive a text message or another message on their watch, the watch will be confiscated until the end of the day. Please also note our cell phone policy from the Lower School handbook:

Due to the fact that many of our students in the Lower School now have cell phones, we must implement the school-wide policy related to all electronic devices. While Porter-Gaud acknowledges that many parents provide their children with cell phones as safety measures, these devices can be disruptive to the academic routine. They may not be visible or audible on campus during school hours. Violation of this rule will result in the confiscation of the phone by a teacher or administrator. For the first offense, students can come to the office at the end of the day and their phone will be returned to them. For subsequent offenses, parents will be called and will be required to come to school to retrieve the phone.

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A Reflection on Learning

Last week, Denise Lawson, Brannen Greenslade, and I traveled to Boston to attend a week-long institute at Harvard. The focus of our study was "Instructional Rounds", a practice being implemented in schools across the country designed to improve student learning. Our experience at Harvard was truly eye opening, and we pushed ourselves to higher levels of thinking about what our students are learning and how they are learning it. We were able to visit and observe in Boston area schools that have established a "rounds" practice, and our Harvard professors challenged us to think about how we learn as adults. Participating in this hands-on intensive institute has been one of the highlights of my year, and as we look toward a new semester we are eager to share what we have learned with our Lower School faculty.

As much fun as last week was, I did miss my Porter-Gaud family. It is wonderful to be back with all of the students and teachers this week as we wrap up 2016. I hope you are able to spend time with your loved ones over the holidays and find quiet ways to enjoy your very special children.

Julie Ellison


  • When we return to school on January 4th, the students will be engaged in the 3-day learning experience – Beyond the Books.
    • Students can wear their PE uniform or their regular uniform on these days.
    • We will have Chapel on Wednesday January 4th but students do not need to wear their Chapel uniforms.
    • The three days of Beyond the Books (January 4-6) are not days in the rotation but they are full school days with regular times for drop-off, pick-up, Upper School carpool and Extended Day.
  • Our rotation day schedule will begin on Monday, January 8th with a Day 7.

A Special Christmas Chapel

Students participated in a special Christmas Chapel last week with performances by our Lower School choir as well as the Treblemakers. In addition, we said a very special goodbye to Mrs. Jennie, our Chaplain, who will retire after Christmas. Students presented her with a banner signed by all of the Lower School students. We will miss her greatly and all that she has brought to our school over the last 8 years.

2nd Grade Christmas Play

The highlight of our week was watching the second graders perform the Simple Gifts of Christmas. They showed tremendous star power on stage and engaged us all in the Christmas story. It was evident how much work the students had put in over the last few weeks under the direction of Jeannie King and their teachers. Also, thank you to all of the parents that helped along the way with this production. We could not do it without you!

Holiday Celebrations

Second grade party time!

Fourth graders decorated Christmas cookies.

Fifth grade spent the last morning of school in 2016 in holiday centers: bingo, musical chairs, decorating sugar cookies, self-portrait ornaments, and gifts to nature.

Chanakuh Parties

Dreidel time in the first grade

Ms. Miller celebrated Hanukkah with all of the second graders on Friday. The students learned the history of the menorah and how to play dreidel.

Fourth graders celebrated Chanukah


Fifth grade students surprised Mr. Adams with a batman birthday party last week (with a little help from some super hero room parents)!!!!

Prime Factor Christmas Trees

Fourth graders in Mrs. Evans's math class getting in the holiday spirit by making Prime Factor Trees!!!

Amazing Coders

A few Lower School students earned a trip to the Middle School computer lab to code with Mr. Irving. They completed at least 11 sections of Learn to Code in Swift Playgrounds for a coding challenge. Well done to these amazing coders!!

Engineer a Phytoplankton

On the last day of classes before break, fifth graders were challenged to engineer a phytoplankton that would sink slowly. Each group started with the same size marble. They learned that phytoplankton need to float in the sunlight zone so that they can photosynthesize. At the same time, they do not want to float at the surface because they will be a bit too exposed. At the end of class, each design competed in a reverse race - the last to sink won. Overall, we found a couple of successful non-sinking designs and many ways to make a marble float!

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