Tag Archives: Education

Hamlin Continues Social and Emotional Learning Exploration

On Wednesday afternoon, Hamlin Middle School faculty members engaged in a learning exploration with Nick Haisman-Smith of the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning. Mr. Haisman-Smith and the Institute for Social Emotional Learning have visited Hamlin several times over the past year.

Among other areas, the Institute focuses on honing the following skills with educators:

  • Conduct classes in ways that build capacity for personal reflection, meaningful conversation, ritual and group harmony.
  • Use silence, creative expression, listening and cooperation to activate SEL in all subject areas.
  • Use SEL principles to facilitate more powerful academic curriculum design.
  • Exploit the link between literary themes, creative writing, storytelling and SEL skills.
  • Facilitate the use of clarification, support and proposed solutions in conversation to unlock the power of collective wondering.
  • Work with values to build teacher resilience, humanity and creativity.
  • Model the resilience, compassion and inspiration at the heart of SEL.

Hamlin faculty members participated in community building activities, defined and refined the purpose and goals of the middle school advisory program, learned new ways to tangibly bring SEL into advisories/classrooms, and reviewed open session training (a specific type of conversation held in advisory to support the social/emotional welfare of students). As part of the session, teachers shared best practices including ways to: celebrate birthdays with only words of appreciation, create class mantras, practice mindfulness, observe silent reflection, and honor attention (among many others).

The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning also worked with Lower School faculty at a different session.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.instituteforsel.net/

Hamlin Alums Return To Teach

We are very excited to welcome back Hamlin graduates Erin Minuth ’07 and Claudia Tropp ’09. Both women will be working as Associate Teachers in Grade 2.

After attending Hamlin, Ms. Minuth graduated from Convent, then Whitman College, where she played tennis and was a Geology major. She then studied at the Teton Science School in Wyoming and is currently enrolled in the BATTI program (Bay Area Teacher Training Institute). Some of her favorite Hamlin memories are: performing in Mulan, speaking at the Grade 4 VIP assembly, and exploring Yosemite in the snow. This year she is very excited to work with our students on reading and literacy.

After attending Hamlin, Ms. Tropp also graduated from Convent, then Santa Clara University, later earning a Master’s degree from The University of Southern California (USC) in Elementary Education. She was inspired to be a teacher by her time at Hamlin, and was especially influenced by Ms. Chisholm and Ms. Micha. Some of her favorite Hamlin memories are: field days, graduating on the lair (she was the first class to experience this), and countless others. This year she is looking forward to bringing her many talents to Grade 2.

Hamlin Alumnae Reflect On Their Education

On May 6, Hamlin welcomed back ten members of the class of 2015 who will soon be graduating from high school (two just did). These bright and articulate young women reflected on their Hamlin education in front of an audience of faculty members, staff and trustees. Wanda M. Holland Greene and Teebie Saunders led a vibrant and insightful discussion, asking the students about their time at Hamlin, exploring topics like: gender, core values, academic preparation, and their passions. Below are a few of the central themes that emerged.

-All the panelists spoke about how Hamlin prepared them to speak up and advocate for themselves in classes and at their high schools. Many cited the “confidence” that Hamlin instilled in them.

-Most of the panelists were involved in various forms of leadership at their high schools, including: being a peer advisor, participating in student government, being captains on sports teams, and leading clubs focused on art, inclusion, feminism, and politics.

-Panelists spoke about how they felt very prepared for high school. They cited the skills of time management and organization that they developed while at Hamlin. Many of the former students also mentioned the excellent education they received in math, science and technology.

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Gender Inclusivity Dialogue with PLAID

On Tuesday morning, our PLAID parent group and some of Hamlin’s administrators showed the film Creating Gender Inclusive Schools, followed by an engaging dialogue.

PLAID’s mission is to support a vibrant and inclusive environment in which all members of the community can celebrate their authentic selves. We foster open dialogue through family programs, parent education, and community outreach.

Politicians and 24-hour news outlets spend a lot of time talking about gender and schools, yet most people are left wondering: how are schools talking about gender with students in grade-appropriate ways? Creating Gender Inclusive Schools shows how one school approached this important subject, and along the way demonstrates the power of having a conversation with youth about gender.

A large group of parents and faculty members gathered to watch the film and talk about gender inclusivity in small groups, and as a larger group. Head of The Hamlin School, Wanda M. Holland Greene facilitated the session with care and compassion.

The following were some of the key ideas that surfaced from the both the film and dialogue:

-Being inclusive doesn’t mean just inviting people; you have to work at it.

-Gender is not about biological parts; a person gets to decide their gender.

-At Hamlin there is a space for girls with all sorts of gender expression.

-Students don’t have to follow rules around masculine and feminine stereotypes, such as favorite color choices, types of dress, and free time activities.

-Many students (in general) are not binary in terms of gender, they often have aspects of their identities that are masculine, feminine, or neither.

-When thinking about gender inclusivity, it is important for schools to create an environment where students are safe and seen.

-“Hamlin provides a supportive and nonjudgmental environment for my daughter.”

To learn more about the film and topic, please visit: https://www.genderspectrum.org/creating-gender-inclusive-schools/

 

 

Grade 6 Partners with OneProsper in India

OneProsper International is working to empower girls in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India to break the cycle of poverty. Our solution brings clean water, education and better nutrition to underprivileged girls living in the Thar Desert. We recognize that a girl in India faces many obstacles before she can earn an education. OneProsper takes a holistic approach to solve the crisis of female literacy.

Grade 6 social studies students are studying the eastern hemisphere and the issue of water scarcity in countries like 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. This spring our OneProsper partnership continues for a 3rd year with students doing individual fundraising to assist women and girls in India. (The above photo shows a girl who has benefited from our partnership).

Below is an update from One Prosper’s Founder, Raju Agarwal.

Thanks (in part) to the generous donation of the Hamlin Class of 2020 in 2018, 100 disadvantaged girls in the Thar Desert of India will start going to school in July 2019, at the start of the next school year.

We are currently in the process of constructing taankas (rainwater harvesting tanks) and khadins (farming dykes) for each of the 50 selected families (100 girls).

Taanka construction will be completed by end of April.  As a result, 100 girls will be freed from water collection. Khadin construction will be completed by end of June.

In June, 100 girls will receive bicycles, school uniforms, and school supplies. And, their mothers will receive biosand water filters and seeds and training to plant crops.

To learn more about One Prosper, please visit: https://www.oneprosper.org/

Hamlin Welcomes Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela

During most of March, South African teacher, Ms. Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela will be sharing her talents with our Hamlin students and faculty as part of the program Teach With Africa. Ms. Matsetela is especially focused on instilling a love of math in her students. Ms. Matsetela is partnered with Hamlin teacher, Gillian Curran. Hamlin has participated with Teach With Africa for several years and always welcomes the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and friendship.

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. Matsetela shares:

My name is Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela; I was born and bred in Limpopo province, and currently live in Johannesburg. I’m studying for my B.Ed. with University of South Africa (UNISA) and am in my second year. I want to be a teacher because I believe I have all the qualities needed to be a teacher and a role model. I enjoy reading inspirational books. I also enjoy exercising and sharing information either by teaching or by having positive conversations.

To learn more about Teach With Africa, please visit: https://www.teachwithafrica.org/

Grade 3 Students Perform “Cero” in Spanish

Members of Grade 3 recently performed in the play Cero. The performance was lauded by both parents and faculty members alike.

From Cero’s program:

This Third Grade Spanish play is the result of a collaborative and interdisciplinary project combining theater arts and Spanish. Students have worked on key elements of acting and staging during the rehearsal process. At the same time, the girls have been developing their fluency while using many new Spanish words and phrases within the context of telling a story. 

In addition to developing students’ language and acting skills, we hope that this project has enhanced the girls’ range of self-expression, confidence, and enjoyment of both Spanish and theater. 

Synopsis:

Cero is a big, round number… but she feels empty on the inside. As Cero watches the other numbers count off, she wishes that she could count, too. But how can a number worth nothing count for something? 

No matter how much Cero tries to change her shape, she realizes that she will always be a zero.

Will Cero learn that everyone has value, no matter their shape or size?

Hamlin Students Visit the SFMOMA

On Thursday, students in Grade 6 had the opportunity to visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and see the Magritte exhibit.

René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.

Hamlin art teacher, Ms. Feldman put together an interactive Keynote that allowed our students to engage in profound learning as they experienced the artwork.

As part of the Keynote tour (with their iPads), girls did the following (among other activities):

Discuss with your partner:

-Explore the works in this room. What emotions are being expressed? Do you think that art needs to express emotions? Whose emotions does art express?

-Choose one piece of artwork to talk about. What do you think will happen next in this piece?

-With your partner, find a piece of art in this room to talk about and answer these questions: What is the story that you see in this work of art? What do you see in the work that tells you it is about this story?

To learn more about the exhibit, please visit: https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibitions-events/

 

 

Interview with Kindergarten Teacher: Jen Phillips

Ms. Phillips is in her 7th year teaching kindergarten at The Hamlin School.

What do you love about teaching kindergarten?

So much, kindergarteners are so open, excited, and happy. I really enjoy teaching students to be good young people. We focus on social-emotional learning. How do you make a friend? How do you solve a conflict? How do you tell your friends what you need? Academically they are excited for everything, they don’t always get enough credit (because they are the youngest), but they are capable and ready to learn.

What do you love about teaching at Hamlin?

The girls are amazing. Every year you get this new group of bright and diverse students. I also love my co-workers. Hamlin is a supportive community. I’ve done many professional development workshops that have helped enrich my teaching practice. I love coming to work every day.

What is one of your favorite memories from elementary school?

I have great memories of reading and writing. I always loved reading books on a cushion underneath a table in the classroom; it was like my own little cocoon. I would read books like Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins.

Describe a favorite teaching moment.

I love when the girls take on the role of peer teacher, extending their learning and deepening their understanding. In these moments I often see the girls making connections between what they have learned and their own lives. When they begin teaching each other I know that I’ve done my job.

 

Matter of Trust Speaks at Hamlin

In the spring, Grade 7 students will be participating in a active learning experience called Rise to the Challenge.

Rise to the Challenge is the intensive for our Grade 7 studentsIntensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

Grade 7 students have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.

To prepare and inspire our girls for Rise to the Challenge, we have had speakers sharing their altruistic passions with our students.

Yesterday, Lisa Craig Gautier, the founder of the nonprofit A Matter of Trust, spoke with students.

Matter of Trust provides systems for sorting recyclables and compostables into useful stockpiles. By focusing on convenience, we learn what households need most from community reuse programs. Gathering perspectives from global industries, we find motivations and new zero-waste opportunities. We are passionate about efficiency and deconstructable designs.

Ms. Gautier encouraged our students to discover their passion and make a difference in the world by thinking outside the box in creative ways.

Special thanks to Mr. Ditto (in the photo), who invited Ms. Gautier to Hamlin.

To learn more about Matter of Trust, please visit: https://matteroftrust.org/