Assets School K-8 Principal Blog

“I’m Doing GREAT!”

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Last week I wrote about the Assets Enrichment Program.  Enrichment with a capital “E.” This week, I want to share some other activities from the past two weeks that were not part of any formal program but were undoubtedly enriching our students’ learning experience.

photo 1As I was writing my blog this week, I kept thinking about a comment one student shared as he walked on campus. I’m usually positioned in the drop-off lane each morning so I can greet students as they exit their cars or buses. Most students smile and offer me a very pleasant, albeit sometimes sleepy, “good morning.” This week though, one young man replied to my question of “how are you?” with an enthusiastic “I’m doing GREAT!” as he skipped past me. The reply, coupled with his lively jaunt through the front gate, was so effervescent and cheerful that it took me by surprise. “Wow….. Well said” I thought. This student also happens to be new to Assets this year. His disposition that morning was in stark contrast to the discouraged young man we first met during the summer.  I’m hoping this new or rekindled joy never fades!

Through writing and reflecting back on the last couple days, I can understand why this student, and so many of his peers, are excited to get to school each day!

From the World of Allwyn……

Select classes from 5th grade through high school we were excited to welcome Thomas Q. Miller, author and uncle of two Assets students, to our library on August 28th.  Mr. Miller was visiting from the United Kingdom and was kind enough to stop by campus to share his book, The Cradle of the Gods, which is the first book in The Soulstone Prophecy series. As you can see, the students’ review consisted of high marks! Mahalo to our wonderful librarian, Ms. Cindy Wagner, for coordinating such fun and informative literary visitors.

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The response to Ms. Cindy asking who wanted to be the first to sign out Mr. Miller’s book….

Poetry Slams Comes to Assets

Class 62 in the middle school had a special treat this past Friday, as they hosted slam poet, “Mighty” Mike McGee in their room.  Mr. McGee has previously won the National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Championship and the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship. What a great experience for these students. How often do you get the opportunity to interact and have a private lesson from someone with such impressive bona fides in their field!  Mighty Mike shared some poetry with the students and engaged the class in a writing activity. In addition to sharing his own superhero story, an assignment that Class 62 just finished, Mighty Mike taught a lesson on hyperbole and judged a rap battle between students. The room was full of laughter and creative language. I think this was an experience the students will not soon forget!

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The Fun  Story of a Chinese Folk Song at Assets

Class 43’s theme for this year is “One World, Our Home.” The class is studying our global community through stories, art, music, movement, and the power of play.  For September, Mr. Castello and Ms. Cat are creating ways for the students to learn about China.  Since the Mid-Autumn Festival of the full moon occurs on Monday, September 8th, the students have made lanterns resembling the full moon.  They have also listened to the legends of Chang-E and Hou Yi, who are associated with the festival, and used water-colors to paint an image of Chang-E on the moon.  Additionally, the children are learning a Chinese folk song (Bai Lang Tao-Tao), a fishing song. The song, which we are learning in Chinese, uses movement and a combination of instruments in easy-to-play patterns to become a great multisensory experience. The Bai Lang Tao-Tao arrangement the class is learning comes from Dr. Chet-Yeng Loong, who serves as the head of Music Education at the University fo Hawai’i at Mānoa.

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In a delightful coincidence, Dr. Loong just so happened to be visiting with me on campus Friday!  During our tour, we stopped by Class 43, so Mr. Castello was able to share with Dr. Loong what the students were up to and how her workshop had served as an inspiration for their work.  Upon learning this, Dr. Loong stayed at Assets longer than we had scheduled so she could spend some quality time with Class 43.  What a gift! Dr. Loong is one of those natural teachers. The instant she stands before a class, she has the students completely engaged and having fun. It was a real pleasure to witness.  She shared a story with the children about the first time she heard Bai Lang Tao-Tao, and then led them in the song.  She also had the students counting in Chinese and congratulated them in Chinese on their lovely singing and counting.  It was one of those unscripted, spontaneous moments of learning that highlight the finest of school.  We all, children and adult, learned much from our impromptu lesson. Mahalo Dr. Loong!

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Set, Spike, Dive

The Assets sports season has officially begun. Our intermediate girls volleyball team, consisting of both middle and high school students, started two Saturdays ago with victories over both Damien and Ho’ala School.  Unfortunately, our Lady Admirals lost a heartbreaker this past Saturday in their first match against Lanakila Baptist. They bounced back in Game 2 though as they defeated University Lab School.  The ladies enter next week’s matches with a stellar 3-1 record. Even better than the record, the ladies are playing hard and providing us with many exciting moments. Mahalo to the Assets coaches — Coach Carey, Coach Hoku, and Ms. King for all their work teaching strategy, skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship.

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I also want to thank all the parents and faculty who have supported the team by attending games the past two weeks. We have a fabulous cheering section!  A special mahalo to Ms. Cat and Ms. Shin for coordinating our new Admirals of Aloha student spirit squad! I think their signs, cheers, and encouragement have inspired the team and only increased the energy on the court.

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The games are a fun way to spend a Saturday morning or early afternoon with our community, and I hope to see you at one of the remaining weekends.  If you can find all Assets athletic events here.  Go Admirals!

What an incredible two weeks. We are lucky to have dedicated educators who work so hard to bring our students enriching guests and experiences. I can’t wait to see what opportunities will emerge over the next two weeks!  To echo the words of a buoyant sixth grader, indeed, I think we are “doing GREAT!”

With aloha,

Ryan

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