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.
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.
On March 28, The Hamlin School held an incredible interdisciplinary learning extravaganza known as 5th Grade Forum. The event was well attended by Hamlin parents who were eager to learn from their daughters. 5th Grade Forum is the first of the Intensives for Middle School. Intensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. Grade 6 students will participate in a Symposium, Grade 7 in Rise to the Challenge, and Grade 8 students will put on an entire musical.
For the Forum, Grade 5 students were divided into groups based on geographic regions of the United States. Once in their groups, students set out to become regional experts through a project based learning approach. The Forum incorporated various facets of the following disciplines: Humanities, Math, Science, Art, and Music. During the month-long exploration, students had the opportunity to create collages, videos, math problems, poems, spoken word, and detailed magazines with comprehensive articles. The magazines covered some of the following topics: History, Current Events, Travel, Animals, Sports, Environment, Food, Art, Economy, Cities, and Entertainment. During the Forum our students showcased their poised public speaking skills in front of dozens of parents.
On Wednesday, Saadi Halil spoke and performed in front of Grade 7 students. Mr. Halil is an accomplished musician and co-owns San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery in the Inner Sunset.
Saadi Halil has traveled the world studying various languages and incorporating different styles of folk music into his repertoire. After living in Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Portugal, and Spain, Halil expanded the diversity of his Blues and American folk sound with his take on Spanish and Portuguese folk traditions. Saadi also has an original song catalogue of over 100 songs.
Mr. Halil performed songs and spoke to our students about his life. He played a Blues tune, a sing-along Bob Dylan song, and an original composition that he wrote in Portuguese.
Mr. Halil majored in international affairs at George Washington University and emphasized the importance of travel in his life. He spoke about how music and travel helped shape him into a lifelong listener, someone interested in other people and their various cultures. He urged students to pursue their passions in life and do what really makes them feel alive and happy. During the Q and A period, Mr. Halil talked about his love for making ice cream, listing some of his favorite flavors, including a special one that features baklava.
To learn more about Saadi Halil, please visit: https://www.saadihalil.com/
To learn more about his ice cream store, please visit: http://www.sfhometowncreamery.com/
On the evening of January 10, just a few days before Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, PLAID (a Hamlin Parent Association group focused on educating our community about diversity and promoting an inclusive environment) teamed up with MoAD (Museum of the African Diaspora) to celebrate music and togetherness.
Close to 150 people (adults and children) enjoyed delicious soul food provided by Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, then gathered in Stanwood’s Great Hall to listen to the riveting Marcelle Davies-Lashley and her dynamic all-female band. Before the music, Executive Director of the MoAD, Linda Harrison, addressed the rapt audience, providing a wonderful overview of all that her museum has to offer our San Francisco Bay Area community.
Before playing, Ms. Davies-Lashley gave a brief but comprehensive history of African-American music, from the 1800’s until our present day. After speaking, Ms. Davies-Lashley merged with the past, using her powerful vocal ability and presence to channel the energy of artists like Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, and Stevie Wonder. The audience participated in call and response, clapping, and dancing, moved by the songs of struggle and hope. At one point in the evening Ms. Holland-Greene (Head of The Hamlin School) joined the band, playing the tambourine with joy that was palpable.
The Museum of the African Diaspora is open with free admission on January 15th in honor of Dr. King’s birthday. To learn more about the museum, please visit: https://www.moadsf.org/
To learn more about Marcelle Davies-Lashley and watch her perform, please visit: http://www.marcelledavieslashley.com/
Grade 3 students are making ukuleles with their own hands, hearts, and creativity. Like so much in life, this project began as an idea.
The idea for the ukulele project came from a conversation I had with Mark Picketts last year. During that conversation, Mark mentioned that there was a project like this at another school, and I got really excited about the potential of bringing it to Hamlin. Originally, I was thinking about doing this project with Grade 4, but when I mentioned it to Brandy (Garcia), she immediately became excited and said we had to do it with Grade 3. Brandy’s enthusiasm and passion has really brought this project to life! Making connections to art and poetry was something I wasn’t even thinking about.
Mr. Louie had never made a ukulele before, but he was able to watch Instructable videos about the process and was excited to model taking risks for our students. Mr. Louie knows how to play the ukulele, so he already had a feel for the instrument.
Our students are working through the following to construct the ukuleles:
Recently, grade 4 artists had the opportunity to design their own original artwork for record album covers. The students picked a record title out of a hat and were not allowed to look at the artwork of the real album. The girls were then challenged to design their own cover using the title. During the activity students listened to songs from each album, learning some popular music history along the way.