Students Lead 2019 Book Drive

Hamlin students and parents have been working diligently to collect thousands of books this November. Numerous books have already been generously donated by members of our community. Student volunteers sort and stack books during lunch with dedication and care. Students also organize the drive in terms of advertising and getting the word out. The book drive runs through November 22nd, so there is still time to donate so we can meet our goal of 3001 books!

This year books will be donated to:

-Hamilton Families

-Woodrow Wilson Elementary

-Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco

-Children’s Book Projects

-Local preschools

Exploring Gender Identity with Jonathan Skurnik

On Monday middle school students, faculty members, and parents explored gender identity with filmmaker, Jonathan Skurnik.

Jonathan Skurnik is a documentary producer, director and cinematographer. Five of his films have broadcast on PBS and European Television, as well as on domestic Satellite and Cable stations. His films have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center and in art galleries in New York City and at over two hundred film festivals throughout the world. He has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the American Indian film festival, the Change Maker Award at the Media That Matters Film Festival, the Audience Award for Outstanding Achievement at Outfest, the Harry Chapin Media Award for films about poverty and Best Documentary Award at the UrbanTV film Festival.

Filmmaker and educator Jonathan Skurnik was a gender expansive child who loved to play with both dollhouses and Hot Wheels, wear pants and dresses. Like any child, he wanted it all! Then he started to get teased and bullied and gave up “girly” things. In the early 2000s Jonathan read about children who were gender creative and transgender and were living in communities that supported them. These children and their families were doing what he hadn’t been able to do as a child. So Jonathan created the Youth and Gender Media Project, a series of short films about these modern day heroes, which are screened in schools throughout the country to make the world safe for all flavors of gender identity and expression.

Some highlights from Mr. Skurnik’s three-session visit:

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Pop Culture Mash-Up Art

Grade 7 students recently completed vibrant pop culture mash-up art pieces. The project began with students choosing and researching an iconic painting. Girls then selected a pop culture reference to incorporate into their work. This project provided the opportunity for girls to delve deeper into the mechanics of painting. They learned how to: use different size and style brushes, mix paint effectively, refine their brush work, and explore the way a painting is created.

The above piece by Annabelle L. mashes Sponge Bob with The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai.

RTC Field Experience with Grade 7

On Tuesday, Grade 7 girls left campus to explore the California Academy of Sciences and volunteer with the nonprofits Glide and City Hope. At the end of the day each group participated in reflective work, which allowed students to process their profound experiences.

The day was designed to help our students inquire as they prepare for their Rise to the Challenge (RTC) capstone project work (taking place in May). For RTC, girls will strive to identify challenges they feel passionate about, then develop action plans to address those challenges, using their knowledge, resources, and collaborative talents. Students will have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various local and global problems.

These excursions allowed our girls to investigate issues facing our environment and learn more about the intricacies of urban poverty.

-Special thanks to Hamlin parent, Bart Shepherd (Senior Director of the California Academy of Sciences) for speaking with our students about the inner workings of the Academy.

Charlotte Gould Speaks about Kindness and Doll Making

On Monday, Charlotte Gould spoke with Hamlin lower and middle students about her altruistic work making dolls for hospitalized children experiencing surgeries. Charlotte also shared an acronym that she lives by: SEW (Smile, Eye Contact, Welcome). Embracing SEW has opened her to friendships and profound connections with people from all over the world.

At a 20-week ultrasound, Charlotte was diagnosed with a cleft lip & palate — the most common facial birth defect in the United States, affecting every 1 in 700 babies.  She had several surgeries and procedures, including two before her first birthday.  Doctor visits, planned surgeries, unexpected procedures, and ongoing treatment filled Charlotte’s childhood– along with laughter, dolls, joy and lots of smiles!

