Hamlin Teachers Present Action-Research Projects

For the second year, Hamlin teachers delved into reflective learning through inquiry projects that they personally designed. Teachers used data, research, and reflection, to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. 24 teachers participated in the Inquiry Project Year, sharing their findings with colleagues at a year-end celebration on June 14. This reflective work serves to make Hamlin a learning institution that continues to grow and strive for excellence in a variety of areas.

The following are just some of the topics that were covered:

Michelle Lovejoy and Rachel Davis developed an interactive Outdoor Ed portal on Hamlinet that shares photos, videos, and other content from all outdoor ed trips.

Gillian Curran designed part of STEM Night to center her classroom on student-led teaching and student-created materials.

Kylie Cobb and Alison Kutnick created an interdisciplinary Social Emotional Unit of Study, specifically for Grade 1, in order to provide students with tools and life skills to support themselves in 6 focus areas: Friendships, Kindness and Respect, Conflict Resolution, Building Confidence, Feelings, Mindfulness, and Resilience.

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Demonstrating Knowledge: Rise To the Challenge in Grade 7

Rise To the Challenge is the intensive for our Grade 7 students 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. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

Grade 7 students have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.

This year’s topics were: Technology and Well-being, LBGTQ+ Rights, Oceans and Plastics, Oceans and Overfishing, Cancer Prevention, Digital Privacy and Cybersecurity, Gun Violence and School Shootings, Stress Prevention, Post-Antibiotic Era, Mass Incarceration of People of Color, Access to Education for Rohingya Girls in Bangladesh.

Many teams used technology to generate awareness, including: videos, websites, blogs, Twitter, Change.org, and Instagram. One group made their own “zero waste” whipped lotion, mascara, toothpaste, and deodorant. Another group made wooden shark earrings to raise awareness about the unethical fishing for shark fins.

The Stress Prevention group explored meditation as a way to help solve their problem. In the video below students speak firsthand about stress and how meditation helps them.

Demonstrating Leadership: Symposium in Grade 6

Symposium is the intensive for our Grade 6 students 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. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

In Ancient Greece, a Symposium was a regular meeting where men discussed problems. Today, a symposium is a formal meeting where multiple specialists deliver short addresses on a topic.

The Symposium presented topics focused on this year’s theme empathy + knowledge= hope. The event took place at the Century Club and shared information about: personal and social identity, the concept of privilege, the partition of India, access to water in India and various countries in Africa, human trafficking, the danger of a single story, women micro-entrepreneurs and their roles in developing Africa, the Cultural Revolution, representation of women and people of color in Hollywood, the role of education, the role of propaganda in government, and globalization.

Alice shares: For our final unit, we devoted ourselves to creating today’s show. Individually, we considered the many topics we could go into greater depth about, and we got sorted into our small groups with a specific presentation format to follow. We studied our kind of presentation, making sure we understood the ways that song lyrics or PSA imagery or a 21/20 episode are strongest and have greatest impact. We researched our topic in depth, and we put together a draft of our presentation. Next, we revised and revised our work — and then reconsidered and revised it some more. 

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Farewell: An Interview with Jane Hillegas-Stommel

Beloved Grade 4 teacher Jane Hillegas-Stommel is retiring this June. We had the opportunity to interview her.

How long have you been teaching at Hamlin? What has changed and what has remained constant in terms of our program?

21 years.  Coreen Hester hired me.  Judy Ching and I started the same year!

Our commitment to excellence has remained constant.  When I started, a published scope and sequence did not exist.  I am proud to have been a part of that work. In the Lower School, we adopted a language arts and a math curriculum.  The teaching of reading and writing is now standardized across grade levels. All grades utilize the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project materials. Math continues to get stronger and stronger. K-4 uses the Bridges in Math program. Most recently, we have been integrating the work of Jo Boaler and Cathy Fosnot into the Bridges curriculum.  We also adopted a social and emotional curriculum called “ToolBox.” I am glad that we send girls better equipped socially and emotionally to navigate the challenges of Middle School.

Share a favorite memory from your earlier days working at Hamlin.

I have fond memories of all the National Maritime Marine Association “Age of Sail” overnight field trips on the C.A. Thayer and Balclutha ships at the Hyde Street Pier.  I remember waking up before dawn and watching the sun rise over the City, as I stood on board the Thayer. On another trip, the girls were remarkably resilient, doing the work of their respective crews in drenching rain!

What have you most enjoyed during your time teaching at Hamlin?

I am proud that there are girls who can say, “I have been changed for the better.” Differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all kinds of learners has given me great satisfaction.  I have loved providing appropriate levels of challenge, as well as accommodating and supporting a variety of learning styles.

What advice to you have for a newer teacher arriving to Hamlin?

Life at Hamlin goes at a fast pace.  Don’t get so caught up in the pace that you forget the things that really matter.  Build authentic connections with your colleagues and the girls. Take care of your own wellness.  Advocate for change that helps Hamlin just get better and better.

How would you define a Hamlin girl?

Having put my own daughters, who are now 23 and 24, through Hamlin, I can speak personally about the definition of a Hamlin girl.  Hamlin girls are smart and think critically. They are good public speakers and know how to advocate for themselves. Hamlin girls start high school ahead.  They are organized and know how to study. Hamlin girls see themselves as global citizens and care about social justice.

What are your plans for next year and beyond?

I am working right now with a career counselor, identifying skills I have honed at Hamlin.  I plan to use these skills in a new sphere, possibly doing nonprofit or public policy work. I am going to mix things up for the last few years of my work life.

Hamlin Builds Furniture for Homeless Families

A dedicated and altruistic group of Grade 8 students recently made high quality furniture pieces for Hamilton Families. Hamilton Families is a leading service provider to homeless families, with an array of highly effective programs at sites in San Francisco and Oakland.

This project was spearheaded by Hamlin math teacher, Sheena Tart-Zelvin. She shares:

As a means of launching the school year and framing the material we would be learning, the Integrated Geometry class spent the first few days of school brainstorming ways in which they could use their math skills to benefit the San Francisco community. The idea that won out in the end was to build pieces of furniture and donate them to organizations that provide housing like Hamilton Families.

In the second trimester students learned about the 5 forces of engineering, explored the basics of woodworking, designed a piece of furniture they could build, and sketched the design with all of its measurements. This preparation allowed the students to start building on day one of trimester 3. That is when Mr. Louie (Maker Teacher) joined the project and worked closely with the girls as they measured pieces of wood, used power tools, sanded, painted, and slowly but surely brought their vision to life.

The following items were made: a coat hanger and bench, a kitchen cart, a desk, a table with two chairs, and a desk that folds up and hangs from a wall. We are planning on delivering the furniture this week.

To learn more about our Maker Program, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/program/technology-and-innovation/maker-program

 

Hamlin Kindergarteners Make A Bakery

A Hamlin Kindergarten class (Ortiz/Burnett) has been focusing their emergent class study on baking. This study is based on student interest through questions, observations, and curiosity. When possible, baking has been integrated into various aspects of class, including math, science, and writing. The girls have also been baking bread all year long with a bread-making machine.

Their study culminated with creating an actual bakery. Rainbow the Bakery opened June 1, and will be operating during the early part of this month. The girls have been busy refining their baking skills and are very excited to share their passion with customers.

The money raised from the items purchased at Rainbow the Bakery will be donated to Cake4Kids. Cake4Kids is a nonprofit in the Bay Area that provides birthday cakes for children in youth programs who would not otherwise have the opportunity for such a treat. Part of their mission is to: Bake and deliver custom birthday cakes to underprivileged children. We raise children’s self-esteem by simply showing we care.

To learn more about Cake4Kids please visit: http://www.cake4kids.org/

 

Hamlin Kindergarteners Visit the Curran Theatre

This week a class of Hamlin kindergarteners had the opportunity to visit the Curran Theatre. Earlier in the year some of our students watched a performance of the musical Bright Star at the theatre. On another occasion many of our girls sang at the theatre as part of the new season launch. We are very excited about this vibrant and ongoing partnership with the Curran.

