HAʻAHAʻA AND BECOMING OPEN

ku’ia ka hele a ka na’au ha’aha’a 1870 Hesitant walks the humble hearted

A humble person walks carefully so he will not hurt those about him

Pukui, Mary Kawena, (1983). ʻŌlelo Noʻeau

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: HAʻAHAʻA:

When Aunty Pilhi Paki taught Pono Shim about the deeper meaning behind haʻahaʻa, she told him that he needed to “go empty.” Often our minds are filled with memories, thoughts and judgements, frequently about ourselves. This is natural. We filter the world through our own eyes and experiences. However, if we are unable to “empty” our minds of ourselves, we can’t truly understand how others perceive the world. And when they behave differently from what we’d expect, we judge, asking,”Why did they do that? What were they thinking?” 

As an educator, it’s easy to fall into that trap. Most of us found success in school. We conformed to classroom expectations. The way our teachers instructed made sense to us. We understood how information was presented in textbooks. So when we encounter a student that thinks differently or has different needs, our first reaction, if we are not haʻahaʻa, is to judge the child. We refer them to the office. We give them failing grades. And in the worse case, we label the student which may shape how future closed-minded teachers perceive them.

But if we practice haʻahaʻa and “go empty,” we make room in our brains and our hearts for differences. We accept that everyone perceives the world through different lenses. We welcome new ideas and new methods that expand our repertoire as a teacher. We celebrate what makes every student unique. And as result, are better able to reach all of our students and find ways to help them attain success.

One of the greatest lessons I learned as a beginning teacher came from my students whose life was entirely different from my own. As a ninth grader, Kona could not sit still in class without saying something disrespectful. For him, every minute spent listening to a lecture was torture. Every written task I assigned was an unbearable burden. Eventually I snapped, chastising him and holding him afterschool for detention.

After what seemed to be a millennia of seething silence, I asked him, “Why? What’s wrong?” 

Kona replied sassily, “How long I gotta stay? My brother’s gonna be pissed because we missed our bus.”

Full of ignorance and judgement, I commented, “Well then your mom or dad can pick you up then I can talk to them.”

“Yea?!? Go try. My dadʻs in jail and I hardly ever see my mom.”

Given the combination of contempt and pain carved into his face, I knew he was telling the truth. My tone softened, “Who takes care of you? Your grandparents?” Kona dropped his eyes to the floor. “Look, I just want to help you. I know that you can learn this. I believe in you. I just want to know how I can help.”

After a while, Kona began sharing that his oldest brother, barely 18, took care of them in a deteriorating house owned by his father. But, for the most part, the brothers were on their own. For Kona, some days were harder to take care of himself. We then talked about we could change things around in class. It didn’t take away his pain nor did it keep him from talking back once in awhile, but it did help him learn and his behavior improved. Once I stopped seeing him as a troublemaker and instead as a 14 year old who was angry, frustrated, yet very capable, we connected. He knew that I sincerely cared about him and that he could count on me.

Years later, reflecting upon Aunty Pilahi and Pono’s teachings and how that might’ve applied to Kona, I understand that by going empty, we really are becoming open.


5 PURSUITS of HAʻAHAʻA:

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

In honor of Women’s History Month, I will be featuring stories written by and featuring prominent women of history. 

Please watch The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin written Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Talk with your kupuna about a time where you felt others (or even yourself) underestimated you or doubted your abilities. What happened? What did you do? 
  • SKILLS: What advice/help would you have given Temple if you were in the same class as her while she was being bullied?
  • INTELLECT: Watch a TED talk by Dr. Grandin and learn about different ways people think.
  • CRITICALITY: How could you use your talents and uniqueness to make the world better and kinder?
  • JOY:  Some people who feel a lot of anxiety find ways to calm themselves when there is too much going on. With your kupuna, make fidgit toys to play with when you feel anxious. Or make them and donate them to an organization that helps kids who have experienced trauma. (Idea from https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/girl-who-thought-pictures-literature-guide)

KULEANA OF TEACHING RESILIENCE 

Recently a few students approached me, asking me to intervene with a classmate who they accused of cyberbullying them. I asked if this occurred in school and they replied that it occurred while they were all playing a game on-line the previous evening. Similarly, we also heard from students accusing others of saying hurtful things on social media as well as on group text threads that included students of all ages from other schools.

