Posted on October 29, 2017
The students of Noiʻo 1 had a jam-packed week. Normally, I'd prefer to schedule just one high-energy activity in a week's time, but sometimes we have no choice but to go for it. On Wednesday we had our field trip to Mānoa Stream, which I'm sure you have heard about extensively. Both classes were so excited and could barely contain themselves. Some students fish on a regular basis and were eager to get going, while the students who had never fished were ready to give it a try. Mr. Yap allowed Ms. Holzman's class to fish first, which allowed our class to conduct our field observations. Although we were confined to a small area of Mānoa District Park, our class managed to find LOTS to wonder and hypothesize about.
A few students found some kukui nuts and were trying to determine which tree had dropped them. Another group had picked up some large orange seed pods and although they knew which tree they fell from, they didn't know the name of the tree. And a few students thought that they found a pineapple tree based on the large oval-shaped fruits in the tree. Of course some other joined the conversation pointing out that there is no such thing as a pineapple tree since pineapples grow in the ground. Someone else said it looked like the symbol on another school's logo, but they didnt know what kind of a tree it was.
As your child's teacher, my job is not to jump in and tell them the answers, but rather allow them to do some research and discover the answers for thmesleves. Even though clearly, we need a lesson in tree identification, especially in knowing that our state tree in the kukui tree.
The class was also able to observe and find lots of wildlife at the park, much more than they anticipated. They watched Madagascan Geckos hunting for food, several birds flying from tree to tree, Egrets following the lawnmower in order to capture all the exposed bugs and worms after the grass was mowed. Unfortunately, we also saw a dead toad and a bird that had clearly been eaten by either a ferral cat or a mongoose. Each time a student noticed s live creature, they'd come running to me to show it to me. Each time I'd ask them to sit quietly and observe, and then I'd pose the questions of what they see the animals doing and more importantly--why. I did tell the class that each animal behavior they observe has a purpose, animals do not engage in random behavior.
We also found a bird's nest on the ground that we thought might have either fallen from its tree or perhaps the mother bird was carrying it to a better location and dropped it. Either way we were sure not to disturb it in case she was watching us from a nearby perch. We also found a lot of rubbish that we threw away (bottle caps, candy wrappers, plastic utensils, plastic bowls, and plastic wrap).
Finally, Ms. Holzman's class returned from the stream with nets FULL of fish. Our class was so excited to get going to the stream ourselves when Mr. Yap announced we would not be able to fish that day. The initial response was of disappointment and even a bit of indignation. I had to remind the class that we came to help and counting and sorting the fish is an important part of the process. Boy, did we count! You can see in the photos that our class was tasked with all of the counting and sorting since we did not get to fish, and oh did we work--non-stop for 45 minutes, in fact. We counted 500 invasive Armored Catfish in the nets. Unfortunately, there were zero native fish. Those are not healthy numbers for our stream life. Many students now have more questions. We brainstormed and this is what we want to know....
Where are all the native fish?
Are they being eaten?
Are they starving since the catfish are eating all their food?
Why are there so many catfish?
How many babies does a mommy catfish have at once? (One boy guessed 60)
How often do catfish have babies?
So now our research will continue to find the answers to these questions. And we will research trees of Hawaii too since that was a big part of the morning's discussion. Also, about once a week, I put a quote on the board for them to tell me about in their journals. They can write what they think it means, give me an example, or tell how they practice the quote in their daily lives. Last week I put a quote on the board from Monday's chapel --
"It's better to give than to receive." On Thursday after our field trip, I wrote this one,
"When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade."
Some students had heard of the adage, and the majority of the class knew I was referring to the outcome of our learning trip. If you have a chance, be sure to ask your child how they felt about not being able to fish. This falls right in line with our Learner Profile. Sometimes things don't go as we want or anticipate, but it's how we react to disappointment that makes the difference. In some cases it takes adults a whole lifetime to learn these valuable lessons. I know I feel quite proud of the fact to be at a school that values character and dispositions and that I'm able to teach my students how to be the best person that they are meant to be.
Also, you will see a few photos from the UNICEF Sale and pumpkin carving. Both are annual events that bring joy, team work, creativity, and we get to raise money for a worthy cause.