Hamlin: A Bright Schools National Finalist

Hamlin 7th graders Sofia M. and Jacqueline F. were recently named National Finalists in the Bright Schools Competition.

Their project, How will blue light emitted from iPads affect how you learn and sleep? is one of 50 National Finalists in the Innovative STEM Competition for Students in Grades 6-8.

Sofia M. and Jacqueline F., along with their teacher Melissa Alfred, have been named national finalists in the 2nd annual Bright Schools Competition™. The competition is a collaborative effort of the National Sleep Foundation and the National Science Teachers Association that encourages students in grades 6-8 to explore the correlation between light and sleep and how it influences student health and performance.

“The Bright Schools Competition is a celebration of the talent and ingenuity of our youth, providing students with a unique opportunity to think critically while exploring the connection between light and sleep,” said NSTA Executive Director Dr. David Evans. “Congratulations to all of the national finalists for their hard work, enthusiasm, and imaginative ideas.”

Under the mentorship of an adult coach/teacher, teams of two to four students identify, investigate, and research an issue related to light and sleep as it pertains to their community and/or young adolescents. Using scientific inquiry or engineering design concepts, teams develop a prototype, create an awareness campaign, or write a research proposal for the competition. Each team then submits a written report detailing their project along with a three-minute video showcasing their investigation. Projects are evaluated on the basis of several criteria, including scientific accuracy, innovativeness, and potential impact.

More information about the competition is available at http://brightschoolscompetition.org/.

 

Hamlin Visits Holy Family Day Home

On May 10th, Hamlin 8th graders visited Holy Family Day Home in the Mission, an organization that we have worked with for many years. The visit was led by Hamlin’s 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 songs with the preschoolers and playing Simon Says, all in Spanish. Our students were then paired up with different Holy Family Day Home children to read books. Our girls brought their very own books written in Spanish with beautiful handmade illustrations. After sharing these fantastic stories, everyone went outside to play tag, soccer, and tumble around. The joy and energy between the younger and older students was palpable. One Hamlin student shared, today was just an adorable experience, their spirit is infectious.

Below is an example of book created by a Hamlin student.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After playtime, Hamlin students had the opportunity to learn more about program specifics from members of Holy Family Day Home’s leadership team. They learned about the food bank that provides nourishment for families in need and the emphasis placed on seamlessly integrating homeless and non-homeless students into classrooms.

To learn more about Holy Family Day Home, please visit: https://holyfamilydayhome.org/

 

 

 

 

Hamlin Students Win Technovation Pitch Challenge

On June 5th, Charlotte K. and Elanor M. won the regional Technovation Pitch contest. Girls ages 10 to 18 learn to identify a problem in their community and create a mobile app solution to address that problem, and then learn how to communicate these ideas and translate them into a fully launched business. They pitched their idea to panel of judges that included venture capitalists, technology executives, design consultants, and coders.

Details about their app:

Walk4Water is a mobile app that provides an incentive for young teens to stay fit and healthy using competition and social features while doing good in the world. When a user takes a thousand steps, 12 cents will be donated to charity: water, an organization that gives poverty-stricken communities access to clean, sanitary water closer to their homes. Girls in these communities won’t have to spend their time walking to find water; they can pursue an education. Teens worldwide can improve their daily lives and someone else’s while enjoying the competition and challenging their friends to go the extra mile.

The competition was very intense, Charlotte and Elanor worked many long hours on developing the business idea and coding a working app. They are now semifinalists for the World Pitch. On June 8th the 6 national finalists are announced to go to the World Pitch in August.

Watch their pitch video here:

To learn more about Technovation, please visit: http://technovationchallenge.org/

To learn more about charity: water, please visit: https://www.charitywater.org/

Reflecting on a Hamlin Education

On May 9th, Hamlin welcomed back six members of the class of 2013. These intelligent young women reflected on their Hamlin education in front of an audience of faculty members, staff and trustees. Hamlin’s Head of School, Wanda Holland Greene, led a vibrant and insightful discussion, asking the students about their time at Hamlin related to: feminism, their core values, their academic preparation, and their passions. Below are some of their thoughts.

Feminism:

-I find myself still thinking about lessons learned from 4th grade. My beliefs are secure, I’m not scared to express what I believe.

-Hamlin taught me to cultivate a viewpoint and stand with it. I also know that I have a community of women to fall back on.

-When I think about why I’m a feminist, I think about Hamlin. Today I feel more comfortable bringing up feminism in a classroom discussion.

-Hamlin taught me how to lean in to discomfort and gave me the tools to later comprehend intersectional feminism; the understanding that there are overlapping systems of discrimination in our society.

Core Values:

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Hamlin Students Win NASA’s Optimus Prime Challenge

Students were asked to use their imagination and creativity to identify NASA Spinoff technology in their everyday world. Items such as memory foam, invisible braces, firefighting equipment, artificial limbs, scratch-resistant lenses, aircraft anti-icing systems, shoe insoles, water filters/purification, cochlear implants, satellite television, and long-distance telecommunications were first developed for a NASA mission and then, re-worked to make everyday life easier.

To display their research and ideas, students used a combination of text, images and videos, to create a Glogster Multimedia Poster. This poster was submitted and the student ideas shared with NASA.

The two winning Hamlin 7th graders (Alexa T. and Ellie J.) researched Thermawing technology, which prevents plane wings from freezing. They redesigned it to be put in greenhouses to keep crops from freezing in the winter. They also made a physical model of their spinoff creation.

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Hamlin Alumnae Return for Career Day

On May 5th, Hamlin’s east dining room was filled with the wisdom of women. Twelve dynamic Hamlin alumnae returned to campus to tell stories, speak about their professional journeys, and impart valuable advice to our Class of 2017 students.

The morning opened with Rose Helm interviewing the insightful Alexandra Suich, ’00. Suich is a journalist and serves as The Economist’s U.S. technology editor. She spoke about her love of Hamlin, sharing fond memories of writing fables in Ms. Metcalf’s English class, and contributing pieces to the Blue Stockings literary magazine. “At Hamlin, I felt the power of seeing words in print, I carried that with me through my life and into my current job at The Economist. Hamlin also inculcated my belief in championing women’s rights.” Suich spoke about the intimidation she felt when first assigned by The Economist to cover finance and hedge funds. She stuck with the finance beat and learned, “any subject can be conquered if you are willing to put in the work.” Suich also talked about the importance of not being afraid to ask basic questions to fully understand a topic. In terms of life advice, She stressed the importance of regular exercise, cultivating an inner circle of inspiring people, and knowing when to say no to potential opportunities.

After the opening interview, students had the chance to learn from the alumnae through rotating table conversations. The engagement between students and grads was profound and meaningful.

8th grader Ava L., shares her thoughts about career day in this video:

Deep appreciation to the Hamlin alumnae who joined us:

Monica Brown Andrews, ’84: In-house counsel, Equinix

Malieka Bundy, ’88: Sr. Solution Developer, Avanade

Krista Canellakis, ’96: Deputy Innovation Officer, Office of San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee

Katharine Gin, ’86: Executive Director, Educators for Fair Consideration

Amy Harrington, ’90: Attorney and Sonoma City Councilwoman

Alexis Gerber Howerton, ’99: CEO, Spruce Biosciences

Kate Larsen, ’97: Reporter, ABC7

Kaytea Petro, ’92: Protest Artist & Marketing Director, McRoskey Mattress Co.

Jenny Soong, ’99: Ecologist

Alexandra Suich, ’00: U.S. Technology Editor, The Economist

Giselle Talkoff, ’95: Police Officer, SFPD

Vera Chan Waller, ’88: Owner, Yank Sing Restaurant

 

An Interview with Wanda Holland Greene: Speaking about PLAID

This Interview was conducted and condensed by Hamlin parent, Demi Seguritan
PART I

“I dwell in Possibility” the title of Emily Dickinson’s poem was ingrained in her upbringing, lingers in her leadership and is now woven through the threads of PLAID, a parent-led group within our beloved Hamlin community.

Wanda Holland Greene grew up in Brooklyn, and during her formative years (from ages 5-11), her father stumbled upon the opportunity and insisted that she and her older sister Donna, take the yellow school bus along with 10 other African American students out of their district to integrate into Public School 68 in Queens, led by Head of School, Milton Schwartz.  Schwartz believed, “The world is going to be fair one day. I believe in what is possible.”

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Hamlin Travels the World with Google Expeditions

Today, Hamlin students had the opportunity to travel virtually to places like Chichen Itza, Mount Rushmore, and the village where Nelson Mandela grew up, through the technology of Google Expeditions. The immersive experience served to enhance both Spanish and Social Studies curriculum.

Google Expeditions enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips to places like museums, underwater, and outer space. Expeditions are collections of linked virtual reality (VR) content and supporting materials that can be used alongside existing curriculum. These trips are collections of virtual reality panoramas — 360° panoramas and 3D images — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools. There are 600 expeditions to choose from.

Students used virtual reality headsets with Android phones to bring images to life. While the girls explored various places, Hamlin teachers provided narrative information about the locales.

Hamlin faculty member Rachel Davis states, Google Expeditions give students an opportunity to explore an area through immersion, they get to be involved in the whole experience.

Hamlin 5th graders loved Google Expeditions. We liked how we can see structures from both a side view and from above, it was like going on a learning vacation without getting on a plane.

Below is a video of Hamlin 3rd graders exploring Mount Rushmore:

To learn more about Google Expeditions, please visit: https://edu.google.com/expeditions/#about

 

 

Project Based PD: Designing A Mini-Golf Course in 2nd Grade

Under the leadership of Mark Picketts, Hamlin’s Director of Program Innovation and Professional Development, teachers have been exploring and learning this year through inquiry projects that they personally design. As action researchers, teachers use data, research, and reflection to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. All teachers who participate in the Inquiry Project Year will share their findings with their colleagues at a year-end celebration of learning.

As part of her inquiry year, physical education teacher Terry McDonald created a dynamic project that allowed 2nd graders to design their own miniature golf courses. With the help of funds from Hamlin’s Raise the Paddle, Ms. McDonald was able to purchase mini-golf starter kits, she then partnered with Urban Putt in San Francisco so students could conduct research at their facility, while playing a round. The golf project integrated disciplines, combining technology, student-made video tutorials, tracking the design process via their iPads, while incorporating the geometric angles of math, all within the context of sport. Through the project, students were able to learn about golf, golf etiquette, while collaborating to make their courses as challenging as possible.

 

Watch this amazing integration project with second graders documented as part of Hamlin’s Project Based Professional Development program:
(link for internal users only)

The Hamlin Community Celebrates Holi

On Sunday, April 30th, a hundred people from the Hamlin community gathered at the Marina Middle School to usher in Spring and celebrate Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Holi signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, the end of winter, and for many it is a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. There was delicious Indian food served, arts and crafts for children, an informal dance lesson, and of course, plenty of color to go around!

Bianca Gates (1st grade Hamlin mom) and her family participated in Holi for the first time. After the event, she reflected, “my experience on Sunday was truly a phenomenal and memorable one, and something our family will make a tradition for years to come. The celebration was full of love and enthusiasm for life, family, friends and Spring! We arrived not knowing what to expect. Within minutes, friends and children were welcoming us with hugs… and unbeknownst to us, their hands were full of colored powder that they dumped on us. Everyone got messy—our hair, faces, clothes and shoes were filled with color. My favorite part was feeling like a kid again and dumping powder on others – especially the kids!  By the end of the celebration, we were all covered in bright colors, big smiles and full hearts. The only thing that could have made the day better was celebrating with other Hamlin families who were unable to attend. I’m looking forward to celebrating Holi again next year!”

This wonderful community-building event was created by Hamlin’s PLAID group. To learn more about PLAID, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/page/plaid