This Friday students in Grade 3 walked to Lafayette Park picking up trash along the way. Maia Kolbeck from the Aquarium of the Bay spoke to the girls beforehand about the importance of keeping our city litter free. She emphasized that San Francisco is surrounded by water on three sides and that trash on land often ends up in the Bay where it is ingested by fish and seals. Students filled multiple trash bags with everything from old party balloons, to glass bottles. Ms. Ray led this thoughtful environmental stewardship project.
On May 9, Hamlin Grade 8 students visited Holy Family Day Home in the Mission, a nonprofit organization that we have worked with for the past 14 years. The visit was led by our middle school Spanish department.
Holy Family Day Home’s goal is to provide affordable, high quality, early childhood education and family support services in a stable and nurturing environment, thereby providing the children of working families skills and hope for lifelong development.
Hamlin students began the morning by singing the song Cada Semilla to the preschoolers and playing Simon Says, all in Spanish. Our students were then paired up with different children to read books. Our girls brought their very own self-created books written in Spanish with beautiful handmade illustrations. After sharing these fantastic stories, everyone went outside to play. The joy and energy between the younger and older students was palpable. One Hamlin student shared, “I loved how creative and caring they were, I got so many hugs.”
After playtime, Hamlin students heard more about program specifics from members of Holy Family Day Home’s leadership team. They learned about the food pantry that provides nourishment for families in need, and the emphasis placed on seamlessly integrating homeless and non-homeless students into classrooms.
Below is a video of our students singing:
To learn more about Holy Family Day Home, please visit: https://holyfamilydayhome.org/
On May 4, Hamlin joined eight other San Francisco schools at a Youth Summit focused on Awareness and Action. Hamlin Grade 7 students attended workshops and participated in the event. Our resident movie makers, Avery, Dani, Helena, and Allie led a workshop focused on their film, “Strawbucks.” The film interweaves detailed information connecting the use of plastic straws (in businesses like Starbucks), to the growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
The attending schools were: Town, Creative Arts Charter, Children’s Day, Millennium, Live Oak, San Francisco School, Cathedral, and San Francisco Friends. There were almost 300 people in attendance.
The summit was hosted by the San Francisco Friends School and addressed the following topics (among others) in 20-minute workshops led by students:
Homelessness, Gun Control, Sexual Harassment, Mass Incarceration, Human Trafficking, the Israel/Palestine Conflict, Plastics and the Environment
At the end of each workshop, presenters shared specific ways to take action: using social media, contacting government officials, and supporting boycotts.
The summit no doubt inspired our students as they begin to think about their upcoming Rise to the Challenge (RTC) projects.
To learn more about RTC, please visit: http://www.hamlinblog.org/blog/2017/06/12/leadership-in-action-symposium-rise-to-the-challenge/
Spoken word artists from Youth Speaks performed in the morning. At the end of their performance they invited students to take the stage to share their voices. Sophie M. stepped forward and performed her original song, “Nightingale.” Below is the recording.
On April 27, the Hamlin School welcomed world-renowned marine biologist, Dr. Sylvia Earle.
Dr. Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998. Earle was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. She is also part of the group Ocean Elders, which is dedicated to protecting the ocean and its wildlife.
Dr. Earle spoke for almost an hour to a room full of more than 400 students and parents. She made the following inspiring statements (among others):
-If anyone ever tells you can’t do something, ask why not?
-Every creature on earth is unique.
-We are the first generation to see the consequences of consuming the earth.
-The earth is all there is for the future of humankind and we have to take care of it.
-I was attracted to living things on this earth since the beginning of my memory.
-Get wet, get into the water of the earth, if I stay out of water too long dry rot sets in.
-I lived for two weeks underwater, having the ocean as a living laboratory.
-Women were not expected to dive, be scientists, or aquanauts.
-I can do what I can do to make a difference.
-Have the ocean be a part of your life.
Near the end of her speech, Dr. Earle spoke about Hope Spots.
Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean — Earth’s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Dr. Sylvia Earle introduced the concept in her 2009 TED talk and since then the idea has inspired millions across the planet. While about 12 percent of the land around the world is now under some form of protection (as national parks etc.), less than six percent of the ocean is protected in any way. Hope Spots allow us to plan for the future and look beyond current marine protected areas (MPAs), which are like national parks on land where exploitative uses like fishing and deep sea mining are restricted. Hope Spots are often areas that need new protection, but they can also be existing MPAs where more action is needed.
In addition to Dr. Earle’s visit, Hamlin students also participated in the following Earth Day activities:
-Explored the ocean with virtual reality glasses
-Wrote letters to government officials urging them to reduce plastic usage
-Watched the play “Plastic is not Fantastic” (performed by students in grades 3 and 4)
-Created pledges to support the environment
-Played ocean charades
To learn more about Dr. Earle’s nonprofit, please visit https://mission-blue.org/
Below is a clip of Dr. Earle speaking:
Hamlin parent Asenaida Escober, shared her love of Honduras with Grade 7 students in Spanish class today. Speaking only in Spanish, Ms. Escober showed photos and described the geography and natural beauty of her home country. She also talked about colonial architecture, regional artwork, and traditional Mayan festivals.
After her presentation, students asked Ms. Escober a series of questions that they had prepared in Spanish. The following are a few of those questions:
-Do you have a favorite food dish from Honduras?
-Can you describe your favorite tradition from Honduras?
-Which animals live in Honduras?
-Would you like to live in Honduras again?
At the end of the class Ms. Escober provided students with some snacks typically enjoyed in Honduras.
This firsthand learning experience provided a wonderful opportunity for our students to practice their Spanish in a “real life” context.
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
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:
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:
-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
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:
On March 21, our Spanish department hosted two representatives from Kiva, Catherine Vo and Olivia Cornfield. Kiva is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization with a global reach. Kiva’s mission is to connect individual lenders with people around the world who need micro loans to improve their lives through small businesses, education, green energy, and a number of other projects.
Kiva relies on volunteer translators to communicate borrowers’ needs. Many seeking loans are from Spanish-speaking countries. Our Grade 7 students spent time in Spanish class learning about Kiva and using language skills to translate sample loan profiles from Spanish into English. This use of the Spanish language is powerful and allows students to apply their understanding of vocabulary to real life situations.
Ms. Cornfield and Ms. Vo shared a brief history of Kiva, highlighted borrower profiles, and shared specifics about three Kiva-supported organizations (Sanergy, Sistema Biobolsa, Solar Sister). Hamlin girls then asked questions about how borrowers are vetted and how repayment works.
The afternoon culminated with our students receiving codes in order to lend $25 to a borrower of their choice.
In video below, students are selecting a loan recipient:
To learn more about Kiva, please visit: https://www.kiva.org/