Teaching Hawaiian and Culture

Last week was a super crazy week for me.  I took the ferry to Maui on Friday and Saturday for a training called Kahua - intro to Hawai‘ian Culture, then flew off to Honolulu for an EdisonLearning conference in Waikiki.  It was great to get to go to both of these professional developments!  Plus, I had never been to Waikiki before, so it was fun to get to see the famous beach!

At Kahua, we talked about how your name and where you call home can make up who you are.  Celebrating both of these will help build relationships and community in your classroom.  We started out by making nametags, then going around the circle and telling about ourselves and how we got our name.  Of course I got nervous and forgot my name story!!  So I'll tell you, instead :)  I was supposed to be a boy!  My mom got an ultrasound and the doctor told her I was a boy.  I went home from the hospital in a blue outfit that said 'Daddy's Little Boy".  My name was going to be Nicholas Daniel.  No joke, my name is Nicole Danielle.  Haha!
My name tag: boats, ocean, sunshine, my family, and the University of Oregon :)
Another thing I took away from Kahua was celebrating the place we live.  We learned all about Maui - the history of the Lahainaluna high school (one of the only public boarding schools in the country and the oldest school west of the Rockies), and took a tour bus all around Ka‘anapali and Lahaina.  It was so great!  It made me really want to learn more about the history of Lana‘i.  I know some history associated with the Dole pineapple plantation, but there is still so much more to learn.
Sunset from Lahainaluna High School.  So amazing!
4 out of the 6 new teachers this year.  
As I left Kahua, I decided that I am going to learn as much as I can to incorporate Hawai‘ian traditions into my classroom.  I typed up four Hawaiian songs and had my students glue them into their poetry books.

Here are the best audio versions of the songs I've found to teach your class:

Hawaii Ponoi ($0.99):
Hawaii Aloha ($0.99):
‘Ekolu Mea Nui (free):
Hawaiian Alphabet (free):

I made the song sheets into a little freebie packet if you are interested in teaching your class some Hawai‘ian songs, too!  Included is a poster for pronouncing the Hawaiian Piapa (alphabet), a song book cover, and all four songs typed up.  There are boxes on each song sheet for students to illustrate what the songs means to them.  This ties in nicely with the Marzano vocabulary program and also works well for ESL students who are learning English.  Click on the picture to download from Google Drive.

I also made a packet of color posters in Hawai‘ian and English.  You can check them out here, if you are interested. 

When I taught 1st grade in Oregon, we used to make color word rainbows, so I decided to do it in Hawaiian this year!  I used my Hawaiian Colors posters to help teach the colors.
I'll be working on an Alphabet poster set next and I'll let you know when it's finished!

I also plan to use these products from my friend Corinna from Surfin' Through Second.
Hawai‘ian and English number posters with models

Here are Corinna's posters hanging in my room.

Hawai‘ian phrases mini-book
One more song to share - a teacher here on Lanai wrote and composed this song about the local cat sanctuary.  The kids in the video are in 5th grade this year.  It's really cute!

I'm linking up to Darling Little Learners.
Darling Little Learners

How do you celebrate your students' culture?  How do you build relationships in your classroom?


  1. I'm so excited you posted this! I visited Hawaii over the summer and am kinda obsessed with their culture. I learned all about Lahainaluna and we stayed in Ka'anapali. We also visited Lanai'i and learned about the culture there as well. I can't wait to visit again and learn more!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  2. Thanks for being my 500th follower!
    Your name story is very cute. We were convinced our son was a girl and were so used to calling him Jennifer that my husband kept doing that for another week after he was born:)
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers