The Hamlin Ocean: Merging of Art & Science

The Hamlin Ocean is an interdisciplinary, cross grade level collaboration of young artists and scientists created for this year’s Ocean Awareness eco-theme.

Using recyclable materials, Kindergarten artists created papier maché sea turtles, penguins, dolphins, and seals. In science class, they learned about the layers of the ocean, and made intertidal zone animals.

First Grade scientists sewed bioluminescent fish with adaptations for survival using copper tape, LED lights, coin cell batteries, and felt. In art class, they designed ceramic dolphin and penguin bells.

Second Grade artists designed bioluminescent jellyfish using recycled vinyl and paper lanterns. In science, they experimented with neutral buoyancy and plankton.

Using recycled cardboard and paint, Third Grade artists engineered sea creatures in relief sculpture. In science, they added circuitry to the sculptures using copper tape, LED stickers, and coin cell batteries.

Fourth Grade artists studied the texture and shape of starfish and created ceramic starfish sculptures. In science, they learned about Dr. Sylvia Earle’s ocean exploration and used Book creator, Pages, or Canva to make posters with inspiring quotes and facts.

This beautifully intricate display will be showing in Mckinne Lounge through our Earth Day celebration on April 27.

You can see the underwater world in this video:

Parenting During Turbulent Times: A Conversation

On April 10, forty people gathered at The Hamlin School for a rich discussion focused on parenting during stressful times. The world has always contained choppy waters, but current “challenges of our time” bring the turbulence of ecological disasters, school shootings, sexual harassment, institutional racism, and other ongoing events that erode our resilience.

Wanda M. Holland Greene and Nisa Frank led a profound conversation focused on parenting with perspective, reflection, and optimism.

Here are some of the core ideas that surfaced:

-There is a delicate balance between protecting innocence and having a child be ignorant.

-It is important to have a plan for discussing current events with your child.

-Turbulent times exist in the neighborhoods of some children.

-We must continue to ask questions about our own fears. Underneath our fear of school shootings is the idea that not everyone in our society is well. Rather than get into all of the specifics about shootings, we can lead from our value of “equity” and tell our children that there are unwell people with unmet needs.

-Rather than allowing fear to rule our thinking about homelessness, we can teach our children empathy, optimism, and compassion to act to help others.

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Surfrider Foundation Speaks at Hamlin

On April 6, Eva Holman from Surfrider Foundation spoke with our middle school students. This year we have had several speakers focused on our Ocean Awareness eco-theme. Ms. Holman added to the conversation with a clear passion for preserving our Oceans.

Surfrider is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches that provide us so much enjoyment. We ensure clean water, healthy ocean and coastlines and accessible beaches for all to enjoy by finding lasting solutions to the threats our ocean faces.

Ms. Holman made the following key points (among others):

-Landfill is where our garbage is dumped and indefinitely preserved in anaerobic environments. When I say anaerobic I mean we pile layer after layer of garbage creating this mummified tomb that pollutes the ground and the air.

-Recycling makes us feel good right? So happy that here in California we have such great recycling programs. There’s an unfortunate truth about recycling, we should really call it hope cycling or wish cycling, where when you throw something into a recycling bin you should make a wish and hope that it gets recycled.

-Of the 300 million tons of plastics that are produced annually in the United States only 10% are actually captured for recycling.

-To complicate things more, there are many different types of plastic that melt at different rates. Each time a plastic is processed for recycling it loses integrity and becomes a lesser quality product. A plastic bottle isn’t recycled into another plastic bottle, it’s down cycled into something like a plastic bag that is just eventual garbage. 

-The great Pacific garbage patch is twice the size of Texas. There are five main subtropical oceanic convergent zones, which is to say where currents meet and create a whirlpool effect. These are called 5 gyres. The debris that is carried into these gyres is not floating at the top but rather suspended throughout the entire water column. 

