Alakai O Kauai Social Emotional Learning

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Social-Emotional Learning

In our approach to education at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we emphasize methods that foster learners’ social-emotional learning. Social-emotional learning is the process through which learners understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, and establish and maintain positive relationships to make responsible decisions.

We believe it’s vital to help learners develop skills such as social awareness, self-management, regulation of emotions, and self-awareness so they can weave these abilities through every facet of their lives. When emotional intelligence is nurtured and developed, it can inspire creativity and increased engagement.

Over the coming weeks, we will explore nine pillars of social-emotional learning (SEL) at Alaka’i O Kaua’i:

  • Social intelligence
  • Optimism
  • Gratitude
  • Purpose
  • Growth mind-set
  • Self-control
  • Curiosity
  • Zest
  • Grit

But why is SEL so important?

To adapt to an increasingly globalized economy, education must emphasize more than rote knowledge. We believe learners should be empathetic, critical thinkers who thoughtfully engage with the world around them. Modern employers prize these skills in the workplace, and research suggests employees with more highly developed social-emotional strengths earn more and are more productive.

Additionally, focusing on non-cognitive skills may further improve reading, writing, and mathematics performance in kids, according to the nonpartisan think tank Economic Policy Institute.

We measure and report SEL progress as part of every project, individualized learning plan goal, and Report of Progress. We have also developed SEL and academic rigor rubrics that add a well-balanced approach to academics and reflective practice for facilitators, learners, families, and administrators. Other elements of our SEL implementation, practice, and assessment include our Learner-Led Conferences (LLCs), Presentations of Learning (POLs), Passion Projects, Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs), Advisory Program, Morning Meetings, learner-led ambassador groups, and restorative approaches to discipline.

PBL expert and iLEAD partner Thom Markham summed up why social-emotional learning is so vital. “Navigating a changing world demands a communicative, creative, and collaborative person with a flexible, empathetic, resilient, and persistent temperament,” he said. “It’s time to make a change to our mind-set and be far more intentional about teaching the dispositions and personality attributes that lead to better work ethic, more engagement, improved relationships, a greater sense of well-being — and better projects.”

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i, our goal is nothing less.

Pictured: Alaka’i O Kaua’i, 2019-20 school year.

Podcasts

Podcasts Are Effective Learning Tool In Class, At Home

Podcasts have become extremely popular. But they are not only popular with adults. They can be very popular with young learners as well. Podcasts can provide new subject matter that not only keeps learners more engaged, but also allows them to experience exemplary communication outside traditional texts. Podcast topics are endless: fictional stories, educational and inspirational TED talks, current events/world news, history, sports, pop culture/entertainment, and investigative journalism. Podcasts are engaging and expose learners to a wide variety of methods of communication, including narration, casual dialogue, scripted dialogue, and interviews. There are many worthwhile podcasts available for learners! We have listed ones that are highly recommended and cover a wide range of topics. There is something for everyone! Here you go:

Grades K-5

Reading Bug Adventures

Wow in the World!

Stories Podcast

Circle Round

Noodle Loaf

Brains On!

Forever Ago

Story Pirates

But Why?

KidNuz

Saturday Cereal Bowl

Grades 6-8

RadioLab

Forever Ago

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Start Cooking

Science Friday

Pants on Fire

Six Minutes

Flyest Fables

Eleanor Amplified

Book Club for Kids

Grades 9-12

Start-Up Nation

RadioLab

Science Friday

DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar

History of the World Podcast

Start Cooking

NPR,This I Believe

Killer Innovations

99% Invisible

TED Talks For Parents

TED Talks For Parents

TED Talks are a terrific resource for learning. They are often entertaining, but they also open our minds to new ideas and life experiences. We have compiled a short list of some of our favorite talks for parents. Take a listen to these when you can:

Sir Ken Robinson,”Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Rita Pierson, “Every Kid Needs a Champion”

Social psychologist Sonia Livingstone, “Parenting in the Digital Age

Temple Grandin, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds”

Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

Julie Lythcott-Haims, “How to Raise Successful Kids — Without Over-Parenting”

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Honoring Director DJ Adams Alakai O Kauai

Honoring Our Director DJ Adams

Honoring Mr. AdamsOn Friday, October 8th, Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School honored our Director DJ Adams for his tireless dedication to helping make our school a special place where learners can thrive. October is National Principals Month. The staff served a lovely homemade breakfast and presented Mr. Adams with a plaque and a gift card to a local restaurant. Mr. Adams gave a lovely speech about the importance of all of us working together and how far we’ve come. It was a surprise to him and well deserved! On behalf of the entire Alaka’i O Kaua’i learning community, we thank you Mr. DJ Adams for all that you do. #ThankAPrincipal

 

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Charter School Culture: Real-World Experiences

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School emphasizes 21st-century skills and preparing learners for the work world, and tangible experiences help elevate the learning process.

Examples include our third graders’ podcast; our DreamUp to Space challenges, where teams of learners come up with scientific research projects that launch to the International Space Station for testing; or our living history programs, where learners re-create scenes from history.

Real-world experience is at the heart of what can make project-based learning (PBL) truly exciting, challenging, and rewarding for learners. When PBL is infused with real-world experiences, learners develop crucial skills while they’re still in school. Additionally, these experiences can provide learners with deeper insights into career areas they may want to pursue. Furthermore, kids find that their success isn’t defined merely by a grade but by the experience they gain through the process.

Finally, learning that incorporates real-world experience helps learners become familiar with professional environments. Besides learning the subject content, learners develop skills crucial in the work world, including clear and timely communication, thinking critically, problem-solving, and time management.

As part of a well-rounded PBL curriculum, real-world experiences are essential to Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s mission.

TED Talks For Parents

TED Talks For Parents

TED Talks are a terrific resource for learning. They are often entertaining, but they also open our minds to new ideas and life experiences. We have compiled a short list of some of our favorite talks for parents. Take a listen to these when you can:

Sir Ken Robinson,”Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Rita Pierson, “Every Kid Needs a Champion”

Social psychologist Sonia Livingstone, “Parenting in the Digital Age

Temple Grandin, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds”

Angela Lee Duckworth, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”

Julie Lythcott-Haims, “How to Raise Successful Kids — Without Over-Parenting”

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

21st Century Skills Alakai O Kauai

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Building 21st-Century Skills

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, what’s important is not only ensuring learners are receiving an academically well-rounded education but also that they have the tools they need to succeed in an ever-changing world. That’s why we place a high priority on 21st-century skills.

These skills are essential in a worldwide market that’s moving faster by the day, and they funnel to a key focus: a person’s ability to enact and/or adapt to change.

Why? Because we live in a world where long-established industries are now regularly disrupted with new ideas and methodologies. Kids are preparing for work in an era when nothing is guaranteed, and it’s important to be adaptable.

When we speak about 21st-century skills, we’re talking about those things that help learners adapt and thrive in a world that is increasingly more dependent on technology as well as a global economy and workplace. The 12 essential 21st-century skills include the following:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Information literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Technology literacy
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Productivity
  • Social skills

Through individualized instruction and project-based learning, we celebrate and foster each child’s individuality and support them in discovering their highest potential. We believe each child will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to achieve their fullest potential in preparation for college and the demands of the 21st-century workplace.

Succeeding in the 21st century calls for skill sets that go beyond the basics mandated by densely packed education standards and what’s evaluated on standardized tests. Learners also need to build skills sets that will last a lifetime. To solve problems in our complex, fast-changing world, learners must become nimble, creative thinkers who can work well with others.

In line with the 12 skills identified above, there are four Cs Alaka’i O Kaua’i focuses on instilling in learners, as identified by the Partnership for 21st-Century Skills:

  • Collaboration: Learners are able to work effectively with diverse groups and exercise flexibility in making compromises to achieve common goals.
  • Creativity: Learners are able to generate and improve on original ideas and also work creatively with others.
  • Communication: Learners are able to communicate effectively across multiple media and for various purposes.
  • Critical thinking: Learners are able to analyze, evaluate, and understand complex systems and apply strategies to solve problems.

It is critical to keep in mind that those 4Cs don’t replace academic learning goals; rather, they complement and enhance them.

Since Alaka’i O Kaua’i ’s inception, we have been committed to helping develop well-rounded kids, those who are lifelong learners empowered to lead and succeed in a changing world. By incorporating 21st-century skills, we’re making sure they’re ready for anything they face in their journey.

Pictured: Alaka’i O Kaua’i classroom, February 2020.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Project Based Learning Alakai O Kauai

5 Ways PBL Facilitates Lifelong Learning

We are hearing more and more each day about the changing world of work and what type of skills will define the success of today’s students and future professionals. Outside of education, it’s often called upskilling. In education, we often refer to lifelong learning. Either way, experts agree that an individual’s ability to learn, continuously and adaptively, may define one’s success more than any other employability skills in this ever-changing, tech-infused and globalized economy.

Educators have always professed the priority of creating lifelong learners. But what does this really look like and how can we create learning environments that truly foster this? Project-based learning is poised well to inherently teach learners to become persistent and growth-oriented lifelong learners, among many other advantages.

How does PBL do this? Well, it’s at the core of how PBL functions. Here are a few of those ways:

Real-World Learning

First and foremost, PBL focuses on learners addressing real-world challenges, issues or problems. This immediately creates both relevance and authenticity. The relevancy of working on work that matters demonstrates to students that their school work is related to what others in the real world do and how it applies to their futures, skill development and agency. We talk about problem solving as a foundational skill and it is. However, the problems need to be real. We don’t have to solve them, but students have to continually try to tackle them. This is what all of us do in our professional lives and how new opportunities, jobs, innovations and more advance each day. PBL’s focus on authenticity (or being real world), as a core design principle, creates this real-world learning environment. A project can be authentic in several ways and often in combination. It can have an authentic context, it can involve the use of real-world processes and tools, it can have a real impact on others, and a project can have personal authenticity when it speaks to learners’ own concerns, interests, cultures, identities and issues in their lives.

Sustained Inquiry

This is a core design principle in high quality PBL. To inquire is to seek information or to investigate; it’s a more active, in-depth process than just looking something up in a book or online. The inquiry process takes time, which means a gold standard project lasts more than a few days. In PBL, inquiry is iterative; when confronted with a challenging problem or question, students ask questions, find resources to help answer them, then ask deeper questions, and the process repeats until a satisfactory solution or answer is developed. Projects can incorporate different information sources, mixing the traditional idea of research, reading a book or searching a website, with more real world, field-based interviews with experts, service providers and users. Learners also might inquire into the needs of the users of a product they’re creating in a project, or the audience for a piece of writing or multimedia.

Public Opportunities

In this pursuit of creating lifelong learners, we need to allow learners to experience the true power of learning and the real impact of their work. This is where producing public work, seen by multiple audiences or even users, comes into play.

When people see or even use our work, it creates significance in us. It means one’s work matters. It means learning matters. It means we matter. When audiences see, appreciate, experience, engage in and even possibly benefit from our work we naturally are more engaged, more likely to see the true power of learning. Ultimately, sharing our work publicly provides the opportunity for one to develop their personal brand. It’s the process of sharing one’s high-quality work and getting feedback. This is what we’ll do professionally for the rest of our lives. Lifelong work produces lifelong learning. We buy-in, we have conversations, we consider others’ opinions and ideas; all this while gaining confidence, portfolio, skills, a resume and valuable networking opportunities.

Student Voice & Choice

We hear words like agency, ownership, advocacy, leadership, git and mindset. These are great. And these are really traits of a lifelong learner. But how do we create the environment and means to make these a reality? Having a say in a project creates a sense of ownership in learners; they care more about the project and work harder. If learners are not able to use their judgment when solving a problem and answering a driving question, the project just feels like doing an exercise or following a set of directions. Learners can have input and (some) control over many aspects of a project, from the questions they generate to the resources they will use to find answers to their questions, to the tasks and roles they will take on as team members, to the products they will create. More advanced learners may go even further and select the topic and nature of the project itself; they can write their own driving question and decide how they want to investigate it, demonstrate what they have learned, and how they will share their work. High-quality projects also allow students to assume real roles and responsibilities in the production of their work. Think of things like project coordinator, media coordinator, tech coordinator or dozens of other roles. We don’t create roles for roles’ sake, but rather to move work forward efficiently and allow those involved to specialize a bit (become experts).

The Power of Learning (To Love What You Do)

We’ve all heard the saying that if you “love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This may be the most powerful aspect of deeper learning like PBL. Facilitators have always wanted their learners to love learning for learning’s sake. But our traditional system has focused learners more on grades, points or even punitive approaches vs. training them to love learning. PBL, done well, creates the opportunity for learners to focus on the work, the challenge and even the final product. All of these, as well as the opportunity to engage with their peers, their community and the larger world, focus them on the true power of learning. The impact and significance of our work is what drives all of us professionally throughout our lives. When learners produce high-quality and professional projects that are experienced or used by others, addressing real-world issues and products like that of their professional counterparts, they too have that awakening, the internal and external factors that drive us to work, succeed, improve, grow, reach and stretch. We have allowed them to view work and learning differently.

There’s Always More

The beauty of high-quality PBL is that it truly does all the things simultaneously that we think are important in learning. Whether it’s collaboration, metacognition, skill acquisition, social-emotional learning, technology integration, personalized learning or more, PBL can deliver. But with all that being said, nothing may be more important to our learners’ future and sustained success than that of being lifelong learners.

Alakai O Kauai learners in boat on land

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 7 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

So here we are. We’ve explored six of the seven habits and why they’re important to us and our learners at Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School, and hopefully by this point you feel more equipped and empowered to approach your own life and work with clearer focus and vision.

But how do we maintain that energy?

That’s where Habit 7 comes in — Sharpen the Saw. Incorporating the 7 Habits into your life is all about achieving balance. But living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. It’s all up to you. You can renew yourself through relaxation, or you can totally burn yourself out by overdoing everything.

“Sharpen the Saw” means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have — you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples:

  • Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting.
  • Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others.
  • Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching.
  • Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service, etc.

