Category Archives: Global Citizenship

Students Win 1st Place at International Ocean Film Festival

On March 11, four dynamic Grade 7 filmmakers won first place in the middle school student section of the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival held in San Francisco, California. Allie, Avery, Dani, and Helena, were recognized for their film, Strawbucks.

Strawbucks is a short film that interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The film utilizes interviews with Hamlin students to create a powerful narrative, urging viewers to replace their plastic straws with ones that are more environmentally friendly (metal, glass).

You can watch the film below:

Hamlin Attends International Ocean Film Festival

On March 8, Hamlin students walked a mile down the hill to the Cowell Theater (Fort Mason) to watch films from the 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival. The films provided inspiration and crucial information, a perfect fit for this year’s eco-theme focused on Ocean-Awareness.

The International Ocean Film Festival is:

Dedicated to using film as a medium to increase public awareness of the environmental, social, and cultural importance of marine ecosystems and foster a spirit of ocean stewardship, IOFF is now the premier venue in North America for ocean-related films.

Every year, IOFF produces an acclaimed festival of ocean-themed films from all over the world that are largely unavailable to the general public. Themes range from marine science and industry to sports and adventure. We look for films that entertain, educate, and encourage active participation in ocean conservation.

Students watched several films from all over the world. Highlights included learning:

-How the bodies of pelicans dive into the water at 45mph

-About the declining population of sharks in the region of Borneo

-About coral restoration projects, and how coral is vital to the ocean’s ecosystem

-About Mexican fishing bats and their nightly excursions to feed on fish

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Hamlin Celebrates International Women’s Day

In honor of International Women’s Day, Grade 6 students raised money through a bake sale for the nonprofit OneProsper, an organization that supports the education of girls in rural India.

Money raised from the bake sale will go toward funding girls’ education in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, India. Girls in that region must walk several hours a day to get water for their families.  Bake sale funds will provide the resources necessary for these girls to attend school  instead of walking for water. OneProsper will use the money to buy water filter systems for these girls’ families as well as giving each girl school tuition, supplies, and a bike for transportation.

Today was the first in a series of bake sales to support OneProsper’s efforts. Recently, Salesforce visited with students and introduced them to their Trailhead technology to create an app to improve bake sale results. This partnership emerged after Hamlin students visited Salesforce as part of our #STEMGenderGap day in December. The app allows costumers to buy goods even if they don’t have any money. The technology also enables Grade 6 girls to pre-order goodies, track inventory, and get the names of customers in order to follow up for future payment. Grade 6 students used the app on their iPads to collect data. Finally results for the early morning sale showed that dessert bars and cakes outperformed cookies. The data also showed $248 worth of sales in less than 30 minutes.

This screen section recorded Bake Sale Items Sold ($) by Type and Size:

Hamlin girls have four more bake sales to go, but their app will certainly help them continue to have sales success.

To learn more about OneProsper, please visit:

Ella speaks about the project in this video:


Salesforce Helps Grade 6 Design Bake Sale App

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 keep girls in school.

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 will be completed in January 2018 and the girls will start attending school February 2018.

This year Grade 6 students are planning a series of bake sales to support OneProsper’s efforts to supply needed water filter technology, farming techniques, school tuition and supplies for each girl. Today Salesforce visited with students and introduced them to their Trailhead technology to create an app to improve bake sale results. Continue reading

Attorney Julian Sanchez Speaks for Farmworkers

Grade 5 students are studying labor and migrant farmworkers, including the work of Cesar Chavez, and the book, The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez. On February 15, students had the opportunity to hear firsthand about the life of a migrant farmworker. The Hamlin School welcomed attorney Julian Sanchez, a man who picked apricots in California for three years, and now champions the rights of farmworkers.

Mr. Sanchez’s parents are in their mid-fifties, and still work in the fields picking crops. He described a day in their life.

They wake up at 4am; get to the fields around 5am, wearing long sleeves, a hat, and a handkerchief. Depending on the season and the region, they work picking onions, almonds, rice, tomatoes, or watermelons. They work for 12 hours a day with 30 minutes for lunch. They arrive home tired with their bodies hurting. In the summer my mother will work from 6pm to 6am to avoid the heat of the day. They have no sick days and no paid days off for vacation. 

Mr. Sanchez asked students to come up with a list of rights for workers. The girls stated:

Sick leave, paid vacation, clean water, bathroom facilities, time for lunch/breaks, a living wage, health insurance, the right to speak up without being fired

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Making Mexican Cuisine in Spanish Class

Our Spanish department recently teamed up with Acre Gourmet and Tali Biale (Food Program Manager), to combine language learning with preparing Mexican cuisine. On February 13, Chef Jose Suarez (Acre), was interviewed by middle school students. They asked him a variety of questions in Spanish, learning about his Yucatan Peninsula origins and his favorite dessert (flan). In conjunction with the interview, Mr. Suarez showed students all of the ingredients needed to make Pico de Gallo.

On February 14, students worked in groups preparing Watermelon Agua Fresca and Fruit Salad, Salsa Verde with Avocado, Pico de Gallo, and Rice Pudding with Cinnamon and Vanilla. While making the dishes, students used their reading skills to follow the recipe in Spanish. As part of the lesson plan students also wrote down 4-5 Spanish words to describe the taste of food items.

This photo shows students creating rice pudding with cinnamon and vanilla.


Hamlin Students Learn About Human Trafficking

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 21 million victims of forced labor and human trafficking around the world. Human trafficking and forced labor generate $150 billion dollars annually.

Today, Hamlin 6th graders listened to a panel discussion with the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. As part of the conversation, students asked well-researched and thoughtful questions. Here are three question examples:

How do laws protecting victims of human trafficking vary from state to state?

What types of training does law enforcement receive to combat human trafficking?

How are perpetrators of human trafficking caught?

The information they gained served to further their understanding of a topic that they are studying in social studies classes.

The San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking has five central goals:

Public Awareness: Increase the general public’s awareness about human trafficking.

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Homeless Voices, Hamlin Voices

On February 8, middle school students and their parents participated in a very special listening event with Lava Mae and Sound Made Public. The evening provided an opportunity for Hamlin community members to listen to the voices of people experiencing homelessness on the streets of San Francisco, while also hearing reflections from our students who have been regularly volunteering with Lava Mae.

Participants sat on buckets and cardboard with the lights off, creating an environment to better empathize and take in the powerful narratives. The event provided the opportunity to get a little closer, listen, and imagine not having a place to call home – evoking a deeper view and a greater connection to our shared humanity.

Lava Mae brings critical services to the streets – delivered with an unexpected level of care we call Radical Hospitality – to rekindle dignity and hope for people experiencing homelessness through our Mobile Hygiene Service, Pop-Up Care Villages and buildIt toolkit.

Sound Made Public is a creative agency focusing on audio experiences, large and small, that change the way we hear the world.

Quotes from the audio recordings:

Homeless people, drug addicts, alcoholics, people who are bums, it’s the farthest thing from the truth, you meet people from all walks of life.         -A man experiencing homelessness

It’s a situation, people who are homeless weren’t always homeless, you’re in is a situation, it’s changeable, it’s very changeable.          -A woman experiencing homelessness

After like 30 minutes or so volunteering with Lava Mae I became much more comfortable and I understood that they were people. Homeless people are like normal people.   -Hamlin student

It’s not just their exterior, there is a lot going on underneath, and if you see somebody, you don’t know what they’ve gone through, you don’t know what they’re going through, so if someone looks like they need help, then I think you should help them.      -Hamlin student

We just went and we volunteered for a few hours, and it wasn’t that hard, and it wasn’t that much, but when many people do that, it adds up. And when there is something like Lava Mae that makes it possible for people to volunteer for these things, even if it’s not solving homelessness, it’s definitely making a a difference.       -Hamlin student

To listen to the recording, click here

To learn more about Lava Mae and Sound Made Public please visit:




Teach With Africa is Coming to Hamlin

From March 5-30 South African teacher, Ms. Ade Nanti, will be sharing her talents with our Hamlin students and faculty. Ms. Nanti will work with grade 6 students as they explore curriculum that focuses on South Africa. Hamlin has participated with Teach With Africa in the past and we look forward to this year’s cross-cultural exchange.

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.

Ms. Nanti shares:

My reason for choosing teaching is simply this: I love children. I love to work with young creative minds which are eager to explore new concepts. I love to see children dream big and achieve their dreams. I don’t mind seeing children falling short of achieving their goals because they usually rise above their challenges with resilience and vigour. I love the curious minds of children and their challenging questions which make me wonder if indeed one plus one equals two. I love the cheerful noise of children and I love the fact that when I close my eyes every night, I know there is hope for the future because I have played a role in shaping it. I can wake up into that future and say, “I was here. I lived and I served.”

 For more information about Teach With Africa, please visit:

The Future of Fish Farming with Zach Stein

On February 2, Zach Stein spoke with middle school students about his work creating Osmo Systems. Stein’s visit was part of this year’s eco-theme which is focused on Ocean Awareness.

Osmo Systems was founded by Zach Stein and James Regulinski, two Silicon Valley natives who’ve been friends since they were four years old. They founded Osmo Systems in 2014 with the goal of pushing our global food system into a healthier and more sustainable direction. At first they targeted a different industry with the OsmoBot sensor, hydroponics and aquaponics, but made the pivot to focus fully on aquaculture and shrimp farming in 2017. The company is backed by tier 1 VC’s who share in our mission to help shrimp farmers generate higher, more predictable yields.

Intelligence to grow your shrimp farm.
Osmo automates your water quality and feed management to optimize shrimp growth rates, FCR, and yields in every pond. Get the best return on your investment by automating your shrimp farm (Osmo website).

Stein shared the following points (among others):

-In the coming years, the number of people demanding seafood will continue to increase, while the “wild” supply decreases

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