Author Archives: polk@hamlin.org

Connections: Artwork from Grade 5

Grade 5 art students couldn’t be physically together these past weeks, but they still remained connected through the creative process and sharing work online.

Ms. Feldman met with her students via Zoom to set up the template for the above drawing. The template involved measuring 3.25 inches from the top of each side of the drawing where ribbon would start and end. Components of the piece included: their hand, their name, and 6 sections filled with a pattern. Students then worked independently at home and shared their completed artwork with each other online.

Influential Women in History Project (2020)

In previous years our Grade 4 students have taken the stage at the Century Club to pay tribute to historic and influential women. This year our celebration moves online, but the project continues with great success.

Grade 4 shares the following:

It is with great honor and respect that we pay tribute to our dear former teacher, Ms. Micha, for bringing this project to life year after year. We feel honored to be the 32nd annual class to present our Influential Women in History Project. We pay tribute, not only to the women who came before us in history, but also to the 1,472 Hamlin sisters in the last 32 years. These challenging times put us on a mission: to show that we can overcome obstacles just like the women we researched. 

This year’s online format features a video of each student speaking in character as their influential woman. Other components include: art artifacts, quotes, lyrics, and fictionalized Instagram accounts with fun visuals and inspiring posts.

This year girls are representing the following women:

Margaret Brend, Inez Milholland, Alice Paul, Julia Child, Melinda Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah Winfrey, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Bethany Hamilton, Florence Joyner, Serena Williams, Misty Copeland, Billie Jean King, Simone Biles, Raven Wilkinson, Cheryl Miller, Mia Hamm, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Rachel Carson, Elizabeth Blackwell, Sally Ride, Helen Taussig, Katherine Johnson, Brit Jepson d’Arbeloff, Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton, Julia Morgan, Nellie Bly, Georgia O’Keeffe, Audrey Hepburn, Maya Lin, Jacqueline Kennedy, Janet Mock, Nancy Pelosi, Ruby Bridges, Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Deborah Sampson, Abigail Adams, Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Helen Keller, Josephine Baker

-The colorful artwork (above) is entitled “Women Pioneers” by Kaitlyn S.

McQuadle: Hamlin’s Very First Zoom Play

Students in our After School Academy Theater Production class (Grades 3 and 4) never wavered in their commitment to make a first historic Zoom play happen. Creating McQuadle took an enormous amount of hard work, persistence, and flexibility from everyone who was involved, including parents. Many hours of filming both inside and outside of Tuesday classes made this play possible during a very challenging time. It took about 30 minutes per page to film (24 pages total). Every scene was filmed at least 2 times after being rehearsed, and then the best video was used.

More about McQuadle:

You’ll find tons of silliness packed into this charming comedy that has a little something for everyone and even a nice moral.  McQuadle is a dragon who wants to know his purpose in life, and he will go to almost any length to find it out — even if it means visiting an Evil Queen who lives in a castle on top of the hill.  When he arrives, McQuadle learns that the Queen has lured him there for her own secret purposes, and she doesn’t intend on letting him get back home at all.  But McQuadle promised his mother he’d be home for dinner!  Two storytellers with crazy personalities of their own lead the audience through this fun adventure.

-Special thanks to Meher (’20), Alayna (’21), Kate (’16), Mr. Louie, and of course Ms. Abbott, who all helped make this production possible.

Science at Hamlin: An Interview with Konika Ray

Konika Ray is in her 15th year teaching Lower School science at The Hamlin School. She has a diverse background growing up in Beaufort, SC, Buffalo, NY, Metairie, LA, and Herndon, VA. She attended seven different schools from Kindergarten through High School. She earned her BA from Virginia Tech in Wildlife Science with a minor in Biology, later receiving her Master’s degree from University of San Francisco.

What do you love about teaching science at Hamlin? 

Science is so hands-on and fun! As Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus says we get to “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” Our students absolutely love it and their passion for science inspires me to keep learning and innovating our program. Science is constantly evolving so the content is always changing which makes it exciting.

As a scientist, Hamlin mother, and teacher, how do you talk about COVID-19 with younger students? 

I focus on silver linings and having gratitude that we are safe and healthy. I also emphasize ways we can reduce our risk of exposure and strengthen our immune systems. The pandemic is a powerful teachable moment that has the potential to deeply engrain healthy nutrition and hygiene habits from this point forward.

Given your life background, tell us your perspective on Hamlin’s upcoming Adventure Year.

I went to several different schools when I was younger. I have also had seven different office / classroom spaces at Hamlin, including the middle school science labs, movement lab, and the learning center. One could say I’m an expert at moving and that I embrace change and uncertainty. I taught at NatureBridge before Hamlin and I love being outdoors so I am so excited about the proximity to Crissy Fields and the Presidio Native Plant Nursery. I’m hoping to tap into opportunities for ongoing habitat restoration projects in the Presidio.

Tell us about your environmental activism work at Hamlin.

