Essays

Our Shells, Or What Happened When the Octopus Left Its Shell - 04.25.2022
     "We learn about people’s beliefs and investigate our own;     
     we think about and talk about how people in power try to 
     keep that power. We grapple with the unkindess of the world 
     and our kuleana, our reciprocal responsibility, in the face 
     of that. And when one student is talking about how they 
     feel marginalized because they are queer, or because they 
     have an accent, or they are from the Marshall Islands, 
     another is numbing themselves with their phone."

Stop, Look, and Listen: Kilo - 02.22.2022
     "We can start by reading the stories told in the geology of   
     our place, and the mythology of our place, the indigenous 
     and western science of our place, the current events and 
     dramas of our place, and all the other stories we can find, 
     in the way the leaves move when the wind blows this way 
     instead of that or the way the water and shore looks as the 
     tide rises on a full moon instead of an ʻole moon."

Where Learning Happens - 01.27.2022
     "He is really an ambassador of what kuleana is, what     
     building relationships is, and the ocean...It’s not about 
     reading, it’s just natural, and now he can bring up these 
     examples, and his classmates are like, “Brah, why are you 
     the one getting the A?” And he’s like, “I don’t know, it’s 
     just…writing what I know.” It’s a testament to where 
     learning happens.

As We Find the Words - 12.21.21
     "Whether we are trying to describe the feeling of touching    
     hands with someone electric or we are trying to remember a 
     calculus equation, when we are forced to struggle to find 
     the words, we discover more than we knew before."

Professional Learning for Creative Practice - 08.2021
     "Learning this way underscores our responsibility to give 
     credence to imagination, to believe and to show our    
     students that being curious is important, that it is in 
     fact key to growing and learning and becoming empathetic 
     people."

What is a Text? - 09.09.2021
     "I eventually push it too far, trying to convince the 
     students that the desks they are sitting in are texts, 
     built to communicate a certain belief system, to manipulate 
     students into behaving in a specific way, purposefully 
     designed to communicate to students that they need face 
     this way, they need to work and listen and write right 
     here, feet on the ground, separate from neighbors.
Simple Formative Assessment - 06.13.2021
     "So, I decided to just ask my students one simple question:   
     What did you learn this week? I am not sure students are  
     used to being asked this question, but it is a powerful 
     self reflective tool, a way for students to prod and track 
     their own learning, as well as a perfect way for me to see 
     the students’ growth while giving regular, purposeful, 
     useful feedback.
Questioning Our Most Dearly Held Beliefs - 12.17.2020
     "I understand time moves in one direction for most of  
     us, and I understand we live in a public education world 
     that accepts notions of present-ness and timeliness as 
     hallmarks of learning, but can we challenge these 
     beliefs? Can we understand what the river learned about 
     time, that it is at the source and the ocean at the same 
     time?"
Curiosity as a Planning Tool - 10.28.2020
     "And I understood in this connection a way to make so    
      much of our country’s struggles with race real for my 
      students, who routinely say racism doesn’t exist in 
      Hawaiʻi Nei. Now Joseph Kekuku became a path to make 
      Frederick Douglass’s struggles real, to make Breonna 
      Taylor’s murder matter, for example, to these children 
      in the Pacific."   
So, What is Left When the World Shuts Down? - 08.2020 
from "Educating During the Early Weeks of the 2020 Pandemic"
     "...my days of nothing start, as they always have,   
      around 5:15 am, with a cup of coffee before the rest of 
      my house wakes up. In the stillness, I sip and I read 
      and I research and I constantly craft lesson ideas, 
      collect bits of text or song or art, for my students, 
      for my wife, for my colleagues, for my kids, for my own 
      mindʻs curiosity."
Using Bodies to Develop and Express Ideas - 07.27.2020
from "Movement Helps Make 'Learning Joyful and Magical'"
      "We rarely stayed in one place for more than 10 minutes 
      and we rarely did the same type of learning work for 
      more than 15-20 minutes at a time. The simple protocols 
      in response to that first horrible week of school 13 
      years ago made a great difference but didn't take us 
      all the way. I knew there was some way I could take 
      movement further and make the movement itself part of 
      the learning, the way I know students learn by writing, 
      by talking, by reading. I didn't want it to just be a 
      break between learning activities but I couldn't quite 
      figure it out."
The 'Magic'Teachers Need from Their Principals - 10.9.2019
      "Teachers are magicians, conjuring kindness and empathy    
      as we create spaces of togetherness that are safe for 
      vulnerability and risk-taking.

      When we open our classrooms at the end of each summer,     
      we...find our students—Ali, Kai, Franz, Junnel—right 
      where they are, and we accept them without wishing they 
      were different. This welcome, we know, is the first 
      step toward building trust and community, just one 
      small moment among many."




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