Look, See, Wonder: Reflections on Our Practice - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Look, See, Wonder: Reflections on Our Practice

Posted on April 23, 2017

by Dr. Edna Hussey on April 23, 2017

Our students spend a good part of their day observing carefully, with mind open to wondering and questions. In this blog are photos Iʻve taken through the past week of a few special events. Join me as I reflect on the photos documenting these events. Look, see, and wonder.

At the most recent chapel, Kahu Davis talked about things we love, from food to activities. He often poses questions that prompt reflection, and then he asks for students to respond altogether or he asks for individual responses. Here he asked, How many of you love homework? Two hands up meant "I really love homework!" One hand, "Sometimes I love homework." No hands up, "I donʻt like homework at all." In the first chapel with kindergarten through second grade, nearly all studentsʻ two hands shot up without hesitation. In the second chapel with students in grades three through five, most of the students held up both hands, though there were more single-hand responses. Made me think about research thatʻs been done for several years about studentsʻ reluctance to do homework as they move into higher grade levels. Whatʻs the nature of homework? What does homework accomplish in an elementary school? What kinds of homework diminish a love for learning?

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First chapel, K-2, above, and second chapel, below, with grades 3-5

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In last weekʻs blog, I wrote about another perspective of the mentor-apprentice model of learning by creating opportunities for student athletes to interact with preschool and elementary students. Hereʻs yet another interaction --international students in our English-language learning program in the high school prepared short presentations to practice their speaking skills with our students. This was an exercise in developing audience awareness and selecting a topic of interest to match audience expectations, selecting images and format to sustain interest (poster), and sharing topics that express cultural pride. Do our students see similarities or differences between themselves and the ELD students? Both? What does ʻglobal awarenessʻ mean for our students? How can we deepen our interactions with our international students in terms of their experiences and thinking as citizens of their respective countries? What new understanding can we create as a school community about global awareness?

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The following images represent for me the confidence our students develop over time as they speak in front of an audience during each monthly assembly. In the first photo, Zach began at Mid-Pacific as a three-year-old and Kalena as a kindergartner. In the second photo, third and fourth graders each take turns explaining their wetlands inquiry. No hesitations there. In the last photo, the student with the microphone reads aloud her original poem, which earned recognition in a poetry competition. The student beside her also reads his poem like it meant something significant and true for him to write. The teachers and I marvel at the increasing confidence of our students to stand before an audience of nearly 300 at an assembly. Where does that confidence come from? What are factors in their daily learning experience that naturally encourage them to let their voices be heard? How can we continue to nurture this confidence as students matriculate to middle school and high school? It begins right here at the preschool and elementary.

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E Kūlia Kākou! Letʻs strive and aspire together!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey, Ed.D.

Principal