Built in 1922, the Curran has housed some of the biggest productions in theater history and has maintained a reputation over the course of its life as one of the premier live entertainment venues in North America. Now, almost a century after it welcomed its first Bay Area audiences, the Curran has just completed a major restoration and renovation. Under the curation of eight-time Tony Award-winner Carole Shorenstein Hays, the Curran reopened its 1,600 seat venue in January 2017 with the groundbreaking musical FUN HOME. Now, the Curran is offering our first ever subscription offering. #CURRAN2018 is a full season of jaw-dropping theater, entertainment and artistry that offers four new works by some of the world’s most celebrated theater artists and an eclectic line-up of special events.

Kindergarten teacher Ms. Phillips shares more about their visit:

The girls got the chance to sit in the balcony and learned about the history of the theatre and some fun facts- it opened in 1922 ​and the chandelier weighs as much as a car (over 4000 lbs) and can only be moved up and down by a hand crank! There is no play going on at the moment, so the stage was empty and the girls not only had the opportunity to explore the stage, but were also able to perform the plays they have been working on! After their quick performances, we got to go backstage and learn about how the scenes and different props are brought down and lifted up, and went into the “star” dressing room.

This was an amazing culminating field trip for our emergent unit on acting!

To learn more about the Curran Theatre, please visit: https://sfcurran.com/

Hamlin Student Visiting Refugee Camp in Bangladesh

A Grade 7 Hamlin student is visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh this summer. Speaking to her classmates, Cassidy shared her passion to make a difference in another part of the world. Cassidy spoke about how child refugees often become victims of human trafficking, something she learned about in her Grade 6 social studies class.

The humanitarian crisis caused by escalating violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is causing suffering on a catastrophic scale. As of 24 May, there are an estimated 905,000 refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Not only has the pace of arrivals since 25 August made this the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, the concentration of refugees in Cox’s Bazar is now amongst the densest in the world. Refugees arriving in Bangladesh—mostly women and children—are traumatized, and some have arrived with injuries caused by gunshots, shrapnel, fire and landmines. –United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

There are 500,000 children in the refugee camp that she will visit. “Most of the kids are not being educated and many do not have parents, they are orphans who are simply assigned a family to live with.”

Cassidy will bring an altruistic presence and help younger children practice their English during her time at the refugee camp.

After her presentation Cassidy distributed paper for Hamlin students to make cards for the refugee children.

“We are showing the children that they are not alone in the world and that we care about them.”

For more information about the refugee crisis, please visit: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-29/pregnant-rohingya-refugees-facing-monsoon-see-donor-funds-dry-up

 

Hamlin Turns Old Uniforms Into Art

Over the years, Ms. Ching has supervised the lost and found bins. Among the many items discovered in the bins are Hamlin uniforms. Periodically these old uniforms are shredded in order to make space for other things. As students learn to recycle, reuse and repurpose to help save the planet, it became evident that these abandoned Hamlin uniforms could be turned into something beautiful and artistic. Grade 7 art students selected one of these middies and created a unique self-portrait using symbols, words, and images. Designs were embroidered on the shirts, giving new life to these forgotten articles of clothing.

Thank you, Ms. Ching for your support of this art project and for your vigilance in finding homes for all the lost and found items.

Hamlin Students Design Dynamic Apps

On Thursday, Grade 7 App Design and Development students showcased their culminating work to members of Hamlin’s Board of Trustees and various faculty. The semester long course started with identifying real world problems and researching existing options for solving those problems. Students then came up with their own solutions focusing on a minimum viable product (MVP). They created a digital prototype of their app using Balsamiq Mockups and Code.org’s App Lab to design and code their apps in JavaScript.

The following apps were shared and demonstrated:

Mayn Task: Allows users to pair timed tasks with music from a playlist.

Seen: Allows users to set up reminders for when to change their contact lenses.

Movie Meter: Allows users to select movies tailored to fit their mood.

Anchor: Allows users to de-stress by selecting from a menu of healthy options.

Lemon: Allows users to hire chefs to prepare meals for them.

Below is a video clip of Mayn Task showing their demo: