With the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and restrictions, we asked the question: How has the recent loss of some of our social
structures combined with the social and emotional isolation, affected our
community as a whole? And what about those who were already feeling isolated?
Through word of mouth and news reports, we knew that our elders and Keiki, our most vulnerable community members, felt this disruption of family and community, the most.
Our Project Series, OUR KŪPUNA AND THE ʻĀINA, was born from this need to re-connect. Our goal was to introduce inter-generational story-telling as a way to spotlight life values and place-based learning, combining traditional story-telling with digital multi-media that Keiki enjoy today.
Discussions began in September of 2021 between When We Shine Foundation, Hana Arts and Hana Elementary School 4th and 5th Grade teachers, Beth and Grant Senner.
When We Shine Foundation partnered with Hana Arts and with a generous grant from the Atherton Family Foundation, officially launched the first in our new Project Series “Our Kūpuna and the ʻĀina" project in Hana at Hana Elementary School on January 17, 2022.
Over a 7-week period, Team Shine worked to help connect keiki to kupuna, and keiki to their place by finding meaningful and creative ways to "talk story" and to artufully share their stories to uplift their community. The result was a Song and Music Video, Hana Days Gone By.
Our goal with OUR KŪPUNA AND THE ʻĀINA Project is to expand awareness of how the world and our place in it constantly changes outside of us, and within us. The children will learn how their community has changed and how people have adapted to it, the value of resilence and perseverance.
HOʻOMAU - A practice in becoming an active, compassionate listener, a deeper observer, and to hear beyond the words being said by the Kūpuna. By understanding their contributions in our lives and in our community, we learn.
KA NANA NO A 'IKE. (By Observing, One Learns.) We explore the importance of showing respect for adults, teachers and leaders in our community, and to each other in school, on the playground, at home.
HŌ'IHI - The sense of belonging to an extended family and larger community, acknowledging the responsibility and integrity to uphold that connection. A practice of respect, especially toward our elders.
LAULIMA and ʻOHANA - Elevating Kupuna to a place of value & purpose
in our communities to understand that Elders are living treasures, rich in heart and in spirit.
We felt by shining a light on the positive aspects of a featured elderʻs lives in the classroom, it would give a purpose for students to talk to their own elders and family members.
Hana, already a closeknit community, has faced extra challenges during the covid isolation due to their natural unique location and the disruption of available resources. It was heartwarming to hear about the studentsʻ learning of family history and appreciating their own Ohana stories, as well as Aunty Punaʻs, a beloved active elder in the Hana School community.
Our process in a kukui nutshell:
Rae worked with the 4th and 5th grade teachers, Beth and Grant Senner, to develop lessons that were meaningful and timely for their classes. She guided them to explore the essential question, "What are we grateful for growing up in Hana."
In the case of working in the Hana community, we are especially grateful for Hana Arts and their Executive Director, Becky Lind and her team, who already work in tandem with Hana Elementary School. They were able to provide our lodging while there, and were instrumental in connecting us with the Administration and teachers for valuable pre-planning meetings.
They also provided essential insight, work spaces and "World Premier" coordination of the debut of our Song and Music video, Hana Days Gone By, in concert with the entire Hana Elementary, Middle and and High School! They shared the news of our school project with their members, board, local networks and small businesses, that range from Keʻanae to Kaupo area of Maui, through their social media platforms and public radio!
As always, When We Shine Foundationʻs aim is to support teachers and students across Maui through place based, project based creative learning experiences, and professional development for educators.
Our mission of empowering our community by connecting students, teachers, and all stakeholders to our ʻāina through rich arts learning, aligned seamlessly with The Atherton Family Foundationʻs grant support and our partnership with Hana Arts. Together, we strengthen and enrich our community through the arts.
Our Team Shine made many new connections while working in Hana and helped "separate voices" in their community come together to complete this project. Our work sparked ideas for furthering connections within their community. and Hana Arts Executive Director, Becky Lind, has requested conntinual dialogue on supporting them with their school and teaching artists.
Hereʻs our Method:
Starting with the "World Premier" presentation end date in mind, each song and music video project begins with scheduling Melinda Carollʻs Songwriting Residency with 4, 45-minute writing classes, online and/or in-person participation.
Once the song is complete, Melinda works with David Kauahikaua to produce a vocal guide and rhythm track for the students to practice singing and memorizing to then record their song.
Two to 3 weeks later, Shelley Toon Lindberg brings her Multi-Media Arts expertise to the classroom, helping the students identify the characters in their story, designing their color wheel, and drawing and painting the backgrounds.
Next they utilize multi-media digital technology and with special I-pad set ups, they compose the stop-motion visuals that matched the rhythm and lyrics in the song.
While Shelley teaches the children how to create their artful storyboard and animate their video project, Melinda is digitally recording the children singing, 1, 2, 3, or 4 at a time, in a designated room at each school location.
After 3 to 4 weeks of post production, and mastering, the final project is presented in either the classroom, and/or the entire school or multiple schools at the same date and time!
The 4th and 5th grade students who created Hana Days Gone By (Aunty Punaʻs Song) held their “World Premier” of their song and music video, on April 10, 2022. We are still basking in the Aloha and overwhelming positive response from the students, teachers and Kūpuna, alike! Social media was a-buzz that week! Becky Lind, Executive Director of Hana Arts, was able to capture this short video of Aunty Puna thanking each of the students who participated in this special project!
Hana Days Gone By, featuring the 4th & 5th Grade Students of Hana Elementary School
We have so many new friends and new community members to thank for this pilot project of OUR KŪPUNA AND THE ʻĀINA!
When We Shine Foundation is deeply grateful for the generous financial support of The Atherton Family Foundation!
We are delighted and so appreciative of our new community partner, Hana Arts, for their skills, expertise and position as arts advocates in the Hana community and we look forward to many more collaboratons!
To the 4th and 5th Grade Teachers, Beth and Grant Senner, our abiding admiration and humble Mahalo for your willingness, your time and for sharing your amazing students with us!
We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to help build community and to add value to our public schools here on Maui. We plan to keep growing our multi-media and interactive songwriting projects that support whole child, integrative arts education practices, sustainability, and environmental literacy.
We are encouraged by the overwhelming positive response from teachers, students and the administration of these schools to continue exploring ad offering more ways we can share the children's music video message with all of Hawaiʻi and the world. If you would like to participate, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.