The point is, if we don’t take the time to recharge and renew ourselves regularly, we will burn out and find our efforts stale.

As Dr. Steven Covey said, “Renewal is the principle — and the process — that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”

What that sharpening looks like will vary from person to person. For you, sharpening the saw might mean taking a 10-15-minute walk every day where you can decompress and not focus on day-to-day responsibilities. Or maybe it means better structuring your workweek so on weekends you can focus primarily on family time. Whatever your saw-sharpening looks like, find something that works for you.

As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To make the most of the 7 Habits in improving yourself, your life, and your work, it cannot be a piecemeal effort. Each enhances and strengthens the others. Step by step, find the balance of incorporating each habit — and don’t neglect yourself. Sharpen that saw so that you can truly be your best.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

Project Based Learning Alakai O Kauai

5 Ways PBL Facilitates Lifelong Learning

We are hearing more and more each day about the changing world of work and what type of skills will define the success of today’s students and future professionals. Outside of education, it’s often called upskilling. In education, we often refer to lifelong learning. Either way, experts agree that an individual’s ability to learn, continuously and adaptively, may define one’s success more than any other employability skills in this ever-changing, tech-infused and globalized economy.

Educators have always professed the priority of creating lifelong learners. But what does this really look like and how can we create learning environments that truly foster this? Project-based learning is poised well to inherently teach learners to become persistent and growth-oriented lifelong learners, among many other advantages.

How does PBL do this? Well, it’s at the core of how PBL functions. Here are a few of those ways:

Real-World Learning

First and foremost, PBL focuses on learners addressing real-world challenges, issues or problems. This immediately creates both relevance and authenticity. The relevancy of working on work that matters demonstrates to students that their school work is related to what others in the real world do and how it applies to their futures, skill development and agency. We talk about problem solving as a foundational skill and it is. However, the problems need to be real. We don’t have to solve them, but students have to continually try to tackle them. This is what all of us do in our professional lives and how new opportunities, jobs, innovations and more advance each day. PBL’s focus on authenticity (or being real world), as a core design principle, creates this real-world learning environment. A project can be authentic in several ways and often in combination. It can have an authentic context, it can involve the use of real-world processes and tools, it can have a real impact on others, and a project can have personal authenticity when it speaks to learners’ own concerns, interests, cultures, identities and issues in their lives.

Sustained Inquiry

This is a core design principle in high quality PBL. To inquire is to seek information or to investigate; it’s a more active, in-depth process than just looking something up in a book or online. The inquiry process takes time, which means a gold standard project lasts more than a few days. In PBL, inquiry is iterative; when confronted with a challenging problem or question, students ask questions, find resources to help answer them, then ask deeper questions, and the process repeats until a satisfactory solution or answer is developed. Projects can incorporate different information sources, mixing the traditional idea of research, reading a book or searching a website, with more real world, field-based interviews with experts, service providers and users. Learners also might inquire into the needs of the users of a product they’re creating in a project, or the audience for a piece of writing or multimedia.

Public Opportunities

In this pursuit of creating lifelong learners, we need to allow learners to experience the true power of learning and the real impact of their work. This is where producing public work, seen by multiple audiences or even users, comes into play.

When people see or even use our work, it creates significance in us. It means one’s work matters. It means learning matters. It means we matter. When audiences see, appreciate, experience, engage in and even possibly benefit from our work we naturally are more engaged, more likely to see the true power of learning. Ultimately, sharing our work publicly provides the opportunity for one to develop their personal brand. It’s the process of sharing one’s high-quality work and getting feedback. This is what we’ll do professionally for the rest of our lives. Lifelong work produces lifelong learning. We buy-in, we have conversations, we consider others’ opinions and ideas; all this while gaining confidence, portfolio, skills, a resume and valuable networking opportunities.

Student Voice & Choice

We hear words like agency, ownership, advocacy, leadership, git and mindset. These are great. And these are really traits of a lifelong learner. But how do we create the environment and means to make these a reality? Having a say in a project creates a sense of ownership in learners; they care more about the project and work harder. If learners are not able to use their judgment when solving a problem and answering a driving question, the project just feels like doing an exercise or following a set of directions. Learners can have input and (some) control over many aspects of a project, from the questions they generate to the resources they will use to find answers to their questions, to the tasks and roles they will take on as team members, to the products they will create. More advanced learners may go even further and select the topic and nature of the project itself; they can write their own driving question and decide how they want to investigate it, demonstrate what they have learned, and how they will share their work. High-quality projects also allow students to assume real roles and responsibilities in the production of their work. Think of things like project coordinator, media coordinator, tech coordinator or dozens of other roles. We don’t create roles for roles’ sake, but rather to move work forward efficiently and allow those involved to specialize a bit (become experts).

The Power of Learning (To Love What You Do)

We’ve all heard the saying that if you “love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This may be the most powerful aspect of deeper learning like PBL. Facilitators have always wanted their learners to love learning for learning’s sake. But our traditional system has focused learners more on grades, points or even punitive approaches vs. training them to love learning. PBL, done well, creates the opportunity for learners to focus on the work, the challenge and even the final product. All of these, as well as the opportunity to engage with their peers, their community and the larger world, focus them on the true power of learning. The impact and significance of our work is what drives all of us professionally throughout our lives. When learners produce high-quality and professional projects that are experienced or used by others, addressing real-world issues and products like that of their professional counterparts, they too have that awakening, the internal and external factors that drive us to work, succeed, improve, grow, reach and stretch. We have allowed them to view work and learning differently.

There’s Always More

The beauty of high-quality PBL is that it truly does all the things simultaneously that we think are important in learning. Whether it’s collaboration, metacognition, skill acquisition, social-emotional learning, technology integration, personalized learning or more, PBL can deliver. But with all that being said, nothing may be more important to our learners’ future and sustained success than that of being lifelong learners.

Learning Styles Alakai O Kauai

What is Your Learning Style?

How do you learn best? Learners are often identified as a certain type: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, and each type has some common traits.

Visual learners

  • Learn by seeing and reading information
  • Often like using paper/pencil vs. computer
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Sometimes struggle with oral directions

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners

  • Respond best by doing – drawing, building, moving
  • Often communicate with hand gestures and touching
  • Remember better with movement – drawing, taking notes, building
  • May require frequent breaks to move

Auditory Learners

  • Learn best by listening to discussions, directions, lectures
  • Talk frequently, to self or others
  • Are distracted in noisy environments
  • Uses tone or volume of voice to convey emotions

Which of the three is your preferred method of learning? You are likely a combination but tend to use one style more successfully than the other two. What about your family members – can you guess what type of learner each person is?

There are multiple resources online if you want to take a short quiz to help identify (or confirm) your learning style. You may want to take more than one test and compare the results. Knowing your learning style can help you make better choices when approaching new information. It can also help you understand how other people (like family members) process information.

Project Based Learing

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Project-Based Learning

Spend even just a few moments inquiring about the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi approach to education, and one of the first things you’ll hear about is project-based learning, or PBL. It’s at the core of our approach to school and a proven asset to education.

So what is project-based learning? In PBL, learners actively explore real-world challenges to acquire deeper knowledge of the subject at hand. Research shows that learners increasingly retain and enjoy what they’re learning when PBL is done well.

This educational model helps students learn the valuable collaboration, academic, and problem-solving skills our global economy will demand from them. Through the PBL method, learners tackle engaging projects about real-world issues that require critical thought, inquiry, and synthesis, and culminate in regular Presentations of Learning (or POLs) to their peers, facilitators, community members, and parents.

The PBL model requires learners to research, collaborate, and carefully weigh information and evidence in a nuanced problem-solving environment. It teaches learners to accept feedback, create solutions, and present their findings in a high-performance context — preparing them for the rigors of the 21st-century economy and the challenges of a global world.

PBL provides the following benefits:

  • PBL makes school more engaging: In PBL, students are active, not passive. Projects engage their hearts and minds and provide real-world relevance for learning.
  • PBL improves learning: At the completion of a project, learners understand content more deeply, remember what they learn, and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction. Because of this, students who gain content knowledge with PBL are better able to apply to new situations what they know and can do.
  • PBL builds skills for college, career, and life: Learners are preparing for life in a world where success requires more than basic knowledge and skills. In a project, students learn how to take initiative and responsibility, build confidence, solve problems, work in teams, communicate ideas, and manage themselves more effectively.
  • PBL helps address standards: Common Core and other current education standards emphasize real-world application of knowledge and skills, as well as the development of success skills like critical thinking/problem-solving, collaboration, communication in a variety of media, and speaking and presentation skills. PBL helps learners effectively meet these goals.
  • PBL embraces technology: Kids enjoy using a variety of tech tools that are a perfect fit for PBL. With technology, facilitators and learners not only find resources and information they need; they also collaborate more effectively and connect with experts, partners, and audiences.
  • PBL makes teaching more enjoyable and rewarding: Projects allow facilitators to work closely with active, engaged learners doing high-quality, meaningful work. In many cases, facilitators rediscover the joy of learning alongside kids.
  • PBL connects kids and schools with communities and the real world: Through PBL, learners have opportunities to solve real problems and address actual issues, and as such they learn more about interacting with adults and organizations, are exposed to workplaces, and can identify and develop career interests.

In short, project-based learning is at the core of the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi model because we believe it is at the heart of how kids learn best. Time and again, we’ve seen how PBL helps learners develop academic skills, build leadership skills and character, and lay the foundation for promising careers.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Virtual Reality Lab

Virtual Reality Lab Available

VIRTUAL REALITY LAB

VR is perfect for kids who are thriving in the virtual environment. It offers them a way to gain physical presence. They can go for a walk together, visit an art gallery together, go to the movies and so on and so on.” – Ramon Hamilton, VR Developer, Facilitator

Would your learner/learners be interested in attending a weekly Virtual Reality Lab hosted by WorldOver International (another Maker Learning School)? Lab activities include games, socialization, and exploring WorldOver’s unique VR space — which consists of a nature center, art gallery, movie theater, classrooms, coloring room, and more. The VR Lab is an excellent way for learners to experience the innovative possibilities of virtual reality in an educational setting and help shape the future design of the VR space.

Some things to consider:

  • Each learner would need to purchase a VR headset. The base version of the required headset is the Oculus Quest 2, 128GB version.
  • To use the headsets, each user will also be required to have their own Facebook account. If the user does not have one, a parent account can be used. Alternatively, you can create a new account to be used just for the VR headset. Headsets are directly activated via those Facebook accounts, and there is no workaround at the moment.

WorldOver is excited to offer this opportunity to our learners — if there is enough interest. Please provide contact information to WorldOver and your children’s names and ages. Let’s see if we can make this happen! Send WorldOver an email (info@worldover.org) and they will be in touch with your family.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i learners chalkboard welcome

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 6 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

Whether in the classroom, the workplace, relationships, or life in general, learning to compromise can be an important and helpful tool. However, what if there were a way to even further enrich and strengthen our communication and interactions?

That’s what’s behind Habit #6: Synergize.

Synergy brings into focus the old adage that “two heads are better than one.” Instead of merely striking a compromise, synergy allows us to creatively collaborate with others and find new solutions to problems. The essence of synergy is to value and respect our differences, build on strengths, and compensate for weaknesses.

In Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School culture, when learners are incorporating this habit into their lives, they’re learning to work in groups and building and reinforcing a mind-set that says, “I get along well with others — even people who are different from me.” That lays the foundation to a long-lasting collaborative approach to life in a multicultural and interdependent world.

There are a couple of helpful steps to know if you’re in synergy:

  • You have a change of heart.
  • You feel new energy and excitement.
  • You see things in a new way.
  • You feel that the relationship has transformed.
  • You end up with an idea or a result that’s better than what either of you started with.

One of the most important keys to synergizing is learning to trust, and that trust is built through communication.

Take, for example, these three levels of communication and the associated levels of trust:

  • Defensive communication comes out of low-trust situations. It’s characterized by defensiveness, protectiveness, and legalistic language that prepares for the eventuality that things may go wrong, and that people may become resentful. Such communication isn’t effective and produces only win/lose or lose/lose outcomes.
  • Respectful communication is characterized by honesty, authenticity, and respect that produces a low form of win/win, a compromise where one plus one equals one-and-a-half.
  • Synergistic communication means that one plus one may equal 8, 16, or even 1,600. The situation produced is better than any originally proposed.

When we learn to see our individual differences as strengths instead of weaknesses, we are well on our way to learning to synergize.

Join us next week as we explore the seventh and final habit: Sharpen the Saw.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

Project Based Learing

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Culture: Project-Based Learning

Spend even just a few moments inquiring about the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi approach to education, and one of the first things you’ll hear about is project-based learning, or PBL. It’s at the core of our approach to school and a proven asset to education.

So what is project-based learning? In PBL, learners actively explore real-world challenges to acquire deeper knowledge of the subject at hand. Research shows that learners increasingly retain and enjoy what they’re learning when PBL is done well.

This educational model helps students learn the valuable collaboration, academic, and problem-solving skills our global economy will demand from them. Through the PBL method, learners tackle engaging projects about real-world issues that require critical thought, inquiry, and synthesis, and culminate in regular Presentations of Learning (or POLs) to their peers, facilitators, community members, and parents.

The PBL model requires learners to research, collaborate, and carefully weigh information and evidence in a nuanced problem-solving environment. It teaches learners to accept feedback, create solutions, and present their findings in a high-performance context — preparing them for the rigors of the 21st-century economy and the challenges of a global world.

PBL provides the following benefits:

  • PBL makes school more engaging: In PBL, students are active, not passive. Projects engage their hearts and minds and provide real-world relevance for learning.
  • PBL improves learning: At the completion of a project, learners understand content more deeply, remember what they learn, and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction. Because of this, students who gain content knowledge with PBL are better able to apply to new situations what they know and can do.
  • PBL builds skills for college, career, and life: Learners are preparing for life in a world where success requires more than basic knowledge and skills. In a project, students learn how to take initiative and responsibility, build confidence, solve problems, work in teams, communicate ideas, and manage themselves more effectively.
  • PBL helps address standards: Common Core and other current education standards emphasize real-world application of knowledge and skills, as well as the development of success skills like critical thinking/problem-solving, collaboration, communication in a variety of media, and speaking and presentation skills. PBL helps learners effectively meet these goals.
  • PBL embraces technology: Kids enjoy using a variety of tech tools that are a perfect fit for PBL. With technology, facilitators and learners not only find resources and information they need; they also collaborate more effectively and connect with experts, partners, and audiences.
  • PBL makes teaching more enjoyable and rewarding: Projects allow facilitators to work closely with active, engaged learners doing high-quality, meaningful work. In many cases, facilitators rediscover the joy of learning alongside kids.
  • PBL connects kids and schools with communities and the real world: Through PBL, learners have opportunities to solve real problems and address actual issues, and as such they learn more about interacting with adults and organizations, are exposed to workplaces, and can identify and develop career interests.

In short, project-based learning is at the core of the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi model because we believe it is at the heart of how kids learn best. Time and again, we’ve seen how PBL helps learners develop academic skills, build leadership skills and character, and lay the foundation for promising careers.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Virtual Reality Lab

Virtual Reality Lab Available

VIRTUAL REALITY LAB

VR is perfect for kids who are thriving in the virtual environment. It offers them a way to gain physical presence. They can go for a walk together, visit an art gallery together, go to the movies and so on and so on.” – Ramon Hamilton, VR Developer, Facilitator

Would your learner/learners be interested in attending a weekly Virtual Reality Lab hosted by WorldOver International (another Maker Learning School)? Lab activities include games, socialization, and exploring WorldOver’s unique VR space — which consists of a nature center, art gallery, movie theater, classrooms, coloring room, and more. The VR Lab is an excellent way for learners to experience the innovative possibilities of virtual reality in an educational setting and help shape the future design of the VR space.

Some things to consider:

  • Each learner would need to purchase a VR headset. The base version of the required headset is the Oculus Quest 2, 128GB version.
  • To use the headsets, each user will also be required to have their own Facebook account. If the user does not have one, a parent account can be used. Alternatively, you can create a new account to be used just for the VR headset. Headsets are directly activated via those Facebook accounts, and there is no workaround at the moment.

WorldOver is excited to offer this opportunity to our learners — if there is enough interest. Please provide contact information to WorldOver and your children’s names and ages. Let’s see if we can make this happen! Send WorldOver an email (info@worldover.org) and they will be in touch with your family.

Alakai O Kauai Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 24
We will be hosting our second annual “Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Ninja Warrior” competition on Friday, September 24th for any interested learner. The participants attempt to traverse across an obstacle course on campus that features both of our playgrounds! It is open to any interested keiki in Kindergarten through Grade Six and runs throughout the school day.

Friday, October 1
Wala’au Meeting from 10am – 11am

Wednesday, October 6
School Photos – Photo Spectrum from 9am – 12pm

Wednesday, October 6
No Hoa O’ Alaka’i, Friends of Alaka’i PTN Meeting from 5pm – 6pm

Alakai learners enroll

See what our families are saying about Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Monday Message Alakai O Kauai

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 5 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

They say communication is key, but if we lack understanding in our relationships and interactions, how can we ever hope to truly, clearly communicate?

This week, we’re examining Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

Many of us often seek first to be understood; we want to get our point across. But in doing so, it’s easy to ignore the other person completely, pretend that we’re listening, selectively hear certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. And so, what happens is that we filter everything through our life experiences and decide what someone means before they’ve even finished.

But is that the most effective communication?

Our listening tends to fall into four categories:

  1. Ignoring: We’re not listening at all.
  2. Pretending: We may say “uh-huh, right,” but we’re not really tuned in.
  3. Selective listening: We hear part of what the person says, but the rest of the time we’re distracted.
  4. Attentive listening: We’re actively listening, paying attention but not taking our listening to the ultimate level — empathetic listening.

Dr. Stephen Covey defined empathetic listening as listening with the intent to truly understand. To really understand, we need to get inside another person’s frame of reference, and see the world from their point of view. Our listening also needs to be driven by an authentic desire to understand the other person and to build trust with them.

As part of the Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School educational model, we encourage learners to incorporate the following practices into their communication:

  • I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings.
  • I try to see things from their viewpoints.
  • I listen to others without interrupting.
  • I am confident in voicing my ideas.
  • I look people in the eyes when talking.

When we listen with the intent to understand others, instead of simply with the intent to reply, we begin true communication and relationship-building. Seeking to understand takes kindness; seeking to be understood takes courage. Effectiveness in our communication thrives in a balance of the two.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #6: Synergize.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

Virtual Reality Lab

Virtual Reality Lab Available

VIRTUAL REALITY LAB

VR is perfect for kids who are thriving in the virtual environment. It offers them a way to gain physical presence. They can go for a walk together, visit an art gallery together, go to the movies and so on and so on.” – Ramon Hamilton, VR Developer, Facilitator

Would your learner/learners be interested in attending a weekly Virtual Reality Lab hosted by WorldOver International (another Maker Learning School)? Lab activities include games, socialization, and exploring WorldOver’s unique VR space — which consists of a nature center, art gallery, movie theater, classrooms, coloring room, and more. The VR Lab is an excellent way for learners to experience the innovative possibilities of virtual reality in an educational setting and help shape the future design of the VR space.

Some things to consider:

  • Each learner would need to purchase a VR headset. The base version of the required headset is the Oculus Quest 2, 128GB version.
  • To use the headsets, each user will also be required to have their own Facebook account. If the user does not have one, a parent account can be used. Alternatively, you can create a new account to be used just for the VR headset. Headsets are directly activated via those Facebook accounts, and there is no workaround at the moment.

WorldOver is excited to offer this opportunity to our learners — if there is enough interest. Please provide contact information to WorldOver and your children’s names and ages. Let’s see if we can make this happen! Send WorldOver an email (info@worldover.org) and they will be in touch with your family.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i learners mosaic art ocean turtle

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Whole-Child Development

Last week we introduced the importance of social-emotional learning at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. Social-emotional learning is integral to our whole-child educational approach.

A whole-child mind-set means that we are focused on far more than teaching to tests or holding up state standards as the be-all, end-all of education. We believe in focusing on the whole child and promoting social-emotional learning, because education is about more than test scores.

Whole-child development empowers kids to be creative, engaged citizens. With that in mind, we believe it’s our responsibility to nurture learners’ creative abilities to express themselves, understand others, and navigate complex information so they can confidently solve the problems of an ever-changing world.

So when we say we focus on “whole child” development, what do we mean? We’re talking about an approach to project-based learning that emphasizes the following deeper-learning approaches:

Mastery of Core Academic Content: Learners lay their academic foundation in subjects such as reading, writing, arts, math, and science, understanding essential principles and procedures, recalling facts, and drawing on their knowledge to complete tasks.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Our learners understand how to construct effective arguments using their critical, analytical, and creative skills. They develop the know-how to come up with solutions to complex problems.

Collaboration: Learners embrace teamwork and consider multiple viewpoints to cooperate and achieve shared goals.

Effective Communication: Learners communicate effectively in writing and oral presentations. They structure information in meaningful ways, listen to and give feedback, and construct messages for particular audiences.

Self-Directed Learning: Learners develop the ability to set goals, monitor their own progress, and reflect on their strengths and areas for improvement. They learn to see setbacks as opportunities to grow and be more adaptive.

Growth Mind-set: Learners with a growth mind-set believe in themselves. They trust their abilities and believe their hard work will pay off; they persist to overcome obstacles. In the process, they also learn from and support each other and see the relevance of their schoolwork to the real world and their own future success.

Coupled with vibrant project-based education and social-emotional learning, all these elements work together to empower kids to overcome any challenge that comes their way academically; but more than that, they build the character to succeed in the 21st century.

Alakai O Kauai Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 17th
Fire Knife Dancing Performance

Monday, September 20
Board Meeting from 5pm – 6pm

Friday, September 24
We will be hosting our second annual “Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Ninja Warrior” competition on Friday, September 24th for any interested learner. The participants attempt to traverse across an obstacle course on campus that features both of our playgrounds! It is open to any interested keiki in Kindergarten through Grade Six and runs throughout the school day.

Friday, October 1
Wala’au Meeting from 10am – 11am

Wednesday, October 6
School Photos – Photo Spectrum from 9am – 12pm

Wednesday, October 6
No Hoa O’ Alaka’i, Friends of Alaka’i PTN Meeting from 5pm – 6pm

Alakai learners enroll

See what our families are saying about Alaka’i O Kaua’i!

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School Culture

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Partnering with Home and Community

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we don’t believe that education happens solely within the four walls of a school. On the contrary, we believe education that produces well-rounded children is a result of synergy and collaboration between the school, the home, and the community.

That is why it is so important to us to build strong partnerships between families and communities. Parents and community partners are key resources to supporting learners’ success, which is why Alaka’i O Kaua’i actively and consistently involves parents, finding ways to support them and extend learners’ education at home.

Through our relationships with various community partners, we are able to provide learning experiences that broaden kids’ perspectives, not to mention often give back to the community. Strong community partnerships are a win-win.

There are several ways we promote parent involvement. We strongly encourage parents to volunteer at their learners’ school during the year, with opportunities including classroom volunteering, tutoring, attending board of directors meetings, participating in events, and more. We also encourage parents to take an active role in their children’s learning.

Other community-related partnerships we encourage and facilitate include partnering with industry professionals, business leaders, government and civic leaders, community leaders, nonprofit leaders, higher-education partners, entrepreneurs, and more. Fostering these relationships provides learners with a wealth of knowledge, advice, and insight, in addition to access to real-world learning opportunities and experiences.

Collaboration is at the heart of Alaka’i O Kaua’i’s project-based learning model. When synergy is found between learners, families, and communities, something really special happens — the foundation is set for authentic learning that produces inspired leaders with promising futures.

Alakai O Kauai Monday Message

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 4 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach.

“In the long run, if it isn’t a win for both of us, we both lose. That’s why win-win is the only real alternative in interdependent realities.”

— Dr. Stephen Covey

This week, we’re examining Habit #4: Think Win-Win. Someone with a win-win mind-set sees life as a cooperative arena, instead of a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions, and means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying.

Why is this habit so vital to us at Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School? Because none of us lives in a vacuum. Every day, we interact with other people who have their own sets of passions, motivations, and priorities. So how do we successfully navigate the world as an individual among many other individuals?

Dr. Stephen Covey held that a person or organization approaching conflicts with a win-win attitude possesses three vital character traits:

  • Integrity: sticking with your true feelings, values, and commitments
  • Maturity: expressing your ideas and feelings with courage and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others
  • Abundance Mentality: believing there is plenty for everyone

Developing a win-win approach is also beneficial to our growth and maturity. As we seek to have win-win interactions and relationships, we develop our humility, better recognize the humanity of those around us, develop long-term perspectives, and also learn to become more assertive.

There are four steps that can help the win-win process be truly beneficial for all involved:

  • See the problem from others’ perspectives to understand their needs and concerns
  • Identify the key issues and concerns involved
  • Determine what results could make for a fully acceptable situation
  • Identify options for how to achieve those results.

Developing a win-win mind-set is an important step toward being a more collaborative individual, which is at the heart of what the Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School learning model is all about. Win-win is certainly a balancing act, but when we strike that balance everyone benefits.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i Charter School Culture

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Partnering with Home and Community

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we don’t believe that education happens solely within the four walls of a school. On the contrary, we believe education that produces well-rounded children is a result of synergy and collaboration between the school, the home, and the community.

That is why it is so important to us to build strong partnerships between families and communities. Parents and community partners are key resources to supporting learners’ success, which is why Alaka’i O Kaua’i actively and consistently involves parents, finding ways to support them and extend learners’ education at home.

Through our relationships with various community partners, we are able to provide learning experiences that broaden kids’ perspectives, not to mention often give back to the community. Strong community partnerships are a win-win.

There are several ways we promote parent involvement. We strongly encourage parents to volunteer at their learners’ school during the year, with opportunities including classroom volunteering, tutoring, attending board of directors meetings, participating in events, and more. We also encourage parents to take an active role in their children’s learning.

Other community-related partnerships we encourage and facilitate include partnering with industry professionals, business leaders, government and civic leaders, community leaders, nonprofit leaders, higher-education partners, entrepreneurs, and more. Fostering these relationships provides learners with a wealth of knowledge, advice, and insight, in addition to access to real-world learning opportunities and experiences.

Collaboration is at the heart of Alaka’i O Kaua’i’s project-based learning model. When synergy is found between learners, families, and communities, something really special happens — the foundation is set for authentic learning that produces inspired leaders with promising futures.

Alakai O Kauai Embrace the 7 Habits

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Optimism

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is one of the core elements of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School approach to education. Through social-emotional learning, learners understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Academic achievement is only one aspect of a learner’s education at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School. We also deeply value learners’ development of emotional intelligence, life skills, and community engagement, and we support these through the development of character strengths, as defined by Character Lab. Social-emotional learning develops strengths of heart, mind, and will.

Today, we want to discuss a character strength of will: optimism. Optimism is being hopeful about future outcomes combined with the agency to shape that future.

When we embody the character strength of optimism, the following things are true about us:

  1. We attribute problems to temporary, changeable causes rather than explaining them in terms that author Martin Seligman calls “the three Ps” – permanent, personal, and pervasive.
  2. We expect good things from others, the world, and the future.
  3. We can overcome obstacles to reach goals.

We can help learners build healthy optimism in the following ways:

  • Create a positive, stable, caring environment. We can create positive, stable environments where kids feel known and cared for.
  • Help learners develop more positive thinking patterns. For example, if a learner gets stuck and says, “I’m not good at this,” we encourage them to reposition the statement like this: “I need more practice or a new perspective to master this concept.” This takes consistent practice.
  • Give learners opportunities to learn from their mistakes. If learners experience failure and learn from that failure, they will develop resiliency when obstacles occur.

Character Lab CEO Angela Duckworth has said, “It stands to reason that even in our darkest moments, there will always be hope for humankind.”

That thought likely rings true for many of us as we survey a world gripped by multiple ongoing crises. We all need optimism, and we have a responsibility to help kids develop a healthy strength of optimism that will help them face the world.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i learners outside

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 3 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach. You can find more articles by clicking here.

This week, we look at Habit #3: Put First Things First. This habit, which all of us at Alaka`i O Kaua`i are working to put into practice, is about identifying and organizing one’s priorities. In essence, someone who puts first things first is saying, “I spend time on things that are most important. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow a plan. I’m disciplined and organized.”

Dr. Stephen Covey said that “first things” are basically all those things that you value most in your life. So, you should manage your schedule according to your priorities to get all essential things done on time.

Skills that can be learned by putting first things first include:

  • Time management
  • Cultivating a strong work ethic, flexibility, and adaptability
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Self-management
  • Being accountable and responsible for actions and results
  • Cultivating analytical skills

An effective way to implement Habit #3, according to Covey, is breaking down activities into four quadrants of urgency and importance:

  • Quadrant 1: Urgent and important
  • Quadrant 2: Not urgent and important
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent and not important
  • Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important

Covey suggests you become more aware of your internal drive, values, and goals. This makes it easier to say “yes” to the actions that are based on these factors. This way, values and goals are less often overruled by (non-important) urgent matters. Remember that whenever you say “yes” to one thing, you will no longer have time for something else. Time is the most valuable and least replaceable of all resources. Things that appear urgent will most likely trigger a “yes” if you are asked to help out. It’s useful to understand that saying “no” is also a legitimate option.

By identifying what’s most important to you, and where your passions lie, you can more easily learn to put first things first.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #4: Think Win-Win.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

Alakai O Kauai Mud Kitchen

Inspiration: Mud Kitchen Fun!

By Nicole Huguenin
Director of Arts Integration and Play Maker, Maker Learning Network

Remember: Kids are 100% washable!

Are you running out of ideas to entertain your bright learners at home? We have just the thing for you: Why not build your family’s very own mud kitchen?

Mud kitchens are so much fun for your kids! Not only do they completely engage children and provide you with some much-needed extra time, but they also encourage the following:

  • Exploration
  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Social Skills
  • Role-Playing
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Math
  • Sensory Play
  • Wonder and Joy

Did you know that dirt is healthy for your kids? Find out “The Dirt on Dirt” and the many health benefits of mud!

How to Make a Mud Kitchen

Mud kitchens can be as simple as a bowl, a stick, some dirt, and some water. They can also be a little more elaborate. Click here for our collection of mud kitchen ideas on Pinterest! Let your child’s imagination guide them in their mud kitchen adventures.

Mud Kitchen Supply Ideas

Items for mud kitchens need not be new. They can be things from around the house, or you can ask friends and relatives if they have any. Thrift stores are also a great place to find things for mud kitchens. See what you can find from this list:

  • Cupcake Tins
  • Wooden Spoons
  • Mashers
  • Whisks
  • Spatulas
  • Metal Bowls
  • Wooden Bowls
  • Sifter
  • Small Pans
  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Colanders
  • Ladles
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pots and Pans
  • Expired Spices
  • Dried or Old Flowers

Remember: “Kids are 100% washable!” —Lisa Latimer, iLEAD Agua Dulce School Director

Have fun! #GETMUDDY

Be sure to share your mud kitchen photos with us here!

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Growth Mindset

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we believe when kids learn how to face challenges, they grow into leaders. As part of our emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL), we believe it’s important to develop what we call a growth mindset.

Let’s do a quick test. Do you tend to agree or disagree with the following statements?

  • My intelligence is something I can’t change very much.
  • I’m a certain kind of person, and there isn’t much I can do to change that.
  • I often get frustrated when I get feedback on my performance.
  • Trying new things is stressful, and I avoid it.

How we respond to these statements reveals whether we have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Many children are raised and exposed to situations that create a fixed mindset, which may seem harmless on the surface, but actually creates long-term challenges for them in school and in life, when they fear failure and tend to avoid challenges.

Conversely, children who have a growth mindset are more likely to learn from their mistakes, tackle challenges head-on, and be motivated to succeed.

Some contrasting statements may be helpful for bringing this into focus:

  • A fixed mindset says: “Failure is the limit of my abilities.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Failure is an opportunity to grow.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “I’m either good at it or I’m not.”
  • A growth mindset says: “I can learn to do anything I want.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “My abilities are unchanging.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Challenges help me grow.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “My potential is predetermined.”
  • A growth mindset says: “My effort and attitude determine my abilities.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “Feedback and criticism are personal.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Feedback is constructive.”

 

  • A fixed mindset: “I stick to what I know.”
  • A growth mindset says: “I like to try new things.”

 

The development of a healthy growth mindset is all about helping kids realize and embrace their potential and equipping them to be empowered and fueled by challenges, rather than hindered by them.

A growth mindset will intrinsically motivate children to improve, learn, and grow in school and all other areas of their lives.

Writing in Scientific American, psychologist Carol S. Dweck unpacked “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” and the importance of fostering a growth mindset, stressing the importance of seeing success as the result of hard work instead of simply inborn talent.

“When we gave everyone hard problems anyway, those praised for being smart became discouraged, doubting their ability,” she wrote. “In contrast, students praised for their hard work did not lose confidence when faced with the harder questions, and their performance improved markedly on the easier problems that followed” (emphasis ours).

Make no mistake, it is good to praise our children for their strengths and talents, but it is crucial to encourage them to see challenges as opportunities and to value their efforts. If they can learn and embrace this at school age, there’s no telling what they may achieve.

Watch: On Growth Mindset

Project Based Learing

Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi Culture: Project-Based Learning

Spend even just a few moments inquiring about the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi approach to education, and one of the first things you’ll hear about is project-based learning, or PBL. It’s at the core of our approach to school and a proven asset to education.

So what is project-based learning? In PBL, learners actively explore real-world challenges to acquire deeper knowledge of the subject at hand. Research shows that learners increasingly retain and enjoy what they’re learning when PBL is done well.

This educational model helps students learn the valuable collaboration, academic, and problem-solving skills our global economy will demand from them. Through the PBL method, learners tackle engaging projects about real-world issues that require critical thought, inquiry, and synthesis, and culminate in regular Presentations of Learning (or POLs) to their peers, facilitators, community members, and parents.

The PBL model requires learners to research, collaborate, and carefully weigh information and evidence in a nuanced problem-solving environment. It teaches learners to accept feedback, create solutions, and present their findings in a high-performance context — preparing them for the rigors of the 21st-century economy and the challenges of a global world.

PBL provides the following benefits:

  • PBL makes school more engaging: In PBL, students are active, not passive. Projects engage their hearts and minds and provide real-world relevance for learning.
  • PBL improves learning: At the completion of a project, learners understand content more deeply, remember what they learn, and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction. Because of this, students who gain content knowledge with PBL are better able to apply to new situations what they know and can do.
  • PBL builds skills for college, career, and life: Learners are preparing for life in a world where success requires more than basic knowledge and skills. In a project, students learn how to take initiative and responsibility, build confidence, solve problems, work in teams, communicate ideas, and manage themselves more effectively.
  • PBL helps address standards: Common Core and other current education standards emphasize real-world application of knowledge and skills, as well as the development of success skills like critical thinking/problem-solving, collaboration, communication in a variety of media, and speaking and presentation skills. PBL helps learners effectively meet these goals.
  • PBL embraces technology: Kids enjoy using a variety of tech tools that are a perfect fit for PBL. With technology, facilitators and learners not only find resources and information they need; they also collaborate more effectively and connect with experts, partners, and audiences.
  • PBL makes teaching more enjoyable and rewarding: Projects allow facilitators to work closely with active, engaged learners doing high-quality, meaningful work. In many cases, facilitators rediscover the joy of learning alongside kids.
  • PBL connects kids and schools with communities and the real world: Through PBL, learners have opportunities to solve real problems and address actual issues, and as such they learn more about interacting with adults and organizations, are exposed to workplaces, and can identify and develop career interests.

In short, project-based learning is at the core of the Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi model because we believe it is at the heart of how kids learn best. Time and again, we’ve seen how PBL helps learners develop academic skills, build leadership skills and character, and lay the foundation for promising careers.

Alaka'i O Kaua'i learners celebrate Na Kupu Lau

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 2 of the 7 Habits

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on the pillars of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s educational philosophy and approach. You can find more articles by clicking here.

When was the last time you went on a trip to a new place without first looking up directions? Unless you have a superhuman sense of direction, you searched for how to get where you were going, whether on your phone or an old-school paper map. That’s what this week’s habit is all about.

Last week, we discussed the first of the 7 Habits: Be Proactive. A proactive person believes in taking responsibility for their lives and investing their time and energy on things within their control — and not losing sleep over the things they can’t control.

But how does one successfully lead a proactive life? Part of the answer lies in Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind. Starting a proactive journey is difficult if you don’t know where you are trying to go. Beginning with the end in mind is very much like consulting a road map.

In short, to begin with the end in mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of the desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing one’s proactive muscles to make things happen.

To reinforce a mind-set of beginning with the end in mind, Dr. Stephen Covey encouraged developing what he called a personal mission statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life.

So what does it look like for learners to embrace a Habit 2 mind-set and develop their personal mission statements? Helpful steps include reminding themselves of the following:

  • I plan ahead and set goals for myself.
  • I am prepared at all times.
  • I think about how the choices I make now will affect my future.
  • I think about the positive or negative consequences of my actions before I act.

Do you know why Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s focus on developing children who are free thinkers fits so well with the 7 Habits? Because, for instance, Habit 2 is based on imagination — the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. When children are empowered to imagine what can be, the results can be incredibly inspiring.

Join us next week as we explore Habit #3: Put First Things First.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

Monday Message Alakai O Kauai

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: Habit 1 of the 7 Habits

Last week, we introduced a vital element of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s approach to education — The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Learning and practicing the 7 Habits has been instrumental to our learners’ success living out the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School motto of “free to think, inspired to lead” — not to mention how it helps our staff thrive.

This week, we’re continuing to unpack the habits with Habit #1: Be Proactive. In short, being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control.

In general, most of us fall into one of two categories: Either we’re reactive to situations in life, affected by factors outside of ourselves and believing we have no control over situations — or we are proactive, realizing that we are “response-able” and that we have freedom to choose our responses. A proactive individual peppers their language with “I can” and “I will,” while a reactive person falls back on “I can’t” or “if only.”

In short, proactive people focus their efforts on what Dr. Stephen Covey calls their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about, like health or problems at work. On the flip side, reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern — things over which they have little or no control.

It has been amazing to see how understanding these concepts empowers Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School learners to take charge and command over both their education and their lives. We’ve seen time and again how it trickles down to every aspect of their lives, and that is at the heart of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School model: developing the whole child so that they are equipped to live with purpose and intent.

As Dr. Covey said, “The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct, and learn from it.” When children learn to apply this in an academic setting, it can only spread to every other area of life.

Next week, we’ll continue exploring what makes the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School approach to education so innovative, explaining Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind.

For more information on the 7 Habits and other leadership resources, click here to visit the FranklinCovey website.

Alakai O Kauai Embrace the 7 Habits

Exploring Alaka`i O Kaua`i Charter School Culture: The 7 Habits

We’re happy to introduce a new series of articles in the Monday Message, aimed at unpacking some of the essentials of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School educational model.

Our educational model is driven by much more than simply making sure children are good students. Rather, it’s focused on equipping them to be lifelong learners who are fully developed and prepared to lead in the 21st century.

Whether you’ve been part of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School family for a while or are fairly new, you’ve most likely heard a lot of talk about “The 7 Habits” and how important they are to what we do. Stephen Covey’s best-selling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been deeply influential in the shaping of our approach to project-based learning, as well as our staff development. We are constantly inspired by how we see our learners put the 7 Habits into action.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll expand on each of the habits, how they relate to learning at Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, and even practical ways you can incorporate them into your daily life.

To get things started, though, we wanted to take today to introduce the 7 Habits.

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive: Being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. Proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control.
  • Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind: At the heart of this is beginning each day, task, or project with a clear vision of one’s desired direction and destination, and then continuing by flexing proactive muscles to make things happen.
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First: This is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment by moment, and deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. Habit 3 is about life management, as well — your purpose, values, roles, and priorities.
  • Habit 4: Think Win-Win: This habit presents life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. A win-win approach means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying.
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood: This habit can help transform communication. Too often, many of us can listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. We can filter everything we hear through our life experiences and our frame of reference. Consequently, we decide prematurely what the other person means before they finish communicating.
  • Habit 6: Synergize: This is the habit of creative cooperation. It’s a process of teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems. It thrives on the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. To “sharpen the saw” means to preserve and enhance the greatest asset you have — you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Coming up next week, we’ll dive into the first habit, Be Proactive, discussing what it looks like in practical terms and how you can make it part of your life.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Shop Amazon for FREE Fund-raising for Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi!

Amazon Smile pageDid you know you can help Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi grow and provide additional resources by just doing the things you’re already doing every day?

We call this “passive fundraising.” Through Amazon Smile, you can buy items for the same exact price, and Amazon will send us a portion of their proceeds each time you shop with them. Every little bit counts! Please help us take advantage of the opportunity to earn funds! See below for details and make sure your purchases make a difference! Please help us build a better school for our keiki with the opportunity to earn funds from everyday purchases! We sincerely appreciate everything our Alakaʻi Ohana can do to help!

See below for the simple steps for using Amazon Smile and see how easy it really is!

Amazon Smile

  • Shop on smile.amazon.com
  • Under the search bar on Amazon Smile’s site, it will say “Supporting.” This is where you’ll choose Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • Start shopping on smile.amazon.com so that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Alakaʻi O Kauaʻi.
  • If you purchase under the regular amazon.com, those purchases will not be donated to the school. It has to be through smile.amazon.com.