In all of these cases, I reminded students that they hold real power to put a stop this, one that I do not possess. 

  • They can block people being disrespectful from their games. 
  • They can “unfriend” hurtful people from social media. 
  • They can remove themselves and hide alerts from message threads that are toxic. 

In sharing this, my goal is to empower students with the kuleana and agency to defend themselves when online. They are not helpless victims. They are powerful and they are loved.

In addition to telling an adult when someone is being harmful, I believe in outfitting our students with resources and tools to shield themselves. Doing so trains them to be resilient, strong young adults. Please join me in teaching your children to be empowered to take positive action.


CONTINUED PRACTICES:

NOʻAHUNA OF ALOHA

See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

Join us in letting “that light, that divine inspiration that Aunty Pilahi Paki says is given to you at your very beginning, come through and let your ALOHA join with the ALOHA of the collective to bring about healing.” 

DAILY VIRTUAL PIKO

At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Wed, Mar 13, 20244:30 PM KES Wellness Meeting
Fri, Mar 15, 2024KES Fun Run
Mar 18 – 22, 2024Spring Break
Wed, Mar 27, 20245 PM KES School Community Council Meeting
6 PM KES Ohana Meeting – Join in-person at the Library or Online

HAʻAHAʻA, EMPATHY AND PERSPECTIVE

E hoʻohaʻahaʻa ʻia hoʻi ka manaʻo kiʻekiʻe o ke kanaka (Isa. 2.17), the haughtiness of men shall be made low. (PNP sakasaka.)

Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H. (1965). Hawaiian Dictionary

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: HAʻAHAʻA

Typically, when we want someone to gain empathy or understand someone’s perspective, we say, “walk a mile in their shoes.” Yet, studies have found, “people who endured challenges in the past (like divorce or being skipped over for a promotion) were less likely to show compassion for someone facing the same struggle, compared with people with no experience in that particular situation.” In one research study, people were given a scenario where a teenager struggled to cope with being bullied. They were then asked the extent to which they felt compassion for the teen. Researchers found people expressed a broad range of empathy. Counterintuitively, those that had little or no compassion were often those who had been bullied in the past. Why might this be?

On one hand, quite literally, we don’t fit into each other’s shoes. My banana boat size 12s would feel very different to someone wearing petite size 5s – even if the shoes were the same brand and style. If I tried to squeeze into shoes half my size, I’d focus on the pain and blisters caused by its ill fit rather than anything the shoes’ owner experiences. And even if I wore someone else’s shoes of the same size, they would still feel odd. Ever mistakenly put on someone else’s slippers after a party? Your toes hang slightly over the edge. The arch pushes on the wrong part of your sole. Since our feet are shaped differently and our bodies uniquely distribute and balance our weight, the slippers become customized to the owner. We can imagine what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes but that imagination is shaped by our own perspective.

Once, outside of Marukai, I took a picture of raindrops forming droplets on my windshield. I noticed within each the projection of a red framed window above my car. Every droplet contained an image of the same window. Yet, because of the size and shape of the drops varied, the assorted versions of the window appeared warped and peculiar. 

We see and undergo things through our own eyes and filter them through our own experiences. 

Once I finally accepted the fact that people see things differently from me, I stopped being frustrated that they did not behave according to my expectations. When I catch a kid swearing, I cease thinking they should know better and no longer say, “Would you talk like that to your parents?” Maybe swearing is acceptable in their household. Maybe it’s not. I really don’t know and it’s not my place to judge whether cursing is allowed in their home. Instead, I just say, “Swearing is not allowed here in school” and teach them what is acceptable.

Instead of assuming everyone grew up like me or hold the same perspectives, I practice haʻahaʻa – “Go Empty” as Pono Shim put it. I tell myself, “You are not a mind reader” and I listen. If I don’t understand, I ask questions. I trust and accept what they are telling me is their truth, their reality…and, with aloha, that is the surest way to gain empathy.


5 PURSUITS of HAʻAHAʻA

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

In honor of Black History Month, I will be featuring stories written by and featuring people of African descent. 

Please watch So Much written and read by Trish Cooke also illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Talk with your kupuna about the different ways members of your ʻohana show love.
  • SKILLS: Why do you think the title of the story is So Much? Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.
  • INTELLECT: The author Trish Cooke is from the Caribbean, a set of tropical islands south of Florida. Research the history and culture of the Caribbean islands and do a Double Bubble Map comparing it to Hawaiʻi.
  • CRITICALITY: Sometimes friends or even loved ones show love by teasing or making fun of each other. Yet, this way of showing love is not always appreciated or accepted as love. How might you let a friend know that their teasing is unwanted? -OR- How might you find out if your making fun of a friend is appreciated? 
  • JOY:  With your kupuna, talk about past family events that you both enjoyed. Look through photos of those events. Draw a picture of the photo and write a message underneath.

COUNSELOR APPRECIATION WEEK

Kāneʻohe Elementary is blessed with a team of amazing, compassionate, thoughtful, and caring counselors. Please join us this week in showing appreciation for Julie Isa, Shane Kumashiro, and our Behavior Health Specialist Joan Lanzaderas.

STEM NIGHT AT KES

Mahalo nui loa to the couple dozen families that braved the cold, windy weather last Friday to attend this year’s STEM Night. Aspiring engineers from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) challenged our students to design boats out of aluminum foil and measured which could hold the greatest amount of pennies. There were so many innovative designs, some holding up to 150 coins. Mahalo nui loa to the ASCE students, STEM Resource Teacher Karen Kimura, and Parent Community Network Coordinator Dee Fujinaka for organizing this engaging event.

ANCIENT HAWAIIANS PRACTICED ENGINEERING

In the February edition of Grove Farm’s newsletter, read about how in 1400 AD, the ancient Hawaiians used engineering to transport water and irrigate crops in arid Kōloa. Considering most auwai across the islands were dug into the soil, this innovative system uniquely used elevated aqueducts to bring water to otherwise inaccessible areas – much before Western contact.

KINDERGARTEN PREVIEW

Last call for our Kindergarten Preview this Wednesday, February 7, 5:30 – 6:30 PM. Since dinner will be included, please RSVP by Monday, February 5.

At this event, participants will:

  • Meet our teachers and support team; 
  • Visit our classrooms;
  • Get a snapshot of what kindergarten looks like at Kāneʻohe Elementary;
  • Participate in Parent-Child activities; and 
  • Learn how to enroll in our Kindergarten Smart Start Summer Program.

We are also accepting applications for kindergarten. If your child requires a Geographic Exception (GE), please submit your application as soon as possible. The deadline for submittal is March 1, 2024. All kindergarten GEs received after the deadline will be placed on a waiting list and will be accepted as space becomes available. If you have any questions about this or any other kindergarten related business, please call me or our registration clerk, Brigette Leavy, at 305-0000.

SEE SPONGE BOB SQUAREPANTS THE MUSICAL LIVE AT CASTLE

Buy your tickets now to see our wonderful performers across the Castle Complex including, Kaeten Miyashiro Manatad; Kameron Goohue-Souza-Kaululaa; Kobe Bruhn; Sariah Ava; Ariana Tanoye; Grezyn Nagao; and Makalehua Pelletier, in Sponge Bob Squarepants the Musical (Youth Version) There are only three shows, February 23 – 25. so secure your seat today at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/79651


CONTINUED PRACTICES:

NOʻAHUNA OF ALOHA

See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

Join us in letting “that light, that divine inspiration that Aunty Pilahi Paki says is given to you at your very beginning, come through and let your ALOHA join with the ALOHA of the collective to bring about healing.” 

DAILY VIRTUAL PIKO

At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.


UPCOMING EVENT

Wed, Feb 7, 2024, 5:30 – 6:30 PMKindergarten Preview in the Cafe
RSVP here
Sat, Feb 10, 2024, 8 – 11 AMWindward District Science & Engineering Fair: Public Viewing & Awards Ceremony at WCC
Mon, Feb 12, 2024Teacher Institute Day – No Students
Tue, Feb 13, 2024, 4:30 – 5:30 PMWellness Meeting
Join by Zoom
Mon, Feb 18, 2024Presidents Day Holiday – No School
Wed, Feb 28, 2024 5 – 6 PMSchool Community Council Meeting
Join by Zoom

HAʻAHAʻA, LISTENING AND LEARNING

ow, lowly, minimum, humble, degraded, meek, unpretentious, modest, unassuming, unobtrusive; lowness, humility.

Pukui, Mary Kawena, Hawaiian dictionary

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: HAʻAHAʻA

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes, as an educator, the hardest thing to do is listen and learn. I am often in teaching mode, with lessons and stories at the ready. Confused about something? Got a question or a problem to solve? I am here to help. However, not every question can or should be immediately responded to with an answer and nor should a solution be doled out for every problem.

For example, when a student is referred to the office for doing harm to a classmate, in the past I would’ve made assumptions about what happened and how to treat the situation. Often, I’d project my own childhood experiences onto this student. I’d assume they’d acted thoughtlessly and a punitive consequence would serve as a lasting deterrent. However, I was not someone who was frequently referred to office and I possessed enough self-control that I could keep myself from acting out thoughtlessly…at least in school. I remained focused throughout the school day and rarely disrupted class. I responded well to reward systems, collecting bookmarks and stickers for sitting still, answering questions and memorizing facts. In the past 11 years, my assumptions worked for a few kids. One or two referrals to the office was all it took. For many other kids, suspensions, detentions, and lectures barely seemed to sink in. 

It took some time and training before it sunk in: that every kid is different and none are the same as me. Some kids come to school not knowing where they’ll be sleeping that evening. Others are estranged from their parents and have little contact with them. Still others have anxieties lingering from the pandemic that launch them into a constant fight or flight mentality. These student do not respond as I would to any of the punishments I might issue. In fact, for some, being suspended may reward their behavior because it temporarily removes them from whatever is stressing them out in school. 

I learned that if I truly want to teach students how to be successful and thrive in the world long-term, then I need to take a different approach and that approach starts with listening to them. I first need to be haʻahaʻa, empty myself of any preconceptions and judgements. This allows me to authentically be there for the student and listen to what they are struggling with that prompted the harmful behavior. Once I understand, only then can I design lessons tailored to the situation and help the student learn how to avoid the behavior in the future as well as make things right in the present. 

Starting with listening that’s filled with empathy, does not mean students have no consequences. Instead, empathy allows for designing consequences that are long lasting. These consequences help the students realize how they are causing harm to themselves and others. They are meant to make restitution so that all who have been harmed feel restored. And they teach students strategies to mitigate harming others in the future. Depending on the situation, it may require the student receive counseling and for us to work with the families on a continuous basis. Often, this requires long term work with the student to break bad habits and successfully employ new skills.

Similar to teaching reading or math, some students require different instructional approaches and strategies to address unique challenges. And like teaching those subjects, we reach greater, lasting success when we first listen to the student with haʻahaʻa and then ascertain which approach and strategy to use.


5 PURSUITS of LŌKAHI

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: The Legend of the Beaver’s Tail written by Stephanie Shaw and illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: This book is based on sacred stories passed down by the Ojibwe people in Canada meant to teach the values of their culture. Talk with your kupuna about stories that your ancestors passed down to share the values of your culture.
  • SKILLS: The author uses the word “legend” in the title of this book. What genre of literature would legend fall into? BONUS: Hear more traditional telling of the story by Anishinaabemowin educator Barbara Nolan in Ojibway, with English subtitles
  • INTELLECT: Research beavers and how they contribute to a balanced ecosystem.
  • CRITICALITY: Some humans consider beavers a nuisance when their property is affected by flooding or gnawing of trees. Given the beaver’s positive contributions to the environment, how might humans live in harmony with beavers?
  • JOY: Build a beaver dam.

HOʻOMAIKAʻI ʻANA

Please join us in congratulating Lauren Collier, one of our special education teachers, and  Melissa Lee, our preschool teacher, who both achieved National Board Certification. To attain this, Ms. Collier and Ms. Lee underwent a rigorous process of examining their teaching acumen that typically involves over a hundred hours of work beyond the school day. This is a prestigious distinction of which only 6% of teachers in Hawaiʻi hold, including those that teach in private schools. 

MOKULELE REMINDERS

For those that drop-off and pick-up students on Mokulele, please remember to show aloha to our neighbors. Please do not park in the middle of the road as this creates a major safety hazard for both children entering/exiting your car as well as those traveling on Mokulele. Further, the roads across and mauka of our school are privately owned by the residents of Parkway. They asked me to relay this plea not to park, stop or use their roads as turn-arounds.  Please show aloha and mahalo for your kokua.

CONTINUED PRACTICES:

NOʻAHUNA OF ALOHA

See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

Join us in letting “that light, that divine inspiration that Aunty Pilahi Paki says is given to you at your very beginning, come through and let your ALOHA join with the ALOHA of the collective to bring about healing.” 

DAILY VIRTUAL PIKO

At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Mon, Dec 18, 2023, 5 PMSchool Community Council Meeting
Join by Zoom
Wed, Dec 20, 2023Winter Classroom Paina
end school at 2:05 PM (switch with 12/21)
Thur, Dec 21, 20238:30 – 9:15 AM Winter Songfest 1st Show (for those with an eldest student is in grades K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd)

9:30 – 10:15 am Winter Songfest 2nd show: (for those with an eldest student is in grades 4th, 5th, and 6th)

end school at 1:15 PM (switch with 12/20)
End of Quarter 2
Dec 22, 2023 – Jan 5, 2024Winter Break Intersession – no school
Mon, Jan 8, 2024Waiver Day #3 – No Students

THE SILVER LINING IN BEING HAʻAHAʻA

Reduplication of haʻa #1; low, lowly, minimum, humble, degraded, meek, unpretentious, modest, unassuming, unobtrusive; lowness, humility

Pukui, Mary Kawena, Hawaiian dictionary : Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian 

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: HAʻAHAʻA

Seven years ago, we started celebrating failure and making mistakes on the last day of 1st quarter which we called Silver Linings Day. Inspired by Finland’s National Day of Failure, we wanted all students and our entire school community to know that it’s okay to fail and make mistakes. Failing and making mistakes is normal. Everyone at some point fails. No one who has achieved greatness made it without at some point failing and making mistakes. 

Despite this fact, many of us still allow a fear of failing/making a mistake to hold us back from trying or to get angry when things don’t come out as we wanted. Some students even get so down on themselves that they develop a belief that they are incapable of learning. They call themselves “stupid” and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, stopping them from absorbing what’s being taught. This belief can even spur students to act out in class when they perceive someone is calling them out for being behind.

Even adults experience this fear of failing/making a mistake. This weekend, a retired president of a prestigious private school told me a story about how during the 90s, a third of his teachers were resistant to use laptops, a “new” technology at the time. One of his teachers, an accomplished and well-loved educator, told him “Please don’t make me look stupid in front of the kids.”

So, every year, I humble myself, confront my fear of public humiliation, and learn something new. I then show students a video of my attempts with the aim that they will be inspired to approach learning with the same humility. After all, our mission is to have all embrace learning which means embrace a tolerance for making mistakes. Only by acknowledging them, reflecting on why they happened and improving upon them, can we authentically learn.

This year, we celebrate Silver Linings Day on Friday, October 6. On that day, I will release a video documenting a new thing I attempted to learn, featuring my mom, Grandma Sadie. Can’t wait? Here’s a snack: my first Silver Linings Day video from 2017.


5 PURSUITS of HAʻAHAʻA

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: Mistakes Are How I Learn written by Kiara Wilson. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Ask a parent or kupuna to share about a mistake they’ve made while getting skilled at something.
  • SKILLS: This story uses a rhyming scheme similar to prose or a poem. Write a rhyming poem about something you learned and the mistakes you made along the way.
  • INTELLECT: The book is about developing a Growth Mindset. Watch this video about what is a Growth Mindset and create a Bubble Map with adjectives related to having a Growth Mindset.
  • CRITICALITY: What are phrases (or affirmations) you can say to yourself to remind you to embrace your mistakes as a part of learning? What are phrases you can share with others who may be having a difficult time overcoming their mistakes?
  • JOY: Enjoy this song featuring Janelle Monáe about The Power of Yet.

MAHALO: SCHOOL COMMUNITY COUNCIL OFFICERS

Mahalo to parent Chelsea Pang for volunteering to serve as our School Community Council Chairperson. Mahalo also to community member Vaughn Tokashiki for serving as vice chair. Both play a vital role in helping our school through policy making, advising school administration, and developing school improvement initiatives. We also owe a debt of thanks to parent Shawna Kobayashi, our out-going chairperson.

MAHALO: CAMPUS BEAUTIFICATION DAY

This past Saturday nearly 100 volunteers comprised of our students, their parents, members of the community, the Castle High Key Club, our military partners, and members of our staff gathered to show akahai to our school. Mahalo piha to each and every one of them for leaving our campus much more beautiful and well cared for. Special thanks goes to 1st grade teacher Mrs. Kresge, Head Custodian Mr. Wali, and our Parent Community Network Coordinator Dee, for organizing this huge effort.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

We are continuing to Wear Pink for Maui on Wednesdays and invite all to continue joining us in letting “that light, that divine inspiration that Aunty Pilahi Paki says is given to you at your very beginning, come through and let your ALOHA join with the ALOHA of the collective to bring about healing.” 

DAILY VIRTUAL PIKO – please join us

The Daily Piko helps us become centered and ready to learn. It helps us get on the same page, hearing one message of focus for the day and the week. If you are able, we begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesday when we conduct the piko in-person.

https://hidoe.zoom.us/j/89410873182?pwd=dERWOEs2SldQdW5aZHpDM29vdWdhdz09

UPCOMING EVENTS

Oct 2-6, 2023KES Book Fair
To donate to build your child’s classroom library, here is a link to our teachers’ eWallets.
Fri, Oct 6, 2023Silver Linings Day
End of Quarter 1
Oct 9 – 13, 2023Fall Break Intersession – no school
Oct 23 – Nov 3, 2023Parent-Teacher Conferences
early release 12:45 PM daily
Wed, Nov 1, 2023Complex PC Day – No Students
Nov 6 – 9, 2023WASC Accreditation Full Visit
Wed, Dec 20, 2023Winter Classroom Paina
end school at 2:05 PM (switch with 12/21)
Thur, Dec 21, 2023Winter Songfest
end school at 1:15 PM (switch with 12/20)
End of Quarter 2
Dec 22, 2023 – Jan 5, 2024Winter Break Intersession – no school
Mon, Jan 8, 2024Waiver Day #3 – No Students