Posted on November 19, 2017
Last year, Mid-Pacific adopted a learner profile that focuses on developing student learners who are equipped with a wide variety of traits that will help them to develop into well-rounded learners and leaders in the community. The days of just being good at academics is quickly disappearing. We recognize that there is much more to the whole-learner. The academic aspects of school are still important and valued, but schools are also nurturing students who are global citizens, active in the care of their community and the environment, are collaborators and creative problem solvers, to name a few.
The last couple of weeks have provided the students with many different types of learning opportunities. We have gone on research trips and had visitors from a school district in Japan. These activities all help the children in their growth as whole-learners.
Manoa Stream Community Service:
Each year, the multiage 3rd and 4th grade classes work with Mr. Cory Yap from the Center for Conservation Research and Training at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He works with the students to help them understand the importance of restoring the native fish populations in Hawaii's streams. Over two days, we cleared out more than 900 armored catfish from Manoa Stream. We experienced something unexpected. At the bottom of one of the nets was a small o'opu nakea, a native stream goby. We released this little fish back into the stream, hopefully to live a long and healthy life.
Armored catfish in a net:
Happy stream warriors at work!
Kamananui Valley Observation and Research Trip:
This week, we braved the mud from last weekend's rains to walk into Kamananui Valley. This beautiful valley gives us the opportunity to observe the impact of human interactions with the natural environment. There are places to observe Moanalua Stream in both its natural state and channelized for flood control. We can observe the damage of strawberry guava as it invades and creates a monoculture forest. We can observe the restoration of native plants in the valley. The ideas to observe and think about are endless.
This was our first visit to the valley, so we went to observe and think about the questions that have guided our inquiry: Why are watersheds important? Why is it important to keep them healthy? How have humans interacted with and impacted this place? The students were excited as they began to think about these ideas. There were conversations about the types of fish they might find in the stream. Some wondered why the stream water seemed almost milky when the sun shined on it (runoff from the rains??)? Others thought about the koa trees, whether they would ever grow as big as they once were. One group of students discussed the difference between human-made pollution and nature-made pollution. The students demonstrated creativity and critical thinking as they grappled with the real world problems they were seeing first-hand. The conversations were varied and rich. They are going to lead to some very interesting research questions and learning theories. I am looking forward to seeing where this inquiry will lead!
Yield: Students Observing and Theorizing Ahead!
Our week ended with a visit from a group of educators from Chigasaki, Japan. They were visiting in order to learn more about inquiry and project-based learning. The children were fortunate to participate in a cultural exchange. Yoichi Sensei shared the work of his 5th grade students in Japan. Through video, they taught our students to play the traditional card game of Karuta. The decks of cards and clues were researched and created by his students. They were beautiful and our students truly appreciated them. It is my hope that we will be able to develop a connection with this classroom, learning from each other and truly gaining a perspective of ourselves as global learners.
How fast can you listen and choose a card?
As you can see, we have had a wide variety of learning experiences that nurture the growth of your child a whole-learner. We have begun our portfolio work and the children are reflecting upon themselves as learners. Your children may be talking to you about their new portfolio that is based upon the Mid-Pacific learner profile traits. Attached is a link if you would like to read more about the learner profile. We look forward to sharing our new learner profile trait portfolio with you at the student-parent-teacher conferences on Dec. 7th and 8th. If you haven't signed up for a conference yet, please do on the SignUp Genius site.
One quick reminder: Book orders are due Tuesday, 11/21. I would like to get them turned in early, in order to have them here by Christmas break.
Happiness is excited and engaged learners!