Friday, August 5, 2011

First Week and Naupaka

I have officially made it through the first week of school with kids!  The school just started using a discipline system Craig Seganti.  It is working really well for me.  It requires me to be strict and not allow ANY disruptions whatsoever, which is good.  When I am giving instructions you could hear a pin drop in my classroom, but there is still plenty of time where the student work in groups or have opportunities to share.

Yesterday, one of my 5th grade boys told me that my class is fun.  This surprised me because they are doing quite a lot of work for the first week of school!  The principal had passed through my room a few times (you need to go through my room to get to the copy room) and later she told me that she is “very pleased with how I run my classroom.”  That was good to hear!

Even though it has only been a few days, I already feel much more comfortable about teaching three different grades.  I’m already getting a system worked out where the students work at stations.  It takes a lot of planning to make sure that everyone has something to work on (that is not just busy work) while I’m teaching one of the other grades, but hopefully I will get a hang of it so the day runs smoothly and I don’t spend so much time planning.

Reading looks like the biggest area in need of improvement.  I could really use more books for my classroom!  Especially ones at the “1st-3rd” grade reading level.  If anyone wants to send me some it would be very much appreciated!  I don’t think my students have many books at home to read, so what I give them to take home is important.

In Science this week we have been talking about some of the Native Hawaiian Plants.  One of the plants, called naupaka has a very interesting story associated with it.  I thought I would share it with you.
The Legend
In ancient times, one version goes, there was a beautiful Hawaiian princess known as Naupaka. One day, the villagers noticed that Naupaka looked very sad. They told her parents, who approached Naupaka and asked her what was troubling her.

“I have fallen in love with a man named Kaui,” replied the princess. “But Kaui is not of noble birth—he is a commoner.” According to Hawaiian tradition, it was strictly forbidden for members of royalty to marry people from the common ranks.

Distressed, Naupaka and Kaui traveled long and far, seeking a solution to their dilemma. They climbed up a mountain to see a kahuna who was staying at a heiau (temple). Alas, he had no clear answer for the young lovers. “There is nothing I can do,” he told them, “but you should pray. Pray at this heiau.”
So they did. And as they prayed, rain began to fall. Their hearts torn by sorrow, Naupaka and Kaui embraced for a final time. Then Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half, giving one half to Kaui. “The gods won’t allow us to be together,” she said. “You go live down by the water, while I will stay up here in the mountains.”

As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. The very next day, they began to bloom in only half flowers.

There are different versions of the naupaka legend, but all carry the same unhappy theme: lovers that are separated forever, one banished to the mountains, the other to the beach.

The flowers literally look like half of a flower!


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