Spring 2020: Connecting in Times of Uncertainty, Celebrating Small Joys

March 1, 2020
Spring 2020 Newsletter

We welcome the new decade with gratitude and hope, despite the current uneasiness we feel throughout our communities.

We took the first few months of the year to reset ourselves, our intentions, and our workflow – and then a couple more weeks to stabilize in the wake of the health advisories and concerns around us.

We are so grateful for you all, and hope you enjoy this update as much as we enjoyed the work, play and learning that it is built from.

In the coming weeks, we will be posting ideas and support resources to help keep learning alive in the home and in smaller safe gatherings. We are also very happy to support you – teachers, youth, parents, PEOPLE – in transitioning to online learning and teaching, turning your home into a creative and meditative space, really whatever we can do. Please email or reach out directly to Miki and Hye Jung, and we will try to help however we can. Between the two of us, we have almost 30 years of teaching in classroom tech like Google Apps/Classroom, content areas like science, mathematics, STEM, social studies, social-emotional learning, and lots of stories to share about the people and places we met while we sailed with Hōkūleʻa on her Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and in the 20+ countries we have visited in our lives. We would be happy to connect with you, your kids, and your extended families to do an activity together, or talk about lessons we’ve learned through our travels. This is NOT a time for “social distancing” – this is a time for social connection, even though we may be physically distant.

We mahalo our many supporters, friends, followers, teachers, and guides, and most especially to our young inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs working to create a better world for us all. Please follow us on social media for our latest news, and email us at [email protected] to share comments, thoughts, and bright ideas with us!

Education Incubator

Mahalo to Hawaiʻi Department of Education’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design (OCID) for inviting Education Incubator to co-create this year’s 808 Math Challenge! High school students from across Hawaiʻi gathered at Kapiʻolani Community College to engage in placed-based, project-based design thinking to address challenges facing Kaho’olawe, working side-by-side with UH Mānoa mathematics scholars. During those same hours, our friends from Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission and the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana were conducting protocol for the closing of Makahiki — it was truly a time to keep Island in heart and mind, in so many ways. Mahalo to all those who made this day memorable, especially to the students for diving in to this journey to mālama Kahoʻolawe.

Another exciting adventure we embarked on with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education is the Innovation Grant 2020 project, a statewide initiative to support classroom innovation. Along with our partners at Sultan Ventures, we led participants through a journey into the art of storytelling and crafting the perfect pitch — and co-hosted the first annual “Raise the BAR” Awards, celebrating those ideas that best illustrate being Brave, Actionable, and having Ripple Effects. Congratulations to the 53 recipients of the Innovation Grant, and a big shoutout to Superintendent Kishimoto and the team from the HIDOE Leadership Institute for such an outstanding program and event; we are so grateful for this partnership and opportunity to support innovation from the hearts and minds of teachers throughout our public schools. Mahalo to the DOE for capturing the day in this short video story, and for the amazing Dr. Kishimoto for her dedication to high quality communication, collaboration, and innovation for Hawaiʻi’s public schools.

Our haumana at Central Middle School closed out their first semester with EI spending an entire day at the XLR8HI Entrepreneurship Center writing scripts, preparing slide decks, and recording video presentations so they could gather feedback from their school community on their innovation projects to transform their school environment. With input from 150 CMS peers and faculty, this amazing cohort moves into their second semester… the super exciting Build Phase! After a trip to some local companies that live the values of brave spaces and caring communities, our students are bringing their digital prototypes to life in 3D, with such support and input from their amazing principal and teachers. Stay tuned for more updates from our youth at Central Middle School!

Our Kāneʻohe Elementary Innovation Cohorts presented their “campaign for kindness” innovations to an audience of their peers and stakeholders at the end of the Fall semester, to gather feedback and think about next steps for bringing those projects to life.  As they contemplate which projects to pilot on campus this year (and put energy into co-creating a Mele Mural with the Estria Foundation), some of the kids have also been working to support their community client Pacific American Foundation and Waikalua Loko — thank you to Herb Lee for spending so much time supporting these amazing young people in their endeavors!
Feeling Finders, Everywhere! We are so excited to continue our work with Superpower Academy — this amazing company has invented so many different ways to bring together SEL and STEM in kits and activities that help kids build the essential skills needed in this rapidly changing wonderful world.  From an after school program at Mid-Pacific Institute, to a 5th grade class at Kāneʻohe Elementary, to a teacher cohort from HIDOE schools – we all flexed our fingers to build our feeling finders!  These fantastic contraptions help “find” their feelings using colors, weather, and words just with one knob.

We are so grateful to have spent such meaningful moments on Moku O Keawe early this year.  As part of our role as the Project Wayfinder hub for Hawaiʻi, our team got to introduce the PW curriculum to teachers from Hawaiʻi Technology Academy Kona and Kamehameha Schools Keaʻau.  We spent time to dive deeply into our practice as people and mentors to the young people we teach, facilitated PW activities with one another, and discussed implementation plans that will have the greatest chance of success and impact for us individually and for our respective organizations.   A few weeks later, we joined our friends at Liliʻuokalani Trust on their 2020 Learning Journey, exploring how our local communities are grounded in ancestral traditions of innovation, abundance, and prosperity, and how we carry that mindset into our current existence.  We are ever so grateful to LT for always pushing us to imagine new possibilities and dig deeply into our strength as a local company and innovation hub.

EI Book

One of the teachers Uncle Pono Shim brings into his work is Nana Veary.  In this book, Nana beautifully braids in stories of her life as she guides us through a deeply spiritual journey.  In her words, we find stories of place and purpose that lie beneath the surface of things most of us see every day, thoughts most of us do not know we carry inside of ourselves.

If you would like to borrow our copy of the book, let us know. The reading is relatively quick (1-2 hours, depending on your reading style); you are welcome to borrow our copy and join our conversations.

Some of our favorite quotes include:

“Where do ideas come from? Not from you. When you have an idea, it is not your idea. These ideas are all from the infinite intelligence that floats around in the ether here. These ideas are all there, and it is up to you to reach out.”

“All of life can be divided into space, time, and energy. The world of ki (vital energy in Japanese), mana (in Hawaiian) can be sensed but not seen; it can be felt but is not explicit. Most people can relate only to the world they can touch, but the Hawaiians have a certain sensitivity, an intuitive sense of feel, probably from being a sea-faring people.”

“Children must go out and must make mistakes because this is the way they grow. This is what gives strength of character.”

PD is only
a click away!

Kanaeokana seeks to strengthen lāhui and nurture generations of aloha ‘āina leaders though a strong foundation in ʻōlelo Hawai’i and ʻike Hawai’i . Kanaeokana is a great resource for various moʻolelo ranging from current events to historical events. Follow them on Instagram to see how they share both written and beautifully captured moʻolelo.

Like many of you, we follow Brene Brown and Sir Ken Robinson around through their various postings and platforms — in this case, right to the Good Life Project Podcast. Their focus is around a fully-engaged, connected, purposeful life and we hope that you enjoy the podcasts as much as we do!

This is the first published set of Hawaiian culture-based science readers, designed to foster Aloha ʻĀina and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. We have been sharing this resource with our various partner schools throughout the school year, and thought we would share with everybody! These amazing leveled reading books are in both ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and English, and come with a Big Ideas Science book that offers an opportunity to 1) model reading to your keiki, 2) review with your keiki the main scientific and cultural concepts of the set, 3) consider and discuss essential questions, 4) introduce more complex concepts and vocabulary your keiki will encounter in the leveled readers, and 5) share additional place-based knowledge.

Featured Partner:
Ocean Safety ʻOhana

and Jessamy Town Hornor


Ocean Safety ʻOhana is emerging as a powerful connective force through founder Jessamy Town Hornor, who has worked to support an ecosystem of ocean safety and advocacy organizations and individuals over the past few years.  Through a variety of programs and partnerships, OSO works to a) convene education, outreach, and ocean safety organizations and individuals to form a grassroots advocacy network, and b) explore education opportunities through existing and new resources, approaches and partnerships.

EI is humbled to support Jessamy and Ocean Safety ʻOhana (@oceansafetyohana) to advocate and innovate for how we might look to our local natural and human resources as pathways to bring about well-being and healing through education. Read more about Jessamy and the work that Ocean Safety ʻOhana endeavors in this Civil Beat article “Why Nearly Half The Kids In An Island State Can’t Swim.”

A Spotlight on Dayevin

Dayevin has worked with EI since our very first days, when as a high school student attending Kamehameha Schools Kapālama he interned at Hālau ʻĪnana — much of the makerspace equipment we utilized for our Moonshot Lab programs at ʻĪnana were installed and tested by a team of youth that included Dayevin and a few key others.  Last summer, Dayevin continued his journey with EI as an intern and one of our XLR8YOUTH innovators, prior to joining us as a Program Assistant at the close of 2019. As an official member of our team, Dayevin supports us with our Spring 2020 programs and social media research. Mahalo Dayevin for entrusting so much of your time, energy, and love of learning to EI!

rEInvent Learning at Home

As classroom teachers and caregivers for young, inventive, experimental kids, we are blessed to still be in the “let’s play and learn!” mode.  We plan to offer these ideas and others we find in our journey these next few weeks with all of you — whether you are caring for an 8 year old or an 80 year old, these mood-moving, play-inducing, joy-creating, build and learn experiences might help us keep up our social and intellectual stimulation in this time of physical distancing.  Share with us what you create — tag us on social media and enter in our raffle #rEInventlearningathome to win a kit from our friends at Superpower Academy for your home!