Tag Archives: Learning

Interview with Beth Brizendine Hall: Our New Lower School Division Head

What do you love about working at Hamlin?

The people! Being surrounded by individual and team excellence. Everyone who works at Hamlin, in any capacity, works hard and joyfully. We bring our full selves to work every day and support each other to be our best selves. We know that everything we do here is absolutely for the benefit of our students, and that makes doing the work part of our passion. We are a fast paced, hard-working, fun, and successful group of people. It is exhilarating.

What are you excited about for this year?

I’m excited to learn about everything that is Hamlin beyond the classroom. I do have many classrooms to learn about and plan to be in classrooms as much as possible, but learning about all the parent run committees, such as PLAID, The Student Ventures Program, and our room parents, has really allowed me to see a bigger Hamlin picture. I’m also exciting about continuing to build our community with many new teaching teams in Lower School. Coaching and mentoring teachers has been a big part of my work for many years, and I’m excited to deepen this experience and lead an already incredible team of educators.

How does being a parent inform your work in Lower School?

Patience and empathy. I know from having my own children that things can seem dire one day and then fine the next. I pay attention to what is going on, but always allow for time to give people, adults or children, a chance to grow and develop resiliency in problem solving. There are definitely times when immediate intervention is needed, but being a parent has helped me get a sense of when these times are, and when it is better to keep the pulse and “wait and see.” I’ve always used humor as something to help me be my best self and see the best in others, and that is definitely true with parenting, and working with children. I find them both to be hilarious and daunting at times, and I know that creating the environment where children and adults can be themselves is the first step to helping everyone thrive.

You’ve had a long-standing interest in birds, what lessons have your learned from that exploration?

Birds are incredibly accessible. They are everywhere! You don’t need a ticket or a certain geographical location to observe birds. Observation is an important tool in developing so many critical skills in children: patience, focus, listening, formulation of ideas based on what you see, noticing patterns, keeping notes, sketching, and above anything else, picking your head up from whatever you’re doing and looking around you. I have seen children who struggle with focus in the classroom be able to sit and watch a bird for 20 minutes without moving, they are riveted. In my own birding practice, I find it calms me and focuses my thinking. It also reminds me to look up and around, too!

Passion Project Winner: Hannah Do

Lifelong learning spurs excellence, growth, and renewal. This year, The Hamlin School is supporting eclectic faculty-inspired passion projects. Faculty members were encouraged to brainstorm something they are excited to explore or learn. They then submitted their ideas to the administration. At the start of all-faculty events one winner is selected to receive $250 to “take their passion and make it happen.” Mark Picketts (Director of Program and Professional Development) adopted this idea from a school that he visited in Utah. Areas of interest range from a teacher hoping to take a glass-blowing class, to another faculty member who would love to do a fly-fishing clinic.

There have already been four lucky winners. Recently, Hannah Do (Grade 4 Associate Teacher) was selected. Ms. Do’s family comes from Vietnam. She is excited to take some classes to work on her Vietnamese language skills.

“This passion project will allow me to work on developing my accent in Vietnamese. I’m looking forward to becoming more fluent in the language of my family.”

The next passion project drawing is coming soon, who will be our next winner?

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/

 

 

Hamlin Teachers Present Action-Research Projects

For the second year, Hamlin teachers delved into reflective learning through inquiry projects that they personally designed. Teachers used data, research, and reflection, to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. 24 teachers participated in the Inquiry Project Year, sharing their findings with colleagues at a year-end celebration on June 14. This 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:

Michelle Lovejoy and Rachel Davis developed an interactive Outdoor Ed portal on Hamlinet that shares photos, videos, and other content from all outdoor ed trips.

Gillian Curran designed part of STEM Night to center her classroom on student-led teaching and student-created materials.

Kylie Cobb and Alison Kutnick created an interdisciplinary Social Emotional Unit of Study, specifically for Grade 1, in order to provide students with tools and life skills to support themselves in 6 focus areas: Friendships, Kindness and Respect, Conflict Resolution, Building Confidence, Feelings, Mindfulness, and Resilience.

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Interview with Ade Avela Nanti (Teach With Africa)

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: