PCEP Update: March 2017

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Aloha · Talofa · Iakwe · Paing Kowos · Kaselehlie · Ráán Ánnim · Mogethin · Alii · Håfa Adai · Tirow

Greetings PCEP partners & friends! Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) is happy to present our latest PCEP Newsletter Update. We have announcements for professional development opportunities coming up this summer and stories from Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Hawai’i. 

The reports in this update illustrate PCEP’s ongoing support to schools and communities in addressing climate impacts in their local places. Each of the stories detail how educators are widening their range and skills in climate and place-based education through teacher trainings and workshops, the use of storytelling, and through various learning exchanges and exploring of their own respective places. Each example demonstrates how specific PCEP resources and partnerships support climate education in the region.

Also keep an eye on our web portal, where we have several new resource added since the last update. For any comments or questions, please send to Canita (rilometoc@prel.org).


Chuuk Science Teachers Further Explore Place-Based Resources

From March 2 to 3, 2017, Science Teachers in Chuuk reconvened for follow-ups to the trainings they joined in November 2016 and January 2017. The overarching goal of this March follow-up was to allow teachers to further reflect on how they have been using PCEP resources and strategies in their classrooms, and to continue to explore ideas for place-based education. This 2-day follow-up was framed in PCEP’s place-based education approach to planning for learning.

The participants shared out how they have used activities shared with them during previous trainings, including the “water is everywhere” demonstration of collecting water and the observation of soil characteristics in water bottles. One participant reflected on how it was initially difficult to get some students engaged in the soil activity because they were afraid of germs, but with some coaxing and reassuring, all students joined in and had great experiences. Other topics included how to bring in tactile experiences into the classroom (e.g., learning about fish by holding actual fish caught by fishermen) and outdoor classroom management.

A new activity that the participants tried was creating a word-association “mental map” of the word place—what the word itself means in the participants’ local language(s), and the different cognitive associations the participants make to that idea. The activity helped emphasize that language itself is an important resource to bring into place-based education, since cultural ideas that are embedded in the local language(s) might now have equivalents in English. There were at least six different languages (apart from English) that were represented at the follow-up!

The participants also learned more about the upcoming Agroforests: Growing Resilient Communities textbook by exploring the main contents, as well as a “Try This” activity to describe a tree or other plant in the local language. Like other PCEP textbooks, the “Try This” activities are embedded in the main text, such that the reader can engage in small activities to further understanding of the main content. PCEP staff look forward to continue working with these teachers in the near future as they explore existing and upcoming resources.

report by and photos courtesy of Dr. Emerson Lopez Odango

Place-based Education through Storytelling at the College of Micronesia (COM) National Campus

On March 22, 2017, Eneriko Peter, a local historian and storyteller, commonly known by his traditional (role) title Ounpahntamw, captivated the attention of COM National Campus students and staff with a colorful telling of Sinsinawa—mother of the Lasialap Clan. Ounpahntamw (Oun) was invited to share this story with COM’s Pohnpei Storytellers Club as an element of PCEPs continued work in encouraging storytelling and place-based learning throughout the region.

Oun took his audience through the life of Sinsinawa from a particular reef in Kitti, explained uhpaup, a Pohnpeian traditional fishing method, and touched on the proper way to prepare and serve an eel to a paramount chief. The story continued on to Yap, back to Pohnpei where landmarks abound throughout Kitti and Madolenihmw, then Kosrae, the outer island of Pingelap, and ended up back in Pohnpei… Palipowe, Nett to be exact. Hence, when you stand on the shores of Awak facing Palipowe, you can easily make out the profile of an eel. Ounpahntamw concluded with “ai soai pwoat rohrohwei.” The word roh refers to something that requires two carriers (something that is usually secured to a hibiscus branch with a person on each end) so where Oun ended his story with the aforementioned words “ai soai pwoat rohrohwei,” he has given a second carrier (his audience) permission to “carry” the story further.

Before the students start writing or sharing their own versions and feelings of the story of Sinsinawa, they plan to visit some of the places mentioned in the story and hear more from different storytellers throughout Pohnpei. The COM Pohnpei Storytellers were introduced to storytelling as a way to learn about our places and became part of PREL’s Pacific Storytellers Cooperative through an opportunity to learn and tell stories of Nan Madol last summer with the guidance of renowned photographer and journalist, Daniel Lin.

report by C. H. Rilometo; photo courtesy Pohnpei Storytellers

Pohnpei Teachers Learning Community (PTLC) in Action

After two years of Pohnpei Teachers Learning Community (PTLC) focus on self-development and building their own capacities as climate education teachers, they turned to sharing their knowledge and skills with other colleagues, school leaders, and pre-service teachers at the College of Micronesia during school year 2016-2017.

“In the three years of working with the members of PTLC, I have seen them grow and develop into more self-confident teachers!”, said a PREL staff on the ground. This is proven by selection of three of the PTLC members as Teacher of the Year of their schools and one of them being further selected as 2017 Pohnpei Teacher of the Year.

Taking a break from outreaches, the PTLC turned to gaining deeper knowledge by participating in a two-day workshop learning about Climate Variability and the effects of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in Pohnpei lead by graduate students from the University of Washington’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT). After the IGERT workshop, they spent March 27-30 immersed in PCEP resources and place-based education. Topics covered during the week included mapping, sharing of lessons learned, brainstorming of different teaching strategies and activities to incorporate the many resources. Of particular interest to the team was the collecting of soil samples, pinpointing where soil was collected in their own school maps, and then analyzing and comparing the samples collected from different parts of the island as well as linking them to math lessons on measuring the different layers shown in their bottles.

Highlight of the week was the presentation of ‘gifts’ (in the form of classroom tools) to the team, thanks very much to Corrin Barros and PCEP!

report by Juanita S. R. Lawrence with photos by C. H. Rilometo 

Ulu Kalihi Teachers Explore the Kalihi Ahupuaʻa

He aliʻi ka ʻāina, he kauwā ke kanaka. The land is chief; man is its servant. (ʻōlelo noʻeau)

In March, six teachers on Oʻahu joined the second cohort of Ulu Kalihi, a teacher development program designed to build teachers’ capacity to teach about their environment through place-based, experiential learning focused on protecting the watershed in their Kalihi ahupuaʻa (watershed). Corrin Barros and Emily Lam facilitated 5 workshops—two in-class sessions and three field trips—in which teachers broadened their knowledge about the science and cultural importance of Kalihi, enhanced pedagogical skills to teach about local watersheds, and connected with local Kalihi-based organizations to delve deeper into the critical environmental issues in the ahupuaʻa.

During the workshop series, Ulu Kalihi teachers explored two PCEP resources, Place-Based Education: Elements of Design and Adaptations: Finding a Fit in the Changing World, as well as several Chuukese-English bilingual texts, to learn together about Kalihi, its stories, ecosystems, and the concepts of interdependence, phenology, and kuleana (responsibility) that make up our understanding of place. And thanks to our project partners, teachers were also able to experience the Kalihi ahupuaʻa from mauka (mountain) to makai (ocean). On one field trip, we visited Mokauea Island to explore its reefs and helped to clean up some of the plastics and other waste that floated downstream through the watershed. And on another day, we enjoyed the fresh mountain air and pulled weeds to make way for medicinal and food plants at Hoʻoulu ʻĀina at the top of Kalihi valley. The workshop series finished with an opportunity to explore the Pacific collection, planetarium, and native garden at Bishop Museum, Hawaiʻi’s largest history and science museum.

Ulu Kalihi teachers are now implementing their learning to their classes and will make a presentation at the Hawaiʻi Environmental Education Symposium in June. 

report by and photos courtesy of Corrin Barros

Summer 2017 Conferences!

This summer will be full of professional development opportunities for educators! PCEP will be holding many workshops and will be presenting at the following conferences:

Hawaiʻi Environmental Education Alliance Symposium on Hawaiʻi Island, June 8–10
The HEEA Symposium brings together teachers, environmental educators, and partners to share best practices, learn new skills, and network. This year’s theme is “Hawaiʻi’s Environmental Education in a Changing Climate.” More information at
Micronesia Teachers Education Conference in Yap, July 12–14
MTEC is the national education conference for the Federated States of Micronesia. This year’s MTEC is hosted by the Yap Department of Education. Teachers in FSM, please contact your DOE. More information at 

Pacific Educational Conference in Palau, July 17–21
PEC is one of the largest educational conferences in the western Pacific and is a great professional development opportunity for educators. This year’s conference is hosted by the Palau Ministry of Educatino and the theme is “Bedochel e Motekau el Kedul a Omesuub el Kirel a Klungiolir a Rengalek: Quality and Sustainability in Education for Student Success.” Registration is now open! More information at

report by Corrin Barros

Language & Content (L&C) Learning across the Curriculum Bilingual Texts

Since the last update, we have added Chuukese L&C bilingual books…more new resource to the PCEP web portal Resources page at pcep.prel.org/resources/

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