On Thursday evening our Hamlin community gathered to celebrate the many cultures that make up the African Diaspora at our Unity Festival hosted by PLAID. (PLAID is a Hamlin Parent Association group focused on educating our community about diversity and promoting an inclusive environment).
The event featured: bracelet-making, opportunities to play mancala (a board game originally from Africa), Soul Food, heartfelt poetry readings by students Niyah, Kennedy, and Adella, and an invigorating dance performance. By the end of the evening students, parents, and faculty were all smiles and laughter as they danced together.
To learn more about PLAID, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/plaid
On Thursday night, almost 200 people celebrated Diwali with joy and vibrant energy. Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, and means “row of lights.” It is a time to rejoice in the triumph of light over darkness and is embraced by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. Diwali provides a reminder to start over and invite new energy into your life. The holiday began on November 7 and will last five days.
Lower school girls performed a celebratory dance wearing colorful traditional clothing in front of a large audience comprised of faculty, family members and classmates. Students were also able to create decorative art called Rangoli with chalk. Adults and children alike enjoyed traditional Indian foods like saag paneer and raita, while festive music played in the background.
This event was sponsored by PLAID, to learn more about PLAID please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/plaid
Earlier this week, Ms. O’Brien’s Kindergarten class followed a blueprint, took measurements, and built two ballet barres with the help of Mr. Louie.
Ms. O’Brien shares:
Our class chose dance as their focus for the class emergent study. This study is based on the girl’s questions, observations, and interests. When possible, dance is integrated into all units of study (math, reading, writing, investigations/social studies, and social and emotional learning). In a ‘persuasive writing’ activity, the girls wrote a letter to Mr. Louie requesting his assistance in engineering a ballet barre for our classroom so the girls had a proper space to “warm up.” Mr. Louie accepted and guided the girls throughout the design thinking project.
Below is a photo of the written request from the students to Mr. Louie:
More about our Maker Program:
The Hamlin School Maker Program is designed to deliver moments of impact where girls engage in real world problem solving through Human Centered Design Thinking. Students become problem seekers, focusing on community empathy and collaboration, using ongoing client feedback to drive the direction of their projects. Through their Maker work, our girls work diligently with tools, while developing a new lens by which to see possibility, adaptation, and innovation.
On the night of December 9, a group of talented Grade 8 students took the stage with the Ultimate Alliance Dance Company and Bay Area Flash Mob, on the campus of San Francisco’s City College. They dazzled the audience of 150 people while performing with college age dancers from the Strong Pulse Dance Crew. Hamlin girls shared the stage with the six older dancers and their teacher, Ms. Kirstin Williams. The experience gave Hamlin students the opportunity to participate in the show and absorb a variety of dance genres (Hip-Hop, Contemporary, B-Girl, B-Boy), while seeing mixed-aged artists from diverse cultural backgrounds.
The evening could not have happened without the leadership of Hamlin faculty member, Ms. Williams, who created and designed the entire event. Ms. Williams held countless hours of rehearsal time in preparation for the performance.
Williams states, I was so impressed by their dedication and commitment to really want to learn the choreography. A majority of my 19 students had never done dance before, and it was new to them. They were nervous, but they transcended, the experience unified and inspired them.
Ms. Williams went on to share: this work is about integrating communities, bringing people together, working well together, and inspiring each other.
Last week Hamlin dance teacher Jill Randall her first annual on/line teen dance film festival. The video highlighting the successful entries has already had more than two hundred views.
First Annual On/Line Teen Dance Film Festival – 2015 on Vimeo.
International School of Bangkok
Idaho Arts Charter School (Nampa, Idaho)
The Public Academy for the Performing Arts (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Sandy Spring Friends School
La Reina High School (Thousand Oaks, California)
Carolina Friends School (Durham, North Carolina)
We believe that EFFECTIVE teaching is REFLECTIVE teaching – here is her reflection on the project’s success(es):
Goals going into the project:
The On/Line Teen Dance Film Festival is a natural extension of the “dance for the camera” work that we have been doing at Hamlin over the past four years with 7th and 8th grade students. We wanted to think outside of these school walls and see what other middle school and high school dancers are doing around the United States, as well as other countries. How and why is dance important in teens’ lives and in education?
How we were successful in meeting those goals:
We had a great first attempt with the project! With the wonderful support of Hamlin teachers and staff (including Wanda Holland Greene, Marisa Bellingrath, Rose Helm, Jim Lengel, Rachel Davis, and Mark Picketts), we got the application out through several education, tech, and dance networks around the world. Twenty schools sent in letters of interest, and about 15 schools completed the process and submitted films. The Hamlin students were excited to see the responses. The students created a thorough rubric to assess the films. Lots of great conversations, connections, and inspiration came out of this.
When we do it again, we will……
We are already excited about next year. We will select a theme that all submissions must relate to, to deepen the connections and conversations. We also will be articulating more for the Hamlin students – and for all applicants – more tips and tools related to film editing. What questions are the dancers trying to answer? What does a film offer that a dance onstage does not?
Keeping track of all of the applications and submitted films! We will create a different system for next year.