Saturday, December 25, 1999

Knowledge of the future
The dawn of the new millennium has given teachers a learning tool to inspire reflection, creativity and imagination. Students across the islands are linking subjects to the turn of the century as they relate to the past, live in the present and plan for the future. Time capsules, scrapbooks, dramatizations and art projects require research, analysis, problem solving and thought. The Star-Bulletin went into the classrooms to see what students of various levels are doing -- from elementary school, to middle school, to high school and college.

Here's a look at one of the projects.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Piikea Kitamura, a third-grader at Aikahi Elementary
School, inscribes his design on his ceramic millennium
project,"Slippahs Of The Future."

Kids at Aikahi
Elementary turn their
science into art

By Eloise Aguiar


Bugs with razor sharp teeth, with rocket launchers, with claws of steel.

They all sprung from the minds and computers of Aikahi Elementary School students in an art project exploring popular themes related to the turn of this century.

The artwork by these third- to sixth-graders also reveal how they'll party on New Year's Eve - and what'll be important to them in the future. Art teacher Nancy Wilcox has students at three other Windward schools doing the same through the Gifted and Talented Arts Program.

The millennium theme intrigued the students, Wilcox said, and their work can be a keepsake.

Among the results: "Y2K bugs" that attack computers, paintings of New Year's Eve celebrations, and ceramic "slippahs" with decorations revealing their wants for the future.

"Because this is a gifted and talented program, I try to find problems that are more complex," Wilcox said. "It also might be something that would have significance to them later in their lives."

Ground rules for the mixed-media pieces were limited, according to sixth-grader Drew Broderick. Cartoon characters were out, and bugs had to resemble the real thing. So he incorporated parts of a scorpion, bee, wasp and spider.

The party scenes, meanwhile, were closer to home. The students preferred beach parties with fireworks, music and swimming . But a disco dance venue was popular, too. Fourth-grader Kainoa Cambra set his party in the country, near a mountain.

For the "slippah" project, students employed symbolism. The rubber slipper is a symbol of the islands, Wilcox explained. Each student then made a clay slipper and decorated it with a symbol representing wishes for the future for themselves, their families, their community or the world.

Among the symbols created by students at Kainalu Elementary School were a coconut tree, a peace sign, a money sign, and the words,"Wall Street."

As third-grader Kelcy Corey formed her slipper, she decided to decorate with a heart and cross, symbols of love and Jesus.

"We really believe in multiple intelligence," said Roberta Tokumaru, Aikahi Elementary School principal. "Every child is gifted in a different area. It could be the arts, it could be physical fitness, it could be in academics. We try to provide programs so that every kid can succeed."

The U.S. Secretary of Education has awarded Aikahi the Blue Ribbon Award for excellence in academic leadership, teaching and teacher development and school curriculum. It's the first elementary school in Hawaii to win the award twice.

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