-Plastic is mistaken for food. Researchers have been documenting the ingestion of plastics by all manner of sea life, from zooplankton to whales and all the creatures in between

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Hamlin Participates In The Film: “If I Were The President”

On April 5, filmmaker Anna Sergeeva and her team interviewed 18 Hamlin grade 7 students. Each student was asked to share what she would do or change as the President of the United States.

We hear endless opinions about politics from adults, but the voices of our youth are often missing.

If I Were The President is a nation-wide art project that asks youth under 18 years old what they would change if they were the President of the United States. 

In December 2018, all these messages will be delivered to the White House in hopes of making a strong, poetic statement about a future worth fighting for together.

The Hamlin School was Ms. Sergeeva’s first stop in a journey that will take her all around the United States interviewing young people from: Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and New York. The completed short film will be shown in San Francisco this June.

To learn more about the film project, please visit: http://annasergeeva.com/if-i-were-the-president/

View the trailer for the film here:

 

Interview with Hamlin Math Enthusiast: Gillis Kallem

Gillis Kallem is our Lower School math specialist, this is her 11th year at Hamlin.

1. When and how did you fall in love with math?

When I was a kid in school I enjoyed math, it came to me easily and made me feel good about myself. I could see relationships with numbers. I fell in love with math again when I was training to be a teacher. I loved the beauty of teaching math.

2. What is your role in the Lower School?

Guiding the grade level teachers, looking at best practices, including how we develop numeracy for students. I also think about students developmentally, how and when do they acquire their skills? I help with differentiation of instruction, and co-teach inquiry sessions where students are given a problem, but no one tells them how to do it, they have multiple entry points and multiple strategies for solving it. I believe in a growth mindset, and work to elucidate what math is, for both teachers and students.

3. Explain one way that you enjoy supporting math learning.

I love it when a student becomes fully engaged during an inquiry investigation because the solution is open to interpretation, and they have an entry point. It is very fulfilling to watch a student become a leader really doing math with a purpose.

4. Who has influenced you in the math world?

Cathy Fosnot, Jo Boaler, Pam Harris, Graham Fletcher. These are the people I follow on YouTube and I read their blogs. Cathy taught me that when children are engaged with math in a meaningful context they become fully immersed and curious. These people believe that math should be taught for a reason, for a purpose.

5. Finish this sentence. Exploring math is like_____________________________________

a journey into the known and unknown simultaneously. Along the way you stumble across unexpected places and experiences, and the exploration is exciting and inspiring.

6. What is one goal for a Hamlin student completing our lower school math program?

Macro: They are willing to persevere when confronting seemingly impossible problems.

Micro: They are able to work with numbers easily and figure out efficient strategies appropriate for a given mathematical situation.

To learn more about Ms. Kallem’s approach to math, please read: http://www.hamlinblog.org/blog/2014/10/03/first-comes-number-sense-gillis-kallem/

 

 

Trout in the Classroom at Hamlin

During the month of March, Grade 3 students learned 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.

Objectives:

-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 trout eggs were received at the beginning of March and hatched near the end of the month. Two of the fish were born with spinal defects, but the rest did well. The fish had their pure spring water changed twice a week, and had a carefully monitored feeding schedule. Throughout the process students were able to see firsthand the various life stages of the trout as they moved from embryonic, to hatching, to larval, to becoming juveniles.

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Women Writers of Color Speak Truth at Hamlin

On March 30, seven powerful women shared personal narratives, speaking about truth, identity, gender, resilience, and inner strength. These women were unified by the dynamic vision of Deborah Santana, who recently brought together the voices of 69 writers in the beautiful anthology, All the Women in My Family Sing.

All the Women in My Family Sing is a vital collection of prose and poetry by women of color, with topics that range from the pressures of being the vice-president of a Fortune 500 Company, to escaping the killing fields of Cambodia, to the struggles inside immigration, identity, romance and self-worth. The brief, trenchant essays capture the aspirations and wisdom of these powerful women as they exercise autonomy, creativity, and dignity and build bridges to heal the brokenness in today’s turbulent world.

