Summer Offers A Peek Inside Second and Third Grade

Two new summer courses, Grade 2 Experience and He Huaka'i: A Journey into Grade 3, are giving students a preview of the Punahou experience at those grade levels.

The aim of the Grade 2 experience is to help students understand the big picture of their learning as well as develop the foundational skills and habits necessary to be successful in second grade and beyond. The summer theme is STEM, which is a curricular emphasis in second grade.

The students' activities focus on integration, innovation and inquiry. While working on number sense, science and reading strategies, students are encouraged to generate new ideas, problem-solve, collaborate and reflect on both what and how they are learning.

"They are also learning about teamwork and conflict resolution," explained second-grade teacher Lanelle Nishikawa, who adds that the class provides an orientation to the Sidney and Minnie Kosasa Community. "It's a huge transition from first grade to second. Hopefully this course builds students' confidence and is something they can carry with them through their educational journey."

Although some students in the class don't attend Punahou during the school year, what they're learning can apply to any school. "I tell the kids that our expectations as teachers are the same no matter where they go to school. Try your best and ask questions ­– those are universal themes," Nishikawa shared.

Through the door of the second-grade classroom, on a recent morning students could be heard practicing a Hawaiian oli. They are part of the He Huaka'i: A Journey into Grade 3 class. Grounded in Hawaiian culture and values, the course extends curricular themes that are embedded in third grade at Punahou.

Over the course of the class, students have been experiencing hands-on, collaborative activities designed to explore core subject areas, alongside Hawaiian values such as kuleana, lokomaika'i, malama and aloha. The course's aim has been to develop cultural awareness and academic engagement.

Earlier in the summer, the students had the unique opportunity to visit Hōkūle'a, which had just finished its Worldwide Voyage, during the Malama Honua Fair and Summit at the Hawai'i Convention Center. In additional to learning about Hawaiian voyaging canoes, the students studied canoe plants and helped with garden work at Rocky Hill.