Black History is every day

For me, my love of tea cakes began as an homage to my grandmother. I still see her rolling the dough and cutting the tea cakes with a glass jar, while I wait for them to come out of the oven. Tea cakes were what we had to connect us to our family, our community, and our past. My sisters and I in the mid 1980s decided to open a restaurant without really knowing what we were doing. We served soul food and one of the things we served was a tea cake. Tea cakes were always around in my life. I realized so many of my family members made tea cakes but they made them at home. We never had them in restaurants, but they were always around. So we decided to bring them into the restaurant. When the restaurant closed, I found someone who would convert my recipe into one that could be produced at a larger scale. Over time, my calling has become to elevate the tea cake to its rightful place as a cultural touchstone and pay homage to our ancestors. The tea cake was a way to still savor life and have something sweet even when things were hard.  Continue reading Black History is every day

Custodians of Education

I keep a map because the world is always trying to make me forget. Here is my father, who cleaned classrooms for 30 years, and my brothers, who clean classrooms today. My kuku wahine, who baked in the school cafeteria, and my obaasan, here, a different kind of custodian of education. She left school in the 9th grade because Jiichan said school wasn’t for girls. At 92, she still refers to her time in the classroom with delight. This is my mother, a ferocious leader and advocate, the principal of her school. And here is Bernice Pauahi Bishop. I come from a long legacy of custodians of education, and I hold these constellated histories to orient myself as a Kānaka Maoli and Yonsei teaching within a predominantly white institution. Continue reading Custodians of Education

Teaching the Art of Geography

curiosity to see and discover more has cultivated a zeal for travel, photography and diving. My journey is always crafted with the unfolding of a wall-sized paper map given to me by a world traveler. Oddly to some, my choice of destination is largely driven by how remote the location and how much ocean surrounds it.  I then immerse myself into learning everything I can about its people, points of interests, landscapes, culture, and history. My favorite part of the journey are the life-long memories that you return home with that get stitched into stories while sharing photos.  Continue reading Teaching the Art of Geography

What You Love Can Be a Shared Path of Exploration with Your Students

I was able to connect hip hop to my teaching craft because of my own passion for it. Young people see right through inauthenticity. So while I would love for more and more educators to integrate hip hop into their work because of its power, I also do not recommend doing it if it is forced. Find your own opportunities to build authentic connections with young people and build learning opportunities for them from your own passions. Continue reading What You Love Can Be a Shared Path of Exploration with Your Students

Slow Down… Explore!

Anyone can be an explorer and can notice interesting things about the world around them. You do not have to go somewhere far away or exotic, you just have to be curious and spend time looking. In today’s environment, a lot of people feel uncomfortable spending unstructured time outside and need help figuring out how to slow down. I worked with my teen volunteering group, the Green Teens, to explore this concept and come up with ways for parents to support their kids in spending time together outside. All of the activities that we developed together were posted on the Museum’s social media sites for parents to use. Families did not need to have access to a backyard or any sort of complicated materials.  Continue reading Slow Down… Explore!