Ms. Gonzalez and I like to celebrate Earth Day every day! This year, we especially enjoyed teaching our students about climate change and participating in the march in our neighborhood. For my project year, I developed a K-4 Environmental Stewardship scope and sequence including fun field trips all over the Bay Area. I’m also really passionate about solar energy and other renewable energy sources. I always tell our students, “Ms. Ray loves sun rays!” I built a solar oven and when we have hot weather in the fall, I love using the solar oven to bake cookies with our students.

Environmentally speaking, what makes you optimistic about the future?

The coronavirus pandemic has given us a glimpse that our collective actions can have a dramatically positive impact on our planet. For the first time on record, the U.S. is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal. The global air quality has never been better. Most importantly, we have become conscious consumers focused on buying locally and supporting small local businesses. So many folks have taken an interest in gardening that Bay area plant nurseries recorded a 300% increase in sales. I am hopeful that the silver lining of this challenging time is that we see the profound implications of being conscious of our footprints and we step mindfully moving forward.

Chalk Pastel Drawings with Grade 6

This spring in Studio Art girls created realistic paper airplane drawings with chalk pastel.

Escape Room Challenge With Grade 7

On Friday Grade 7 students participated in a fun Escape Room activity as a way of celebrating the end of regular academic classes, and the beginning of Rise To The Challenge (a two week intensive group project).

The whole grade was split into 9 teams on Zoom, then girls went into various virtual rooms to complete faculty-led challenges. In the rooms students did things like sing Cyndi Lauper with a spoon on their nose, and play “horse” with balled up socks. Some rooms emphasized creative writing, others focused on teamwork and communication. Whatever the challenge, girls worked to finish the task quickly, because they were timed against each other in a friendly competition. The overall goal was to have fun and escape out of the various rooms using good humor and a growth mindset. The day concluded with a festive awards ceremony complete with heartfelt and laughter-filled student speeches.

Grade 7 Westward Road Trip Via Zoom

Grade 7 students have been studying westward expansion. To better get to know our United States, they designed and mapped out their very own modern road trips. As part of the journey students did the following:

-Picked a theme (historical sites, mountains, rivers, cities, national parks, concert venues, restaurants etc.)

-Selected a specific vehicle for the road trip: Van, SUV, Camper Bus, etc.

-Started anywhere on the east coast, travelled up to 300 miles a day, described the route with a map and directions, ending on the west coast

-Explained one specific historical event associated with each stop. Examples: battle sites, city origin stories, birthplaces of famous Americans, information about Native American groups that lived in that area, etc.

-Shared one fun activity they participated in during each stop

-Created an original road trip song

Students uploaded beautiful photos and worked on their road trips in Zoom break out rooms. The final projects were presented live and received “real time” positive peer feedback.

Teachers Engage With Strategies For Online Learning

This morning Middle School teachers participated in an engaging professional development meeting focused on assessing learning during online instruction. This workshop was led by Challenge Success.

At Challenge Success, we provide schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids. We work with teams of educators, parents, and students at schools to identify problems and implement best practices and policies in areas such as curriculum, assessment, homework, school schedule, and a healthy school climate.

The workshop provided “grab and go” practical strategies that teachers can implement in the coming days.

Among the many topics of exploration, the workshop addressed the following:

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Makers Create Inventions At Home

Mr. Louie’s Grade 7 students have been busy making various functional projects. They have been working with: Rube Goldberg Machines, LED Circuit Cards, and Cardboard Hats.

A Rube Goldberg Machine is something intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way. Among other tasks, students developed elaborate ways to turn off lights using dominoes, weights, and rolling balls.

Students used LED Circuit Cards designed to light up photos of loved ones with the push of a button.

Students also creatively designed Cardboard Hats painted to express artistic whimsy and individuality.

Virtual Career Day With Hamlin Alumnae

On May 1 the Class of 2020 met with 16 remarkable Hamlin alumnae to talk about the values that shape a life path and what it means to be a Hamlin girl out in the world beyond our walls.

Before meeting, the alums and students filled out their own bios answering questions about personal values and interests. They were put into groups based on these shared values. In her opening remarks, Ms. Holland Greene reminded students that a career and a job are different and are both important pieces of living a value-driven life.

The discussions were focused around the personal values the students and the alumnae hold and how these shape choices and paths that don’t always look clear and straight. As I popped into breakout rooms (2 alums and 6-7 students in each room), I uniformly heard deep reflections on the joys, obstacles and choices that come in life, and the way the skills learned at Hamlin – resilience, work ethic, flexibility, honesty, respect for equity and inclusion – are essential in our changing world.

The wisdom in those Zoom rooms was truly impressive. We are so very proud of this Class of 2020 already – they are truly special – seeing them in a space full of the remarkable women who came before them, we can see how they will shape the world in ways that are both beautiful and appropriate to who they truly are. In this time of pandemic, it was a wonderful reminder that a Hamlin education can help transcend all obstacles- Hamlin students are truly meeting the challenges of their time in so many forms.

It was so incredible hearing the many skills and lessons these women have learned from Hamlin that still continue to resonate with them and have allowed them to be who they are today. –Lexie G.

The following alums shared their time and wisdom with our students:

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