More than Soup: A Lesson in Building Community - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

More than Soup: A Lesson in Building Community

Posted on November 25, 2016

by Dr. Edna Hussey on November 25, 2016


Making a savory Thanksgiving soup has been a tradition in the kindergarten class headed by teacher Kelley Hitomi and assistant teacher Noelani Goldstein. The teachers provide the basic chicken stock in a large crockpot in the classroom, and the students are invited to bring fresh vegetables to add to the soup. Can you see the ingredients of potatoes, carrots, squash, onions, mushrooms, broccoli, corn, and zucchini? The children prepare the vegetables then add it to the pot as soon as they arrive to school. Through morning meeting, math, writing, and C.E., the soup simmers. Just imagine the childrenʻs anticipation as the aroma whets their appetite. Students were so proud of their Thanksgiving Soup and their contributions to the meal. When I stopped in their classroom, a student came right up to me -- "I brought the potatoes!" And another -- "I brought the corn!" Yet another -- "I brought a different kind of bread!" See Ms. Hitomi's blog for more details and photos: We hope your family's Thanksgiving traditions added to the significance of this treasured national holiday.

This past Wednesday, teachers were in their classrooms surrounded by student work, steeped in the process of assessing each studentʻs learning performance. Working with teacher-developed rubrics and the schoolʻs performance continua, teachers determine where along this continuum to place each student. End-of-semester conferences are December 8-9 when each student, parents, and teacher meet altogether in a conversation about the childʻs learning progress. This upcoming week, it's more than likely that students from kindergarten through fifth grade will be finishing up their progress portfolios -- placing select pieces of work into their electronic portfolios and reflecting on the significance of each piece. Itʻs a far cry, thank goodness, from simply adding scores from quizzes and tests to determine the quality of the childʻs performance. Teachers consider a wide range of evidence of students' learning, from learning journals to small group conversations to drafts (art, writing, math, etc.) to "thinkwrites" to theory drawings, to name a few. By next weekend, look for a reminder in the Owl Update when you should be receiving your child's performance continua and access to the progress portfolio.

Enjoying the mix of strong breezes, sunshine, cooler temperatures, and rain -- our Hawaiian winter.

E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.