Working Together, Creating Lo`i Kalo
Reading to a group of children can enhance the read-aloud experience when coupled with a group activity. As an example, after reading Little Malia’s Big Poi Idea by Jocelyn Calma (Island Heritage, 2007), the reader can talk to the children about how poi is grown, how it is made, or even create a lo’i kalo together. At this point a number of options are available.
1. Engage students in the activity of creating lo`i kalo (taro or kalo farm). Simply have students cut out the shapes of the taro leaves (Copy kalo – leaves template on green construction paper); then tape a green pipe cleaner to the back of each leaf. The pipe cleaner may be bent where the tape attaches to the leaf (backside of the centered dot) to give the kalo plant a three-dimensional effect. Each student may then position his/her kalo into the lo’i plot (see the instructions below).
A lo`i kalo can be made simply by using a soft, biodegradable paper egg carton. If you are using a dozen egg carton container, cut the lid off of the carton and discard the lid.
a. Turn the bottom of the egg carton over so the bottom of the egg carton is facing up.
b. Poke a small hole in the top of each egg cup.
c. Twist or fold up the pipe cleaner about 2-3 inches to thicken the base and then thread the pipe cleaner stems through each of the holes.
d. To further stabilize your kalo plants, you may wad a small piece of newspaper and tuck it firmly into the egg cup.
e. Place carton into a small box about three to four inches high and cover the carton with soil to give the illusion of a true lo’i kalo. Stand back and admire your lo’i kalo!
2. Show how poi is made by following the modern-day instructions below:
a. Remove skin of taro corm and cut into 2” squares. (The taro corm may also be boiled whole, like you would boil a potato, with skin on. See site below.)
Boil taro corm until fork comes out clean when pierced (like a cooked potato).
Add a little water (about 1 Tbsp.) and mash peeled, cooked taro corm by hand on a wooden board with a pestle, turning often until mashed corm clings together, dipping hands in water when pounding by hand to prevent poi from sticking to your hands (like bread dough just before baking), or place in blender until poi reaches desired consistency. When done and ready to eat, add water to the poi to desired thinness. Dip finger(s) into poi, scoop and enjoy. Onolicious!
For the full instructions on making poi click here. At RTM, we personally prefer fresh poi rather than the three days recommended in step 9.
3. Study the parts of the taro. Kalo is often used by Hawaiians as a symbol of family or of a family’s genealogy. Ask students why kalo is used to represent families.
4. Take a tour to a lo’i kalo. You could also make a reservation to take a group or school tour through the Ahupua‘a O Kahana State Park. But if that’s too far, take a virtual field trip through the Punalu’u Lo’i from the comfort of your classroom or home.
Templates courtesy of Keiki O Ka Aina.