The following writers shared from their work:

Vicki L. Ward, Shizue Seigel, Kira Lynne Allen, Maria Ramos Chertok, Nayomi Munaweera, Randi Bryant-Agenbroad, and Hamlin’s own, Wanda M. Holland Greene.

Below are some quotations and topics that surfaced:

-“Standing in our truth, is also standing in our power.”

-“One woman speaks her truth and the world splits open.”

-“I would have told my younger self that her body belonged only to herself.”

-“I started to get assimilation fatigue and had to be the complete me.”

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Exploring the United States with 5th Grade Forum

On March 29, Hamlin held an incredible interdisciplinary learning extravaganza known as 5th Grade Forum. The event was well attended by Hamlin parents who were eager to learn from their daughters. 5th Grade Forum is the first of the Intensives for Middle School. Intensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. Grade 6 students will participate in a Symposium, Grade 7 in Rise to the Challenge, while Grade 8 students will put on an entire musical (Legally Blonde this year).

For the Forum, Grade 5 students were divided into 3 groups based on geographic regions of the United States: Northeast, Midwest, and West. Once in their groups, students set out to become regional experts through a project based learning approach. The Forum incorporated various facets of the following disciplines: Humanities, Math, Science, Art, and Music. During the month-long exploration, students had the opportunity to create collages, math problems, poems, spoken word, and detailed magazines with comprehensive articles.

The magazines had articles covering the following topics: History, Current Events, Travel, Animals, Sports, Environment, Food, Art, Economy, and Cities.

Below is an excerpt from one of the history articles.

Inspiration for the Fortune Cookie:

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OneProsper Visits The Hamlin School

On March 27, we welcomed OneProsper Board Member, Shailendra Gupta.

OneProsper International is working to empower girls in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India to break the cycle of poverty. Our holistic solution brings clean water, education and better nutrition to underprivileged girls living in the Thar Desert. 

In September 2017, OneProsper International began construction of rainwater harvesting tanks for 30 families in the Thar Desert which will impact 60 girls. The tanks were completed in January 2018 and the girls started attending school February 2018.

Grade 6 Social Studies students are studying the Eastern Hemisphere and the issue of water scarcity in countries like South Sudan and India. As part of their learning experience they are focusing on the struggle of women in the northern Thar Desert where resources are scarce, forcing girls to forgo school in order to walk long distances to get water for their families. Last year we partnered with the nonprofit OneProsper in order to help girls attend school.

This year in honor of International Women’s Day (March 8th), Grade 6 students raised money through a bake sale for OneProsper. Salesforce visited with students and introduced them to their Trailhead technology to create an app to improve bake sale results. There are four more bake sales scheduled.

Mr. Gupta spoke about the importance of OneProsper’s work, outlining the following challenges and solutions:

Challenges:

-Clean Water
-Lack of access to clean water results in water borne disease (diarrhea)
-Lack of education for girls
-Girls wake up at 4-5 am and walk several hours to collect water from a pond
-Low crop yields results in poor nutrition and low incomes

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Interview with Ade Avela Nanti (Teach With Africa)

1) What have you enjoyed about your time at Hamlin?

I have enjoyed the conversations I have had with the teachers and learners at Hamlin. Through them I have learned a great deal about the school and their involvement in their communities.

2) What have you enjoyed about your time in California?

My host family car ride chats, the food and the beautiful landscapes, the friendly people who are always eager to help and share a story whether at the grocery store or bus stop.

3) What is one thing that surprised you about your experience?

How technologically advanced the people in the city are, young and mature, they are in touch and clued up about the available technology of today.

4) Based on your observations, how would you describe a Hamlin girl?

Confident and a mindful global citizen, they are not only aware of themselves but they deeply care about the world and people at large.

5) What knowledge/wisdom/realization from your visit do you hope to continue to explore back in South Africa?

Learning is like building blocks and there should be a purpose for the concepts taught to learners. We should know why we teach the content we teach before the how. Hamlin has an extraordinary way of capturing this concept of education as a set of building blocks.

Learn more about Ms. Nanti’s visit in this video: