Author David Shannon Visits Hamlin

On Wednesday we welcomed acclaimed author and illustrator, David Shannon. He spoke with our girls about where ideas come from, did some of his beloved drawings, and answered student questions. Mr. Shannon also read his newest book, Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer.

David Shannon was born in Washington, D.C, in 1959. He grew up in Spokane, WA. David liked to draw as soon as he could hold a crayon. He went to Hutton Elementary school where his teachers soon realized that if they let David draw murals it would keep him from disrupting class and their classroom would have some pretty good art on the walls, too. David eventually graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he majored in Illustration. In He sold his pickup truck and moved to New York City in 1983 to start a career in editorial illustration. David’s work appeared in many magazines and newspapers, including Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times, as well as numerous book jackets and posters. In 1988 he illustrated his first children’s book, How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have?, by Julius Lester. (Btw, Leopards have two spots – dark ones and light ones.) After illustrating several books by other authors, David was encouraged to try writing his own stories. His first book was How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball, which was named a New York Times Best-illustrated book in 1994. In 1999 the semi-autobiographical story, No, David!, received a Caldecott Honor. David has written and/ or illustrated over 35 books for children. He lives in Los Angeles with his Wife, Heidi and his daughter, Emma.

To learn more, please visit: http://nodavidshannon.com/

2019 Penny Wheelock Grant Recipient: Terry McDonald

Every year The Hamlin School awards the Penny Wheelock Summer Travel Grant ($2500) to a teacher who has been working at Hamlin for 5 years or longer. The purpose of the grant is:

To expand the horizons of the recipient, thereby enhancing that teacher’s energy and effectiveness in the classroom. To commemorate the joy of teaching about other lands and cultures as exemplified by beloved former Hamlin teacher Penny Wheelock.

On Monday, Terry McDonald had the opportunity to present highlights from her summer grant experience. Ms. McDonald is in her 33rd year teaching physical education at Hamlin. A lifelong soccer fan, she was all smiles describing her experience attending multiple Women’s World Cup games in France. She then watched Serena Williams at Wimbledon, and later took in some cricket, then netball (not her favorite), concluding with watching golf in Ireland. Ms. McDonald hinted at a desire to bring cricket to Hamlin, which would serve to globally enhance our already eclectic sports offerings. This wonderful travel experience will no doubt stay with her for many, many years. The next Penny Wheelock recipient will be selected in April of 2020.

Classic Egg Drop Experiment in Grade 4

In Grade 4, our nervous system unit culminates with a classic egg drop experiment. Students work in teams as “helmet companies.” They design “helmets” to protect their raw eggs from a three-story fall onto a concrete surface. So far this year, 100% of the eggs have survived the drop unharmed thanks to some creative engineering!

-Guest post by Science Teacher, Konika Ray

Students March To Address Climate Change

This Friday, our student-led Middle School Environmental Ambassador’s Club (EAC) led a march to address climate change. The optional march took place during recess in support of the Global Youth Climate Strike organized by teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. Our girls (Grades 3-8) marched down Broadway to Fillmore to Jackson and back, in support of climate justice for all.

Middle School Field Trip Day

On Thursday, girls in grades 5-8 ventured out to various parts of San Francisco. The day provided an opportunity for our students to bond with each other in eclectic off campus locales. Girls were able to challenge themselves physically, and volunteer, while connecting with each other through shared experiences.

Students went to the following places:

Grade 5: Circus Center

Circus Center offers classes for every level of ability in flying trapeze, acrobatics, aerial arts, contortion, juggling and many other disciplines. 

Grade 6: Pier 39 
Opened in 1978, Pier 39 is favorite location to visit in San Francisco, boasting excellent views of Alcatraz, Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.

Grade 7: Stow Lake Beautification

Stow Lake is a human-made lake in Golden Gate Park with a rich history that dates back to 1893. The lake has provided San Franciscans with an outdoor escape for more than a century, as they come to enjoy the scenery. Students pulled out invasive plants around the lake.

Grade 8: Fort Miley Ropes Course

The Fort Miley Ropes Course offers a fun, safety conscious and positive environment for individuals and groups to work together to develop confidence, trust, cooperation and leadership skills through actions. 

Noe Valley Girls Film Festival Continues To Inspire

Earlier this month, Hamlin students powered the Noe Valley Girls Film Festival for a 4th year. The festival showcased short films made by girls from all over the world. The Noe Valley Girls Film Festival is especially unique in that the entire festival is planned and run by girls 16 years and under.

Some key highlights were:

-250 people in attendance

-4 Pixar representatives spoke: Lourdes Alba, Lucy Laliberte, Connie Lee, and Becky Neiman-Cobb

-Ms. Alba, Ms. Lee, and Ms. Neiman-Cobb, brought their Oscar award (shown in the photo) for their animated short film, Bao

-San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman awarded all of the NVGFF team members a Certificate of Honor for their contribution to the community

-There were 3 Hamlin School submissions this year, with Molly W. (Grade 4) winning 2nd prize for her film, Lady Tiffin’s Travel Secrets. Mollie W. also won the Audience Choice Award and had her film screened at the Noe Valley Town Square movie night on Saturday, September 14

For more information about the festival please visit: http://www.nvgff.com/

Mentoring and Making: Grades 8 and 3 Work Together

For a 3rd year in a row, our Grade 3 students are busy constructing their very own ukuleles. This project has become a class favorite, as girls are guided through the process with Mr. Louie, our dynamic Maker Teacher. This year, Grade 8 students regularly work with our Grade 3 girls, helping with the ukulele construction and strengthening sisterhood along the way.

Our students are doing the following to make the ukuleles:

-Use a band saw to cut wood (plywood for the bodies, oak for the sides and neck, walnut for the bridge)

-Cut the wood for the body

-Paint the body

-Cut the neck

-Sand the edges

-Glue on the neck, drill holes for pegs, nails for frets

-Attach strings to tuners

Later in the school year, Grade 3 students will have the opportunity to perform with these self-created instruments.

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!

Students Design Unique Cereal Boxes

Hamlin art students are always exploring and creating highly original work. We recently visited a class where Grade 5 students are making their own cereal box designs.

Art Teacher, Ms. Feldman shares:

Students learned about some of the design elements artists use to create their work. We discussed different size and style of text, color and composition and how these elements help create an interesting and eye catching piece.  Girls honed their craftsmanship skills by learning how to use the color pencils to create smooth areas.  Students were also required to include something about themselves in their artwork.

Kindergarteners Explore Science Lab

Our youngest scientists entered the lab brimming with curiosity! We read the book, My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss and talked about how our emotions are controlled by a part of our brain called the amygdala. We also spoke about how we are in control of our emotional reactions. One student said, “We can change our attitude!”  The girls explored a variety of color-themed centers including mixing wells and pipettes, prisms, and watercoloring.

(Photo) Kindergartener, Alex L. investigates colors by using a pipette to drop colored water into a mixing well tray. Using a pipette introduces our youngest scientists to a new tool and strengthens fine motor skills.

(Guest post by Science Teacher, Konika Ray)