Charlotte states: “I was born with a cleft lip and palate.  I’ve had several surgeries on my lip, nose, mouth and gums to create the smile you see today.  My smile has changed my life, and I want to help other children smile too, especially kids needing surgeries. I know surgeries can be scary, but hugs from family, smiles from friends, and something soft to snuggle can really help.  I founded Stitches by Charlotte to support other kids just like me.  The purpose of my new surgery companion doll line is to turn scary times into smiles for children facing surgery everywhere!”

​​Charlotte sewed her first doll to look just like her– long brown braids, glasses, and a sweet smile with a tiny scar.  She received so much positive feedback for making a doll that was perfectly “imperfect.”  Charlotte began to discover a passion for making dolls with differences. From a doll with a scar across her chest for the tiniest heart warrior, to a doll with a crown of stitches for a brain-surgery sweetie– Charlotte happily sews to make others smile.  Requests poured in from people who believe Charlotte’s little dolls can make a big difference.

Charlotte and her dolls have been featured in American Girl magazine & Scholastic News, on Good Morning America, Fox News’ The Five, Disney Radio, and honored at WE Day 2018. Charlotte finds SEW much joy in helping others.

We are honored that Charlotte donated three of her dolls to The Hamlin School.

To learn more please visit: http://www.stitchesbycharlotte.com/

Hamlin Celebrates Día de los Muertos

Our Spanish department is leading a school wide celebration of Día de los Muertos with an altar on the 1st floor of Stanwood.

Día de Los Muertos is a Latin American celebration that focuses on family and friends gathering to remember loved ones who are no longer with us. People traditionally bring food and objects called ofrendas to feast on and celebrate their cherished ones.

In our ofrenda, you will find a red bowl with paper butterflies; please feel free to write the name of someone you would like to remember on the butterfly and pin it to the wall.

Students will also be able to bring non-perishable food as part of the offerings. At the end of the celebrations, the food will be donated to a Bay Area nonprofit.

Activism Through Art

Earlier this month, Grade 8 students explored craftivism in their art elective. Craftivism is a form of activism centered on practices of craft. Craftivism includes, but is not limited to, various forms of needlework, including yarn-bombing or cross-stich. Craftivism is a social process of collective empowerment, action, expression and negotiation.

Writer Betsy Greer coined the term craftivism in 2003 in order to join the separate spheres of craft and activism. Her favorite self-created definition of the term states, “craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper, and your quest for justice more infinite.”

Understanding Character Traits Through Food

Grade 2 has been doing a deep study of book characters in order to understand outside and inside traits. As part of this investigation, girls did a lesson using food and recipe writing. Ms. Biale brought two kinds of biscuits, sweet and savory. The biscuits looked the same from the outside, but tasted differently on the inside. This hands on experience helped students see that the outside is just a part of the story. Then the girls wrote “recipes” to describe characters in their books. They wrote descriptions like “1 cup of bravery, 1 teaspoon of fear, and a dash of cleverness,” alongside a drawing of the character. Later, students also created recipes to describe themselves. This integrating of food with literature provided a wonderful and profound learning experience.

Celebrating Diwali

Our celebration of Diwali has begun. 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. The holiday begins on October 27th and will last five days.

In honor of Diwali the entrances to Hamlin were decorated this morning with rangolis as a sign of welcome, with hopes of bringing good luck to visitors. Students will also perform a beautiful dance in Lower School tomorrow. Our librarian, Ms. Cardone has put together a collection of books to help readers better enjoy and understand Diwali. A link to the collection can be found here: http://hamlin.libguides.com/c.php?g=966304

 

Ukuleles and Tuning Technology

Grade 3 students are in the process of building their own ukuleles with maker teacher Mr. Louie, but in the meantime they are practicing on our school instruments. As part of this music making experience, students learn how to tune their ukuleles using iPads. There are 4 strings on a ukulele, G, C, E, and A. The Tunefor Ukulele app tells students if the string is too high, too low, or just right. It’s a complex skill, so they work together to figure it out. Part of the process is also training their ears so they can eventually learn to listen for what the instrument is supposed to sound like.