Posted on February 2, 2014
Spirit Week at the preschool and elementary was so busy and experience-rich that I need to start from the end with Chinese New Year. Amid a sea of children dressed in shades of red, the lion dancers from Gee Yung International made their way through each classroom, bringing blessings of the Chinese New Year. It was slow going only because students bravely fed the lions li see or the lions paused to play with the children. Beneath the squeals and laughter of delighted children, the steady rhythm of the cymbals and drum caught fast in our chests. Such a sight with children racing back and forth, catching glimpses of the lions dancing around buildings. President Turnbull joined me on the courtyard to feed the lions with lettuce leaves and li see tied to a red ribbon dangling from graceful stalks of bamboo. Dr. Turnbull and I tested the lions athletic ability, making the dancers stretch high for the li see. The exuberance of our new year celebration tells me weʻre in for an energetic, high-powered Year of the Horse!
Many of our students, faculty, and staff got into the spirit of Spirit Week. Pajamas, mismatched clothing, mismatched socks, crazy hair -- it was definitely a fun week to be in school. I think what amazed me was that despite the distractions, our students were fairly serious in the business of learning.
In the midst of Spirit Week, Kindergartners celebrated the hundredth day of school with a variety of math activities centered on the quantity of 100. They jumped for a hundred seconds, designed, constructed, and created things made of 100 items, and ate snacks that they counted piece by piece in groups of ten, to name a few of the activities. In other classes, students were doing their inquiry research, reading independently, or practicing their routines for Jump Rope for Heart, to name a few of the learning experiences I observed. I have to admit how hard it was to keep a straight face when meeting with faculty or students who sported some pretty wacky hair-dos.
This past Tuesday, MPI hosted twenty public school teachers of all grade levels from Korea through a collaboration between East-West Center and the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools. We organized a "learning walk" through several classes in the elementary, middle, and high schools so the visiting teachers could observe our instructional approaches and our students use of iPads. The teachers whose classrooms were visited joined our Korean colleagues for lunch conversation. We discussed our shared educational challenges and uncovered many similarities across grade levels and cultures. Educational innovation is difficult, no matter which country.
One more event that happened during Spirit Week making history for MPI. Five teachers representing elementary, middle, and high school received training on using special technology to create 3-D imaging -- the only school in the nation to receive hands-on training in this cutting-edge technology. Please click on this link http://www.midpac.edu/elementary/5F/2014/01/3-d-scanning-at.php to see and listen for yourselves what MPI students and faculty will be exploring in the very near future. We can hardly wait to teach our students how to use the hand-held 3D scanners. Our curriculum will change exponentially!
Here comes the Year of the Horse!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey