Welcome, Year of the Ox! - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Welcome, Year of the Ox!

Posted on February 1, 2009

by Dr. Edna Hussey on February 1, 2009

Gung Hee Fat Choy! In the spirit of Chinese Year, members of Gee Yung International performed the traditional lion dance this past Monday for our preschool and elementary community. Dramatic yet playful, three lions danced their way through classrooms and offices, fed with li see by undaunted children and faculty. The unmistakable clang, boom, and rumble of instruments provided a rhythmic backdrop, increasing the students' excitement. We were impressed by the agility and gracefulness of the lion performers, their movements so convincing with the wag of the tail or large eyes opening and closing.  Even the ears on the lion's head flapped up and down. Students in some classes dressed in traditional Chinese attire or played the instruments they had made in class for Chinese New Year.  We are grateful to Dr. Kuo and Dr. Chen for arranging the performance. Welcome, Year of the Ox!

I strongly encourage you to check your child's classroom teacher's weblog under Daily Happenings on the main elementary page. I read every posting, and I'm excited about the variety of learning in each classroom. Just the other day, I visited Mr. Black's class while they were in the middle of recording their learning reflections on science experiments they had completed. Students could work independently or in small groups to generate an inquiry, hypothesis, and method for testing their hypothesis. They developed a detailed summary of their work in a Pages document with photos of their inquiry process. On the morning that I had visited the class, students were situated around desktop computers and laptops, recording an explanation about the process using Facebook.

First and second graders are continuing their geography inquiry, which began with learning about the evolutionary timeline of life. "Learning" geography goes much deeper than merely learning facts and vocabulary. They are quickly perceiving the impact of geography on the development of culture and discovering the broad similarities among all cultures.

And, oh, the excitement of learning in the preschool continues to grow! The 3- and 4-year-olds are exploring the concept of a line, the basis for understanding symbolic language, and the 4 and 5-year-olds are entering into the realm of the narrative framework. Our multiage third and fourth graders returned from their overnight stay at Camp Erdman safe though tired from two days of team-building activity and learning about Hawaii's natural environment. It is exciting to be here at MPI and witness the depth of learning for all students.

The Varsity Boys' and Girls' Basketball teams invite all of you to attend their homecoming games: Wednesday, February 4, 7:00pm for the girls' team and Saturday, February 7, 6:30pm, for the boys' team. Both games will be played in the MPI gym. The School Spirit Club and cheerleaders will provide face painting, tattoos, and freebies for all MPI students attending the games. In support of the girls' team, we are offering a free pizza dinner at 6:15pm for preschool and elementary families who'd like to attend the Wednesday game. We are unable to provide childcare at the game but encourage you to make this a family activity. Please call our elementary school office by Tuesday afternoon to let us know if you are planning to attend the game and would like to have pizza. The cheerleaders will be on campus this Tuesday to talk about homecoming.

You have received the February calendar in the packet sent home on January 30. Please check your child's backpack for the packet. Enclosed is information about the next `Ohana meeting on February 11, featuring our school librarians Marcia Kemble and Gail Weiss who will do a short presentation on library services offered online to all MPI families. Although not indicated on the February calendar, we do have admission assessments for entering preschool and kindergarten, scheduled every Saturday morning from 8:00am-12:00pm.  Please note that there will be no school on February 13 so that the faculties of the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school can receive some professional development in-service and work on schoolwide planning. This information was included in the year calendar at the beginning of this school year. Information about Summer School should be coming out this month! We will be offering a half-day and full-day program of fun learning.

OK. I admit it. I do have long days at school, but I assure you that every day brings renewed energy and excitement as I work with the children and faculty. Just check the teachers' weblogs and the MPI main page, just below my letter, for the announcement about our CSAL boys' basketball team. Inspiring!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey