Tag Archives: California

Grade 3: California Painting and Poetry

I am big and strong
I hold up the snow
Up Up Up

I provide water
Growing crops
Helping California

I smell fresh
The mist blowing overhead

I am the princess of the sky
My tips pointed up

I am still
Solid stone

I am thunder
Water trickling down me

I am nature’s wonderland
Full of beautiful plants

I have great big

I am born
Of rocks

I am Sierra


California Self-Portraits in Grade 3

Earlier in the school year Grade 3 students made beautiful California Self-Portraits as part of their Social Studies curriculum. Saaya did the above piece and and shared this:

My favorite place in California is Pinnacles National Park because the slight breeze on your face feels nice. If you ever decide to go on a hike with no work, good luck! If you do go there are big rocks.

Grade 4 Explores Big Basin

Last week our Grade 4 students spent 3 days and 2 nights in beautiful Big Basin. Highlights included: making s’mores, hiking, preparing meals, enjoying giant redwood trees, and bonding with classmates.

To learn more about our Outdoor Education program, please visit: https://www.hamlin.org/program/outdoor-education

Grade 4 Visits California Pioneer Museum

Grade 4 recently visited Her Side of the Story: Tales of Pioneer Women, the newest exhibit at the Society of California Pioneers.

Among the treasures in The Society of California Pioneers archives are rare, first person narratives by pioneer women. After uniting to ensure that future generations could recognize, and would acknowledge, the role women played in the formation of the state, The Association of Pioneer Women of California collected and preserved the experiences of its members. Bound in an unpublished, handwritten book, their remarkable stories are the foundation of this museum exhibition and online resource for teachers.

Grade 4 Social Studies curriculum delves into American History and Geography, Westward Expansion, and History from the Female Perspective, making the excursion a wonderful fit with our studies.

To learn more about the exhibit, please visit: https://www.californiapioneers.org/museum/

Students Speak about Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez

On the morning of April 4 a group of poised lower school girls spoke about Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. Below is what they shared.

Dolores Huerta’s birthday is coming up on April 10. Dolores’s mother taught her to always help others. Dolores went to school and became a teacher. Soon she met farmworkers’ children who would come to school cold and barefoot. They came to school when the farmers didn’t need them in the fields to pick crops. They were also too hungry to learn in school.

Cesar Chavez’s birthday was this past Sunday, March 31st. He was born in Arizona but had to move to California because his family lost their farm in Arizona because of unpaid taxes. The only work they could find was to become part of the California migrant farmworkers’ population. Cesar had to drop out of school. They never had an address because they had to move from farm to farm to pick lettuce or strawberries or grapes.

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Hamlin Excels at Theater Festival Competition

On February 16, our seventeen Hamlin thespians excelled at an incredibly challenging theater festival. We competing with 257 students (Grades 6-8) from 22 different middle schools from all over California at the Middle School Stage Fest in Pleasant Hill, earning 5 gold medals, 4 silver medals, 5 bronze medals, and 18 Bravissimo Awards for Excellence in Theatre Artistry. The adjudicators assessed our monologues, scenes, musical solos, and musical duets.

The CETA Middle Stage Fest, now in its eighteenth year, is an exciting event for middle school drama students. At the festival, students perform monologues, scenes, and musical theatre numbers for panels of adjudicators and compete to earn bronze, silver and gold medals. In addition, while judges are tabulating the scores, students get to participate in high-energy theatre games. Unlike involvement in sports, it is rare for theatre students to have the opportunity to meet peers from other schools, share their passion, showcase their talent, and learn from one another. This festival brings together hundreds of students to do just that. All participating students qualify to attend CA YOUTH IN THEATRE DAY, where they meet and perform with other award-winning students from throughout the state.

To learn more, please visit: http://cetoweb.org/ceta/ceta-middle-stage-fest/

Northern California Fires: Healing Through Writing

Sometimes I write letters to help me feel, to help me think and to help me mend. We tried this today in light of our hearts being so very broken. 
-Hamlin Grade 3 Teacher, Brandy Garcia

Francisco Jimenez, Author for the Migrant Worker

photo-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31-32-33-34-35-36-37-38-39-40-41May 21st, Hamlin (in San Francisco) welcomed Mexican-American writer and Santa Clara University Professor, Francisco Jimenez.  In the early 1950’s Dr. Jimenez worked alongside his parents in the fields of California as an undocumented child laborer.  He went on to graduate from Columbia University with a Ph.D., work with Cesar Chavez, and write the autobiographical books The Circuit:  Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child, Breaking Through, and Reaching Out.  The San Francisco Chronicle has called his work “moving and must-read,” and renowned author Rudolfo Anaya called his stories “so realistic they choke the heart.”

At Hamlin, our 6th graders read The Circuit as part of an interdisciplinary unit that combines literature and social studies.  An eighth grader recalled loving the book, stating that it was “told from a young person’s perspective that I could relate to and gave me a better understanding of the social justice issues facing migrant workers.”  Having Dr. Jimenez visit was a very special way to complete the learning experience.

Dr. Jimenez began his talk by asking how many people in the room had a parent or grandparent who had been born in another country.  Many hands went up, demonstrating how close we all are to the immigrant experience.  He went on to describe the intimate details of his youth, living out of cardboard boxes, moving from tent camp to ramshackle abodes, following the strawberries, grapes, cotton, and carrots, based on the various picking seasons.  He shared what it was like to be a 6-year-old in the fields, working, and watching his parents literally break their backs for pennies per pound picked.

While in migrant worker camps, Dr. Jimenez learned storytelling firsthand from folktales told by highly intelligent workers who never had the opportunity to go to school.  Listening to these stories sparked his creativity at an early age.  Later, when he was in 10th grade, his teacher Ms. Bell said that he had “writing talent.”  Dr. Jimenez ended his talk by telling our students, “The Mexican immigrant experience is an important and integral part of the American experience.  It is part of your history.  What is the identity of our nation?  Its identity consists of all the experiences of all the diverse groups that make up our society. ….the plight of child labor still happens in this country.  Have compassion, have compassion.”

After his talk, I had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Dr. Jimenez.  I was interested to learn how he was able to support his family and excel in high school at the same time.  He would begin his day at 6am working for an hour to an hour and a half as a janitor cleaning the Western Union and Betty’s Fabric’s before going to school.  After school from 3:15pm to 4:45pm he would study in the school library, then he would clean offices from 5pm to 10pm, often staying an extra hour until 11pm to finish homework.  On weekends he would continue his work as a janitor 8 to 10 hours on both Saturday and Sunday.

Dr. Jimenez went on to tell me about marching a portion of the 246 miles from Delano, California to Sacramento with Cesar Chavez in 1966, as part of the United Farm Workers strike and grape boycott.  He shared how Chavez sought to educate farmworkers about injustice suffered, while inviting people to join the union.  He described Chavez as, “inspiring, low-key, humble, and spiritual.”  Later in 1985 he invited Chavez to speak at Santa Clara University.  When Jimenez called his office to ask about a speaking fee, Cesar told him “to pay whatever he could afford.”  As part of that visit, they had dinner together, Jimenez described how Cesar Chavez “gave his complete attention, didn’t talk about himself that much, and was an incredible listener.”

Concluding our conversation, I asked Dr. Jimenez about migrant workers today.  He was very specific about areas that we as people should be concerned about.  He listed: a living wage, health insurance, better living conditions, enforcement of child labor laws, and limiting the use of pesticides in the fields.  He ended by saying that we should seek to “eliminate the suffering of human beings.”

To learn more about Dr. Francisco Jimenez, please visit: http://www.scu.edu/cas/modernlanguages/facultystaff/jimenezhomepage.cfm

To purchase a copy of The Circuit, please visit: http://www.amazon.com/The-Circuit-Stories-Migrant-Child/dp/0826317979

To see Francisco Jimenez in conversation, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWL2d_NYLKc

To learn more about the current situation for migrant workers, please watch the trailer for the film Food Chainshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqZLrXVAde4