Making Soup: A Metaphor for Community - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Making Soup: A Metaphor for Community

Posted on November 29, 2013

by Dr. Edna Hussey on November 29, 2013

IMG_2081.JPGEach year, the day before Thanksgiving, Kelley Hitomi and Noelani Vitarelliʻs kindergartners make a version of "stone soup" based on the story of a simple soup that becomes an abundant meal filled with contributions from village townsfolk. The teachers asked the Kinders about suggestions for ingredients to add to the crock pot of chicken broth and chicken morsels. They took turns occasionally stirring the soup. In addition to the items you might recognize in the bowl of soup were suggestions for apple and bananas as healthy ingredients. With some coaxing from the teachers, the fruits were offered on the side. (I think the Okinawan sweet potatoes added a nice flavor; thanks Kawai for the ingredient.) The children sat down to enjoy a savory soup finished off with bread rolls from parents. The experience becomes a lived metaphor of community --individual talents added to the whole create a dynamic, robust MPI community, which is celebrated by all.


A few more images of Thanksgiving in Operation Christmas: the Fifth Graders helped to load 185 filled shoeboxes donated by the preschool and elementary into two pick-up trucks.
(l-r) Noelani Vitarelli, Laura Adams, Sean Aoyagi, and Bill Wheeler show us the total number of gift boxes taken to Central Union Church. Read their hands.

When we return to school on Monday, the students will be focused on preparations for electronic portfolios -- documentation selection and reflections, either written or aural, explaining the learning represented. Faculty oversee the processes for each of their students. The assessment of learning entails an analysis of student performance and products of learning over the semester, resulting in a studentʻs progress placed along a continuum of learning. This process, which requires considerable analysis and checks against a set of descriptors in the performance continua, takes into consideration the whole of a childʻs learning rather than only the familiar 20th century measurements in tests and quizzes. In the 21st century, teachers are looking for evidence of high-level skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and communication, in addition to a studentʻs learning of content through which skills are provided context.

In order to support this important work, there will be no classes for students so that the faculty can prepare for the upcoming parent-student conferences on December 16-17.
You will be receiving more information as we approach conference days. Just a reminder that all parents should have confirmed conferences with the classroom teachers. I strongly encourage you to contact the specialists to schedule a meeting time with them individually. Art, character education, physical education, and music complement writing, reading, mathematics, and inquiry (science and social studies) and provide a holistic context for your childʻs learning.

A reminder that the Christmas performance has been re-scheduled to December 19, 6:00pm, in Bakken auditorium. (Parents were notified via the parent intranet.)
A busy time ahead for all of us! Thank goodness for the assessment processes that are critical to our school culture -- a time for reflection about our learning -- which naturally counters the holiday pace surrounding our children. Whatʻs the rush? Their childhood only comes once.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey