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BOGO goes to Kauai: Mahalo Kanuikapono

Posted by PLEOPARD
Monday, March 02, 2015 9:39 AM


It was a first for the BOGO (Buy One Get One Unreal Deal) Authors: a charter school on the island of Kauai. As for me, it could not have been a better experience. Being a nurse by day (Poet by night), I have an obtuse view of teaching; yet through this deal, I get to see up close what goes on behind the scenes to make a classroom work. What I witness repeatedly is the heart of teachers, often working overtime, striving to give their kids experiences that encourage creativity, thought and inspiration.

From the start, she was the give-everything- you- got kind of teacher, Lois Ann, that I got to know. Each of our interactions (emails/phone calls) were focused on what we could do to give the kids the best experience, going through the booklist to figure out which books would be ideal (Bamboo Ridge has quite a large selection spanning many interests) and planning out the workshop. Then finally getting to meet her in person, hard at work at 0800 getting ready for our presentation.

The staff, parent helpers and students were so cheerful and receptive. As Kanuikapono is Hawaiian culture based, teaching in the halau felt "right"- halau,among other things, being a gathering site for knowledge exchange. And as with most teaching experiences- the learning went both ways. While it is my sincere hope I instilled some nugget of desire to read an write "local", my overall hope whenever I interact with children is to instill confidence, to be proud of who they are, right where they are. The kids taught me about the tight knit relations between each of the students, how they look out for one another and I marveled at how they effortlessly laugh at themselves. Their writing vignettes were marked by joyful attention to the mundane as well some heartbreaking pieces about identity. I was struck by the integrity of the work, all done within a 7 minute creative free write. As a group, we settled on the "Pork Chop" poem being the "best" but there was much potential in many of the free writes. It is my hope that this will be the one of the first of many opportunities for Bamboo Ridge to bridge to this school, and give all our keiki (all islands) the tools and encouragement they need to be not only the writers, but leaders of tomorrow.


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