What learning looks like - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

What learning looks like

Posted on July 2, 2011

by Dr. Edna Hussey on July 2, 2011

If you read the summer session blogs posted on the elementary page, you'll notice this recurring theme: learning is fun! And the approach is all about problem-solving. As I've made my rounds to classes this week, I'm witness to the students' total immersion in learning. It's also interesting to me that there is not a moment wasted in the 2-hour and 4-hour block sessions. Instruction is given to the entire group, but what follows is the real learning in small groups. Teachers work beside students or move slowly from group to group, sometimes posing questions, other times clarifying an idea. Varied activities get the students up and around so that they can again re-focus on the next challenge. In some classes where students are reading, writing, knitting, or crafting, there is still an intensity of effort. I can see silent expressions on students' faces as they respond to a book, work their ideas out in writing, or decide between which materials to use on an art piece. And in classes where there is much more visible energy, the sounds I hear are students talking excitedly to one another. In your blog reading this weekend, please be sure to check out Lights! Camera! Action and the blog "Live, Local, Connected." There's a short video clip of the students' visit to news station K5 at the end of Kevin Tokuda's blog. Students got an inside view of news production and some air time!

The class "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees" is preparing for their big sale this Thursday, July 7, beginning around 9:30 (after the 8:30am assembly). The Inventions and Science classes have also contributed items to the sale. All proceeds will go to the Hawaii Humane Society and Surfriders (an environmental group). Teachers will post the items for sale in their classrooms so that students can plan ahead. If you'd like your child to participate in the sale, we're suggesting no more than $5 spending money. There will be a few food items as well as novelty items (I've got me eyes on the "Bedazzling Sunglasses").

We'll end our 5-week summer session with a special surprise on Friday, which I'll announce to the students at the assembly.

Finally, this is a big family weekend for many of us as we celebrate the Fourth of July.
I was listening to an NPR broadcast Saturday morning about immigration to the US and the reasons our newest citizens give about why they've chosen to become a US citizen. Yes, freedom to vote, to own a home, to practice religious beliefs. But I was taken by other reasons not often highlighted why living in America as a citizen is prized: the ability to take out a loan to pay for a college education or a home, the freedom of women to drive (not permitted in Saudi Arabia), the freedom of couples to walk hand in hand in public, the possibility that working hard in a job can lead to a better life. I remember attending my mother's naturalization ceremony as a child and how happy she was to hold up that small American flag. Her decision made a significant impact on my life and where I am today.

So when you're at the family barbecue or watching the fireworks displays, take a moment to reflect on what your U.S. citizenship and the notion of independence mean for you

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey