Assets School K-8 Principal Blog

Footloose and Moving West

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Here at Assets, we had another week full of exciting activities for both students and parents. The week was highlighted by professional dance workshops, a Lewis and Clark Museum walk, and parent Open House.

Everybody Cut Footloose…

IMG_0427This past was National Dance Week Hawaii, which featured top national and local instructors leading master dance classes and performances across the island.  Our very own Performing Arts teacher, Ms. Mandy Harpstrite, served as a co-director for this exciting series of events.  Assets School was able to take advantage of this special opportunity by hosting two artists-in-residence on campus Tuesday and Wednesday.   We were fortunate to have Marjory Smarth and Sekou Heru lead three workshops, which enabled every K-8 student to participate. Both Ms. Marjory and Mr. Sekou are accomplished professional dancers and choreographers who have performed with major musical acts and dance tours.  Best of all, Ms. Marjory and Mr. Sekou were fabulous teachers.  They taught each student group choreographed dance moves, led a dance circle where students could show off any dance moves they wanted, and sat with students to share more about themselves and answer questions. Our students asked great questions, such as, what their inspiration is for dancing, when they started dancing, and where their favorite place in the world to dance is. Each workshop was full of learning and allowed both students and teachers to get up and move!

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Lewis & Clark Expedition

Our 5th and 6th grade teachers and students have been studying the United States’ westward expansion all year.  They demonstrated this learning on Thursday when the 5th/6th hallway and classrooms were transformed into a museum. Parents were able to see a sneak peak of this at Open House on Wednesday evening. Each classroom focused on a different animal species that explorers might have encountered on their expeditions west.  Within each room, each student was assigned a specific animal to research.  The five species that students studied were mammals, invertebrates, fish, birds, and reptiles. On Friday, all of the animal projects were put on display and students rotated through each room, learning from their peers and finding answers to their museum “quiz.” Some of the animal models were so realistic looking, you had to look twice! It was fun on Open House night to see so many parents who did not have a 5th/6th grade child spend time in that hallway to check out the student work. Congratulations to 5th/6th on such an impressive exhibit!

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K-6 Open House

IMG_0875Mahalo to all the K-6 parents who were able to attend our Open House on Thursday night. Open House is a continuation of a year-long dialogue that the school has with parents.  While parent-teacher conferences are a chance to learn more about your child’s goals and growth, Open House is an opportunity to spend an hour in his or her shoes. It’s a chance to learn more about the classroom’s curriculum and culture by experiencing it for a short time. I was able to visit each classroom for a few minutes and was so happy by what I saw.  I saw that children often left a welcome video, drawing or letter for their parents, and that parents in turn left a note or piece of artwork for their child to discover Thursday morning. I witnessed parents participating in a “morning meeting circle” that so many of our students start their day with. I saw some parents doing a scientific method activity while others were dissecting!  Multiple classrooms showed parents what a multisensory structured language (MSL) reading or math lesson might look and feel like.  This is important because MSL intervention is powerful but can be very difficult to understand without experiencing it.  Regardless of how long parents have been at Assets, I hope everyone was able to go home Wednesday having learned something interesting, and better able to understand their child’s learning community.

Mahalo to our teachers for the hours of preparation they put into developing a meaningful Open House experience for parents. I look forward to seeing Middle School parents this Wednesday evening.

With aloha,

Ryan

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