Posted on May 9, 2015
Preparation bas been underway amid the many events and activities in the past two weeks -- the May Day performance, creating Mothers' Day gifts, inquiry presentations -- for the parent-teacher-student conferences on May 14 and 15. Elementary students have been selecting documented pieces of their learning from subject areas that best represent their strengths. Depending on their efficiency with technology, students have been taking photos or downloading specific pieces into their Evernote electronic portfolios. With each piece of documentation is a written or audio-taped reflection explaining why the piece was selected. This period of reflection -- looking back at their learning over the semester and entire year -- is a daunting metacognitive task for young learners because we ask them to think about their thinking when learning. With teacher support, students rise to the occasion. The portfolios, juxtaposed to the performance continua, provide as complete a picture possible of student learning. Even so, with all this high-level reflection, students made time to create simple gifts for their mothers to celebrate Mothers' Day.
Fifth graders planted herbs in their sustainable garden this semester. They harvested the basil on Friday morning . . .
Several teachers gave their students some respite from the heady portfolio reflections to attend a delightful performance by the Castle Performing Arts Center called "The Best of Me." Four talented Castle High School students showed several elementary classes how to become their best persons. A healthy diet, lots of outdoor play and imaginative play, drinking water, exercise, and limited screen time all contribute to helping each person become the "best me." This message, familiar to our students through their participation in the Hawai'i 5210 program, coupled with what the students learn in character education about relationships and emotional well-being add up to a consistent view of how young children can live meaningful, happy, successful lives. Many thanks to CPAC for a fun performance.
Students enrolled in our Extended Learning Program shared the highlights of their learning in a public performance this past Friday afternoon in Bakken Auditorium. It was great to students as performers in another context outside the classroom as musicians, dancers, actors, and tech innovators. Given the encouragement and opportunity to explore other ways of learning, I learned that our students love to share their talents. There was nary a shy child on stage. Students just beamed with confidence! I was amazed at how well students can remember such complicated dance moves, how they can improve in front of a large audience, and how they can perform with composure. Many thanks to all the Extended Learning teachers and to Kimee Balmilero, director of the Extended Learning Program, for her coordination of the classes.
This week's letter ends with a heartfelt thank you to all of you, our parents, for the healthy faculty and staff breakfast and lunch this past Monday. The faculty workroom table was the center of activity when teachers emerged from their student assessment work and conference preparations for a bite to eat (actually, a plateful to eat). And the therapeutic massages hit the spot. We appreciate you!
Wishing all a Happy Mothers' Day -- mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, godmothers, mothers-to-be, foster mothers. You deserve all the pampering and more.
E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.