Parents Explore Social and Emotional Learning

This week Middle and Lower School parents delved into better understanding how to support their daughters through a social and emotional learning lens. The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning (IFSEL) led two thoughtful morning workshops on the subject.

Among other topics, the workshops provided information about the following:

-Reflective listening guidelines for parents, sharing examples like: Tell me more about, I wonder what was meant by, It sounds like, So, as you see it….

-Understanding roadblocks and freeways to communication

-Accepting Ourselves and Our Young Children: Notes for Parenting with Skills that Embrace Social and Emotional Learning

-IFSEL’s Twelve Top Tips for Parenting Adolescents

-IFSEL Conflict Resolution & Relationship Repair

To see the presentation slides and a recording of the workshops (only available to Hamlin Parents), please visit: https://hamlin.myschoolapp.com/app/faculty#resourceboarddetail/15387

-These workshops were made possible through the generosity of the fall golf fundraiser. Thank you to all who contributed to that successful event.

For more information about the IFSEL, please visit: https://www.instituteforsel.net/

 

Heart Dissection in Grade 4

On Monday, students dissected pig hearts in their science class. This opportunity was made possible by Hamlin parent, Dr. Krista Ramonas and her friend Dr. Brett Sheridan. Dr. Ramonas is an ophthalmologist and Dr. Sheridan is a cardiothoracic surgeon who performs heart transplants. They both work at California Pacific Medical Center.

Dr. Sheridan began by asking our girls some questions like:

Why do we have a heart? How many cells are in the body? How many chambers are in the heart?

He then drew a brief sketch on the board describing the anatomy of the heart.

Our students had the opportunity to work in pairs to dissect their pig heart; observing frozen blood, the different valves, and the areas of the organ that are very thin, almost translucent. The experience provided a hands on opportunity to really see how a heart functions.

Interview with Theater Teacher: Heidi Abbott

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ms. Abbott and learn more about her wonderful life in theater. Ms. Abbott has been teaching at Hamlin for 18 years. During that time she has directed roughly 126 plays.

What is your background with theater/performing arts?

I tried to do theater in high school and college, but I was kind of a repressed theater geek. I went to college (at Middlebury) and majored in English. I then went on to teach English and coach sports for 9 years at different private schools in the Midwest and East Coast. When I was 28 years old I started to question whether I was doing what I truly loved. I was cast in a summer theater play (Mother of Us All by Gertrude Stein) and that experience helped convert me to theater. I had a Master’s in English (also from Middlebury), but took a huge risk, quit my job, sold my horse (I had been a competitive rider) and went to New York City to train at the New Actors Workshop. I loved embodying language, expressing possibilities as I demonstrated compassion and empathy for the characters that I played. There is just so much personal and emotional growth that goes into portraying a character in a play.

What is your favorite role as an actor?

I loved playing Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. I learned how to deeply empathize with her difficult circumstances. She’s a broken person who I profoundly cared for.

What do you like most about working with Hamlin theater students?

I love seeing students build their confidence and take risks. They are great raw material for theater. They are willing to publicly speak and be on stage. I admire their courage, and love their excitement to try new things.

What is a favorite play of yours and one that you loved doing at Hamlin?

One of my favorite plays is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; I saw it both on Broadway and in San Francisco. I directed The Curious Savage at Hamlin twice; it is one of my favorites. The play questions what it means to be normal and what it means to be an individual.

Who are some of your favorite actors?

Meryl Streep is such a classic actor. Emma Stone is insanely talented. I also really like Bradley Cooper.

How do you incorporate mindfulness into your theater work?

Mindfulness is at the foundation of our theater work. You have to be able to pay attention to everything that is happening right now. The breath is an anchor for mindfulness and for an actor it is a vehicle for everything you need to do. We start every class with mindful breathing. Practicing mindfulness can be the difference between being a good actor, or being a great one.

Hamlin Celebrates Lunar New Year 2019

On the evening February 6, over 150 community members gathered at The Hamlin School to celebrate Asian Lunar New Year with home-cooked food (including a full pig) and festive cheer. The uplift and positive energy was palpable, with laughter ringing out in all directions. This event was hosted by our PLAID parent group.

PLAID’s mission is to support a vibrant and inclusive environment in which all members of the community can celebrate their authentic selves.

In communities around the world, the Lunar New Year is the most important and most festive holiday of the year. Through centuries of agrarian tradition, this was the one period when farmers could rest from their work in the fields. Family members from near and far would travel to be with loved ones in time to usher out the old year and welcome in the new, with great celebratory flourish. Today, all over the world, during what is often commonly referred to as the Spring Festival, passenger trains, buses, and river boats are packed with holiday travelers; shops do a flurry of business selling gifts, new clothes, and festive foods; kitchens are bustling with preparations for elaborate feasts; and streets are filled with the sounds of firecrackers and seasonal greetings.

Lunar New Year is celebrated in countries and territories such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, and Thailand (among others).  

Participants at our celebration watched a traditional lion dance, played Mahjong, and made crafts. Everyone enjoyed handmade fortune cookies with messages created by Grade 3 students. Parents also shared heartfelt words, expressing what Lunar New Year means to their families.

 

Girls Take Action on Gun Control

After participating in last year’s Enough: National School Walkout our Hamlin School students were inspired to continue their work for gun control in the United States. This year, Grade 7 student Emma S. organized the Hamlin Association of Change. Today, the Association of Change brought together dozens of Middle School students to write letters urging our government officials to do more to control the use of guns in our society. Below is the template (written by Nicki G.) that students used to craft their handwritten letters:

Dear Government Official (Fill in Name)

         I am a student at the Hamlin School for Girls in San Francisco, California. I am writing to you on the pressing topic of gun control. Gun control is a major problem in our world that needs a lot of improvement and work. Gun control is especially necessary as the rate of school shootings have drastically increased in the past years. Brief background checks allow suspected terrorists and people with known mental health diseases to buy guns, such as AR-15 rifles. There is no need for this extremely dangerous automatic rifle in the lives of Americans. These people pose a threat to everyone when they have these dangerous weapons in their possession.  

INSERT OWN WRITING HERE

We need to end gun violence in our country and secure the safety of all Americans. I hope you will address this national security issue and do what is right for the people of (your state) and the United States. Thank you.

Thank you for your time,

Your name
Your grade
Your age

Topic Suggestions/Examples

  • How security and safety can be improved
  • How background checks can/need to be improved
  • Problems guns cause in schools
  • Problems guns cause in the world

These girls are bringing the mission of The Hamlin School to life and are indeed meeting one of the challenges of their time.

Who Are You? Self-Portraits with Words and Colorful Hair

Grade 5 art students created unique self-portraits with colorful hair comprised of descriptive words. The language of the hair served to showcase the personalities of each girl.

The project had 5 key steps:

1) Take a photograph of yourself.

2) Trace the photograph in Keynote. Delete the photograph and leave the tracing. Print out the traced image.

3) Use the technique of scale and proportion to create a grid on both the traced image and on the paper.

4) Create a contour line drawing using correct face proportions.

5) Add descriptive words about yourself to the hair.

Engaging Science: STEM Night 2019

During the month of January, Grade 8 students followed their scientific passions, created their own experiments, and learned a ton in the process. All of the hard work and investigation concluded Thursday with STEM Night.

The days leading up to STEM Night were an opportunity to go through the science exploration process, consider multiple proposals, then practice failing and trying again through many iterations (in some cases 15+).

All the projects involved energy/force in some way, working in the realms of physics, chemistry, and engineering.

Science teacher, Ms. Gillian Curran adds:

This year, there was a special new addition- the 4th grade presented “The Physics of Sound” in the Riveter Lab. The big and little sisters were able to share their projects with each other earlier in January and both grades presented on STEM Night together. The 8th and 4th grade girls really enjoyed connecting with each other around science.

Our students delved into the following projects (among others):

-3D Hologram

-Battery Coil Train

-Kinetic Sand

-Steel Wool and Batteries

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Serving San Francisco in Grade 7

On Thursday, Grade 7 students left campus to volunteer with the nonprofits Glide, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, and Matter of Trust. This was the 2nd of three grade- wide service days. The next one is scheduled for April.

The day was designed to help our students explore as they prepare for their Rise to the Challenge (RTC) capstone project work (taking place in May). For RTC, girls will work to identify challenges they feel passionate about, then develop action plans to address those challenges, using their knowledge, resources, and collaborative talents. Students will have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various local and global problems.

Today’s work supported three organizations. Their missions are:

Glide:

Glide is a radically inclusive, just and loving community mobilized to alleviate suffering and break the cycles of poverty and marginalization.

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation:

TNDC develops community and provides affordable housing and services for people with low incomes in the Tenderloin and throughout San Francisco to promote equitable access to opportunity and resources.

Matter of Trust:

Matter of Trust’s mission concentrates on the positive, ecological progress and the environment we do want. Our many programs work in integrated cycles, mimicking Mother Nature. We highlight natural abundance in equilibrium, integrating renewable resources into manufacturing and green jobs. We enthusiastically promote recycling, reuse and redistribution.

Nurturing Self-Awareness in Grade 4

Grade 4 recently completed a special 8-week class called, My Body My Friend. The class was taught by Hamlin parent, Ginger Braun.

Ms. Braun shares more:

The purpose of My Body My Friend is to inspire girls to have a loving, nurturing, and supportive relationship with their body so they can experience self-love and self-confidence, thus igniting a foundation for full self-expression. This experience is created by using a multidisciplinary approach including mindfulness, yoga, coaching tools, journaling, art, and music.  We consciously placed this program right before the health and puberty unit so the girls can use this foundation of friendship to accept the many changes her body will go through, and navigate both personal and social situations with greater ease and self-awareness. 

For example, each girl has practiced using affirmations and learned ways in which our bodies listen to us and how we need to listen to our body.  We turned up the volume of the Inner BFF and turned the volume down super low for the Inner Critic in order to practice kindness. We explored the concept of “Acceptance” and what needs to be released in order to fully move into a place of unconditional love for oneself. 

Our girls really enjoyed the various activities and exercises involved with the class.

Hamlin Student Wins Japanese Poetry Contest

Emiko K. (Grade 1) recently won a global poetry contest. Her poem was selected from over 20,000 submissions by Japanese children worldwide across several categories. Emiko speaks Japanese at home and lives in Japan every summer.

As part of their curriculum, students in Ms. Taptich’s class write “Small Moments: Stories From Our Lives.” Emiko was able to include specific details in her poem because of her in-class learning.

Below is Emiko’s winning poem.

Lammy My Treasure (Translated from Japanese)

Lammy is my treasure.
She was my mom’s stuffy.
She became mine when I found her in the secret drawer.
I was 3 years old.
She makes me feel joy and happiness.
When I’m at school my rabbit, owl, and chameleon babysit her.
She rides on the airplane with me to New York City and Japan.
Thank you so much Lammy.
I Love You.