A Smile in Our Hearts - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

A Smile in Our Hearts

Posted on September 26, 2010

by Dr. Edna Hussey on September 26, 2010

Our monthly assemblies are experiences, not activities. The most recent this past Thursday would have sent you on your way with a song on your lips and a smile in your heart. We featured two primary languages "spoken" in the preschool and elementary --art and music. Atelierista (studio teacher) Jordan Guillory reviewed some vocabulary that even our kindergartners know about -- pattern, form, structure, mode, etc. Many hands shot up from the audience when she asked them to explain what these terms meant. We marveled at the compositions that preschoolers and kindergartners made from "found" materials in nature. Simple leaves, twigs, and rocks took on new functions by suggesting new forms in their aesthetic arrangement (see Jordan Guillory's blog on the elementary website). We saw interesting patterns and lines in digital images taken by the kindergartners along their walk through the campus.

Jill Johnson, the visual arts specialist for grades one through five, shared delightful sculptures created by teams of first and second graders. The goal of the project was to build a 12-inch sculpture that would be able to stand on its own. We can only imagine the collaboration that took place in the art studio within each small group in order to produce these incredible museum-quality sculptures. In preparation for the assembly, Jill asked the students to reflect on the most important things they learned about after having completed the project. I think all of the teachers were awestruck by the five students who represented their classmates. I anticipated that the students were going to talk about using clay, or painting on clay, or how to add metallic pieces to clay. Instead, the students surprised me. Without input from their teacher, these students shared that they had learned most about team work, about making decisions together, about how to problem solve. These are clearly the most critical learning that we desire for our students -- and from first and second graders! Well, this just made the teachers' hearts sing!

-- which segues so well to the conclusion of our assembly and this week's parent letter.
The elementary choir, directed by our music specialist Diane Koshi, treated their classmates and friends to the two songs they performed at the recent Moon Over Manoa fundraiser, Start All Over Again and the Hawaiian `oli, Kawika. As part of our assembly protocol, students exit the assembly quietly while Diane plays some music, either on the keyboard or ipod. At this particular assembly, she played a familiar chapel song. At first, I could hear students spontaneously humming the melody, then nearly all students began quietly, sweetly singing the words. There were angels among us. As I said earlier, this entire assembly experience sent us on our way with a song on our lips and a smile in our hearts. What a wonderful way to begin our school day together, celebrating our learning and our community.

Parents are always invited to our monthly assemblies. The next assembly is October 21 at 8:15am in the dining room.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey