Capping the Year with Capstone Projects - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Capping the Year with Capstone Projects

Posted on April 19, 2015

by Dr. Edna Hussey on April 19, 2015

If there was anything that could have been improved on the fifth graders' capstone presentations, it was that we needed more time to see ALL the presentations! The "capstone" is the culminating demonstration of a student's learning at the elementary. In particular, students are required to show us their understanding of the inquiry process, the teaching and learning approach characteristic of preschool and elementary program. Students, working independently or with a friend, selected a topic and generated complex research questions. Topics ranged from alternative energy sources and the importance of sleep in children to stem cell research and the animation process. Over a period of six months, students searched information through field trips, interviews with experts, internet sites, and trade books. Faculty mentors also supported the students during their inquiry process. Students synthesized information and developed slide presentations and prepared scripts. On April 16, 42 fifth graders presented their research in small groups assigned to ten classrooms. I listened to 9 presentations and was begging for more! The students were articulate, confident, knowledgeable, and poised. Impressive to say the least! Congratulations to the fifth graders, and special acknowledgement of their classroom teachers, Pam Jenkins and Sarah Field. Our fifth graders are ready for middle school!

parents in Capstone.jpgYou can see the rapt attention of the audience as 3 fifth graders explained the purpose and process of the capstone project. Standing room only.

bruce with students.jpg

We bid P.E. teacher Bruce Black a warm bon voyage as he sets sail on the Hokūleʻa this week from New Zealand to Australia. He will serve as the educational expert on the voyage, connecting with Hawaiʻi students through the internet to answer students' questions. The preschool and elementary students gathered on the courtyard to present him with a large canvas signed by every student. You'd be pleased to know that the children will be experiencing an aspect of Mālama Honua -- the development of a deep relationship and commitment to the stewardship of the earth -- through the curriculum in just about every content area. In fact, much of the curricular program already encompasses the concept of mālama honua, such as the current inquiry projects in multiage first and second graders' gardening, the multiage third and fourth graders' in-depth environmental research of the wetlands, and our character education program. Bruce returns at the end of May. A full-time teaching substitute will finish up the year in physical education for Mr. Black.

olivia and copeland.jpgKite Day, a beloved school tradition dating back to the 1930's at Mid-Pacific, will be celebrated again this coming week on April 24. To prepare for the event, the middle school students will have met with all students in preschool and elementary prior to Kite Day to participate in a getting-to-know-you activity. If you're on campus, look for the kites on display. Attached to the tails of each kite are small drawings about students' happiest moments on campus. Hope the winds keep up for Kite Day so we can set our kites flying high.

Lanikai visit.jpgPictured here are three colleagues from Lanikai Charter School in Kailua. They visited classrooms to observe how iPads are integrated in teaching and learning. Next week, another group of colleagues from a Maui school with similar questions about iPad integration. Weʻre honored and happy to share.

E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.