Category Archives: Awesome Academic Projects

Northern California Fires: Healing Through Writing

Sometimes I write letters to help me feel, to help me think and to help me mend. We tried this today in light of our hearts being so very broken. 
-Hamlin Grade 3 Teacher, Brandy Garcia

Designing Record Album Covers

Recently, grade 4 artists had the opportunity to design their own original artwork for record album covers. The students picked a record title out of a hat and were not allowed to look at the artwork of the real album. The girls were then challenged to design their own cover using the title. During the activity students listened to songs from each album, learning some popular music history along the way.

Building A Story Quilt

Students in Ms. Feldman’s art class are creating story quilts inspired by the work of artist Faith Ringgold.

Faith Ringgold, is a painter, writer, speaker, mixed media sculptor and performance artist who lives and works in Englewood, New Jersey. Ms. Ringgold is professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego where she taught art from 1987 until 2002. Professor Ringgold is the recipient of more than 75 awards including 22 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degrees. 

Ms. Feldman is personally enriched by Ms. Ringgold’s art. She’s an African American woman from Harlem, she was sick as a youngster, I’m inspired by her backstory. She creates art based on who she is, I want students to look at who they are.

The students wrote briefly about two memories, then chose one to sketch out in pencil. Using the sketch, students create a layered visual image from sewed and embroidered felt pieces.

Here is the draft for the work seen above.

These pieces will be displayed on the 1st floor of Stanwood in the coming weeks.

You can watch a brief interview with Faith Ringgold here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Comf9SetjRA&feature=youtu.be

 

Hamlin Students Explore Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve problems, and find desirable solutions for people. A design mindset is not merely problem-focused, it’s solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user. 

In Grade 2, students recently used Design Thinking to create stools. They determined a need in the classroom (stools that provide a unique sitting option), then made a plan for their first iteration. With the assistance of teachers, students worked with various tools (drills, staples) to stabilize plastic crates with wood, then provided padding for added comfort. In the coming days the girls will obtain user feedback, then go back to make a second improved iteration, implementing what they learned from peer comments.

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Hamlin Teachers Present Inquiry Projects

With the leadership and help of Mark Picketts, Hamlin’s Director of Program Innovation and Professional Development, teachers explored learning this year through inquiry projects that they personally designed. As action researchers, teachers used data, research, and reflection, to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. 27 participating teachers in the Inquiry Project Year shared their findings with colleagues at a year-end celebration of learning on June 19th. This type of 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:

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Grade 1 Community PBL Unit

There is so much I love about this unit. It has happened each year I have been at Hamlin, but as it is exemplary student-centered learning in action – it’s as different every year as the students who make the learning happen.

This year Rachel Davis did an incredible job in documenting the work and reflections of the Grade 1 students and their teachers, enjoy –

Thanks to all the teachers that came together and designed this learning experience!

Hamlin Travels the World with Google Expeditions

Today, Hamlin students had the opportunity to travel virtually to places like Chichen Itza, Mount Rushmore, and the village where Nelson Mandela grew up, through the technology of Google Expeditions. The immersive experience served to enhance both Spanish and Social Studies curriculum.

Google Expeditions enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places like museums, underwater, and outer space. Expeditions are collections of linked virtual reality (VR) content and supporting materials that can be used alongside existing curriculum. These trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° panoramas and 3D images — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools. There are 600 expeditions to choose from.

Students used virtual reality headsets with Android phones to bring images to life. While the girls explored various places, Hamlin teachers provided narrative information about the locales.

Hamlin faculty member Rachel Davis states, Google Expeditions give students an opportunity to explore an area through immersion, they get to be involved in the whole experience.

Hamlin 5th graders loved Google Expeditions. We liked how we can see structures from both a side view and from above, it was like going on a learning vacation without getting on a plane.

Below is a video of Hamlin 3rd graders exploring Mount Rushmore:

To learn more about Google Expeditions, please visit: https://edu.google.com/expeditions/#about

 

 

Project Based PD: Designing A Mini-Golf Course in 2nd Grade

Under the leadership of Mark Picketts, Hamlin’s Director of Program Innovation and Professional Development, teachers have been exploring and learning this year through inquiry projects that they personally design. As action researchers, teachers use data, research, and reflection to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. All teachers who participate in the Inquiry Project Year will share their findings with their colleagues at a year-end celebration of learning.

As part of her inquiry year, physical education teacher Terry McDonald created a dynamic project that allowed 2nd graders to design their own miniature golf courses. With the help of funds from Hamlin’s Raise the Paddle, Ms. McDonald was able to purchase mini-golf starter kits, she then partnered with Urban Putt in San Francisco so students could conduct research at their facility, while playing a round. The golf project integrated disciplines, combining technology, student-made video tutorials, tracking the design process via their iPads, while incorporating the geometric angles of math, all within the context of sport. Through the project, students were able to learn about golf, golf etiquette, while collaborating to make their courses as challenging as possible.

 

Watch this amazing integration project with second graders documented as part of Hamlin’s Project Based Professional Development program:
(link for internal users only)

Hamlin’s 5th Grade Forum

Last Friday Hamlin held an incredible interdisciplinary learning extravaganza called 5th Grade Forum. The event was well-attended by Hamlin parents who were eager to learn.

5th graders were divided into 4 groups based on geographic regions of the United States: Northeast, Southeast, 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, Music. During the month-long exploration, students had the opportunity to create collages, websites, plays, and magazines.

The following is some of what the girls showcased:

-Two plays (based on the books Home of the Brave and The Circuit) were performed in the spirit of word-for-word works, first created by Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre, a theater company which believes that great books make great theater. The plays delved into understanding immigration and refugee experiences in the United States.

-Four regional magazines with featured articles on various topics, created through Lucidpress technology

-Region-based landscape collages that demonstrated an understanding of scale and proportion

-Websites and posters about water conservation and understanding one’s own water footprint

-A student performance of Faith Hill’s song, American Heart

Special thanks to all of the faculty members who made this Forum possible: Nick Wilsey, Lauren DeLisle, Rachel Kerkhoff, Jackson Blum, Maggie Jo Feldman, Heidi Abbott, and Will Skaff.

Watch the short video below to hear a student reflection about the Forum:

To learn more about Lucidpress, please visit: https://www.lucidpress.com/pages/usecase/education

 

 

Inquiry Project Year and Environmental Stewardship

Under the leadership of Mark Picketts, Hamlin’s Director of Program Innovation and Professional Development, teachers have been exploring and learning this year through inquiry projects that they personally design. As action researchers, teachers use data, research, and reflection to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. All teachers who participate in the Inquiry Project Year will share their findings with their colleagues at a year-end celebration of learning.

As part of her project year, Ms. Ray (Lower School Science Teacher) developed a K-4 environmental stewardship field trip strand to inspire an appreciation of biodiversity and give students opportunities to take action to create positive change in our community. The strand begins in kindergarten and first grade by exploring local habitats and learning about plant and animal adaptations for survival. These concepts develop a sense of place and community for our youngest scientists and expose them to the idea that everything is interconnected on our planet. Second, third, and fourth grade scientists further develop their understanding of interconnections leading them to want to take action in the form of environmental stewardship.

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