Posted on May 11, 2013
It was a splendid Kawaiaha`o setting and a lovely Manoa afternoon of superb food and casual conversation among MPI employees and guests. Our preschool and elementary teachers joined colleagues from the middle school and high school, as well as staff from all departments and offices to celebrate our MPI school community on Thursday. The Parent Community Association (PCA) outdid themselves. Grilled steak, garlic shrimp, noodles, sushi, Indian curry, basmati rice, dim sum, and more than a dozen types of homemade desserts. Much of the food was cooked right on the premises. Then on Friday morning, our parent `Ohana set a table of breakfast foods in the faculty workroom as teachers came in to work on students' performance continua. The table was cleared for lunch and a spread of sandwiches, salads, and homemade soup. Yes, the faculty is feeling very much appreciated and acknowledged by this outpouring of aloha. Mahalo, Parents!
It will continue to be a very busy next week in the classrooms. On any day last week and this week, you might find students working on inquiry projects (building, planting, experimenting, drawing, writing, etc.), capturing images of their work for their e-portfolios with an iPad, writing reflections, or preparing for a presentation. Unique to the 5th grade this year are their "capstone" projects. A capstone is a culminating event in which students demonstrate their understanding of the inquiry process they have experienced each year as elementary students. The inquiries, which students developed individually or in pairs, have come from their personal interests, or what we call "wonderings." Students have been working with faculty advisors from the preschool, elementary, and high school. You'll be hearing more about these capstone projects shortly.
This past Friday, the teachers worked in their classrooms and offices, looking carefully at various pieces of student learning, their observational notes, and video clips to determine where on the performance continua each student should be placed based on the performance descriptors. The assessment process goes beyond the traditional practice of adding numerical scores for tests and quizzes and determining an average score. Since the culture of learning in the elementary is always focused on progress over time and weighing together learning processes as well as the products of thinking and learning, assessing student learning requires a very mindful, holistic approach, much like focusing a camera lens to bring clarity. The teachers zoom in on each reading log or "think sheet" or math assessment, for example, then step back to take in the breadth and depth of each child's learning over time. The marks on the performance continua, then, are placemarks along your child's journey of cognitive development.
Finally, I hope all our mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and mothers-to-be are celebrated on Mothers' Day. Breakfast in bed, handmade cards, Sunday brunch, or even a few hours just for mom to do her own thing. One last thought about mothers on their special day --
Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends - but only one mother in the whole world.
~Kate Douglas Wiggin
For our mothers,
Edna L. Hussey