Before we made the shift to distance learning, there was a plan to have a walking group as part of our Faculty Wellness Wednesdays. These healthy walks still took place this week, as our faculty members embraced getting outdoors.
On Wednesday afternoon, Hamlin parent Dr. Diana Montgomery met with Grade 7 students via Zoom to speak about COVID-19. Dr. Montgomery is a pediatrician with Private Medical and a Clinical Professor at UCSF.
Dr. Montgomery provided an overview of the COVID-19 pandemic and also delved into the scientific aspects of how the virus acts on a cellular level.
She made the following points among others:
-The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild, current statistics put that number at 80.9%
-Many of the COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the common cold and the flu
-COVID-19 is not as scary as Ebola, Smallpox, or MERS, but it is very contagious
-COVID-19 expands through exponential growth with infected people spreading the virus to an average of two people
-We must flattened the curve because our capacity to take care of sick people is not unlimited and can overwhelm local hospitals
-Data shows that physical distancing is working in the San Francisco Bay Area and we are effectively flattening the curve
On Tuesday of this week The Hamlin School began distance learning. This shift took place after several hours of planning and faculty training on tools like Zoom. With diligence we have been able to maintain the continuity of our educational program.
In Grade 7, Social Studies students are notified via Zoom that their class is starting. Girls quickly log into Zoom and are able to see their teacher and classmates. Classes are able to have meaningful discussions, review textbook work, and will be engaging in collaborative projects. Classes are often a hybrid, with part of the class taking place online and another part completed independently.
Students would rather be at our physical school, but when asked about the “silver lining” of this experience, students mentioned several positive aspects. They are: spending more time with family, reading more paper books because of disliking screens and technology, sleeping later, experiencing less stress because their schedules are not as busy, eating snacks whenever they want, and having time to make friendship bracelets.
To learn more about the Zoom experience, please visit: https://zoom.us/
Grade 3 students have become experts on the artist, Pablo Picasso. They have learned about Cubism, his Blue Period, and other facets about Picasso’s work.
Using tempera paint, students created Picasso-inspired pieces that currently adorn McKinne Lounge. These young artists worked diligently for 7 classes to make both the paintings and the frames. The frames were constructed from old Winterfest gingerbread house boxes.
Lower school students are learning about the fragile lifecycle of fish through their participation in a program called Trout in the Classroom.
Trout in the Classroom is a community-based program which allows students to experience first hand the delicate balance needed for animals to survive in aquatic ecosystems. Using eggs provided by a hatchery, classes set-up and maintain an aquarium for the purpose of observing the development of fish from the eyed-egg stage until they become young fry. Students engage in a course of study which supports the learning experience across curriculum area. This program is run cooperatively by local schools, fishing clubs and government agencies.
-Provide a positive learning program for classrooms on the value of aquatic ecosystems through the hatching and release of trout.
-Help students learn about their local watershed and how human activities affect the quality of water in local streams, lakes and the bay.
The 50 healthy trout eggs were received (two have died) and will hatch in the coming days. Once hatched, the fish will have their pure spring water changed twice a week, with a carefully monitored feeding schedule. Throughout the process students will see firsthand the various life stages of the trout as they move from embryonic, to hatching, to larval, to becoming juveniles.
On March 27 students are planning to go to Lake Merced in San Francisco to release the trout.
To learn more about this program, please visit: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/CAEP/R3
Classmates and family members gathered last week in Grade 2 to enjoy a wonderful poetry reading. Each girl read a poem she had written, then everyone sipped hot chocolate and read more student work.
Below is an example of one poem that was shared by Carine:
In the night.
In the morning,
This March, South African teacher Ms. Gontse Mgidi, will be sharing her talents with our Hamlin students and faculty as part of the program Teach With Africa. Ms. Mgidi is partnered with Hamlin teacher, Liana O’Brien. Hamlin has participated with Teach With Africa for several years and always welcomes the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and friendship.
Teach With Africa is a non-profit organization empowering students and teachers in a reciprocal exchange of teaching and learning in Africa and the United States. Teach With Africa seeks to reduce the embedded inequities in our societies by working to provide access to quality education in order to transform children’s lives, schools and communities.
To learn more about Teach With Africa, please visit: https://www.teachwithafrica.org/
Katie F. recently won 3rd place at the San Francisco Science Fair. Her work was selected from nearly 3,000 projects completed at schools across the city. Below is an overview of her project in her own words (lightly edited):
My goal is to find an affordable, simple, unlimited resource that can be used to filter contaminated water and give people all over the world access to clean water. After volunteering at Matter of Trust, a non-profit based in San Francisco that tackles the detrimental crisis of oil spills in our oceans using hair mats, I wondered if hair might be able to filter contaminants within dirty drinking water.
Grade 8 students have the opportunity to take a Maker elective class. This class is hands-on, dynamic, and fun. Students are able to use an assortment of materials to design and construct various creations.
Lexie made a skateboard for her project. She has been skating since she was 4 and has gone to skateboarding camps. Lexie has done ramp and street skating, but now mostly uses her boards to cruise around. She loved making the skateboard, but said that the hardest part was screwing in the trucks so that the wheels were perfectly aligned.
To learn more about our Maker Program, please visit
As a culmination of our Circulatory Unit, Grade 4 had the opportunity to dissect pig hearts. Dr. Brett Sheridan, a heart surgeon, visited the Lower School Science Lab. He answered questions about the circulatory system, as well as heart anatomy and function. Ms. Alfred, (Grade 7 science teacher), brought her class down to assist with the dissections. Ms. Ray, Ms. Gonzalez, and all of the Grade 4 learners are filled with gratitude to have had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Sheridan.
-Guest post by Ms. Irene Gonzalez