Author Archives: polk@hamlin.org

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

 

 

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

 

Earth Day: The Future of Food

Last Friday we celebrated Earth Day with a myriad of activities that engaged and educated students. In the build up to Earth Day we explored The Future of Food through conversations, videos, and a hands on project that measured how much food is wasted each day at Hamlin.

We investigated the following questions (among others): How is our food made and how far does it travel? Why are we wasting so much food? Why doesn’t everyone have access to healthy food? What can we do with excess and imperfect food? How can we help those who can’t afford food?

The following array of events took place:

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Hamlin 7th Graders to Launch Experiments into Space

Cubes in Space™ a program by idoodledu inc., in collaboration with NASA’s Langley Research Center, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Colorado Space Grant Consortium, offers global design competitions for students 11-18 years of age to develop STEAM-based experiments for launch into space.

Used in formal or informal learning environments, students and educators are exposed to engaging online content and activities in preparation for the design and development of an experiment to be integrated into a small cube. Throughout the experience, students develop key 21st century skills; communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

Since 2014, Cubes in Space has flown nearly 400 experiments representing 1500 educators and over 20,000 students from 57 different countries. This year nearly 600 educators and thousands of students from 39 countries participated and proposed experiments for placement on a NASA sounding rocket or high-altitude scientific balloon mission.  A total of 160 experiments were selected and were designed by students from Australia, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, the and the United States of America.

The experiments will be launched via sounding rocket in late June 2017 from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia or by high-altitude scientific balloon in late summer 2017 from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico.

The following Hamlin student experiments will be launched this summer:

Maya W. and Sofia I. “Graphene Filament Voltage in Stratosphere versus on Earth”
They are looking at using a special carbon 3-D printing filament that is electrically conductive. The girls want to test the affects of the filament in space to see if it could be used as an electrical wire on Mars for possible colonization, since Mars has a lot of carbon as a building material source.

Della W. and Annie S. “How do high levels of UV-A/UV-B rays affect the efficiency of protective sunglass lenses?” They are looking at how polarized and regular sunglasses protect against UV rays with the higher UV intensity of space. Higher intensities are seen in different areas of the Earth, day to day while flying in an airplane and often from human interaction or after a global event such as a tsunami. Pollution or a tsunami can release toxins into the air that affect ozone protection and increase the UV levels.

Special thanks to Hamlin teacher Melissa Alfred, for her guidance with this important work.

For more information about Cubes in Space, please visit: http://www.cubesinspace.com/

 

Thrive Global Interviews Wanda Holland Greene

Read the article here: https://journal.thriveglobal.com/wanda-holland-greene-on-reclaiming-her-space-and-sanity-a81f2c2b8b28

 

Hamlin 1st Graders Interview Local Businesses

First graders have been studying neighborhoods and community. As part of their work they have been conducting insightful interviews.

Click here to listen to the interviews: https://sites.google.com/hamlin.org/neighborhood-interviews/home

Click here to learn more about the 1st grade community project work: http://pubs.hamlin.org/blog/2016/10/28/hamlin-1st-graders-explore-community/

 

Hamlin’s 5th Grade Forum

Last Friday Hamlin held an incredible interdisciplinary learning extravaganza called 5th Grade Forum. The event was well-attended by Hamlin parents who were eager to learn.

5th graders were divided into 4 groups based on geographic regions of the United States: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and West. 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, Music. During the month-long exploration, students had the opportunity to create collages, websites, plays, and magazines.

The following is some of what the girls showcased:

-Two plays (based on the books Home of the Brave and The Circuit) were performed in the spirit of word-for-word works, first created by Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre, a theater company which believes that great books make great theater. The plays delved into understanding immigration and refugee experiences in the United States.

-Four regional magazines with featured articles on various topics, created through Lucidpress technology

-Region-based landscape collages that demonstrated an understanding of scale and proportion

-Websites and posters about water conservation and understanding one’s own water footprint

-A student performance of Faith Hill’s song, American Heart

Special thanks to all of the faculty members who made this Forum possible: Nick Wilsey, Lauren DeLisle, Rachel Kerkhoff, Jackson Blum, Maggie Jo Feldman, Heidi Abbott, and Will Skaff.

Watch the short video below to hear a student reflection about the Forum:

To learn more about Lucidpress, please visit: https://www.lucidpress.com/pages/usecase/education

 

 

Hamlin Says Farewell to Nonhlanhla Ntshengila

For most of the month of March we were very lucky to have Ms. Ntshengila visiting us from South Africa as part of the program, Teach With Africa. I had a chance to sit down with Ms. Ntshengila and listen to some of her thoughts about the experience of joining the Hamlin community.

Before coming to the United States she was worried about how she would be perceived in terms of her accent and skin color; but she left feeling that people were very nice. She shared that she gained a new level of independence and freedom by walking around San Francisco by herself, visiting places like Chinatown.

Ms. Ntshengila stated that she was very impressed with Hamlin’s math department. The importance of process is emphasized with math at Hamlin. Students must really understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. In South Africa students don’t always understand why they are doing something, they just do it because they are told to.

Ms. Ntshengila was also impressed with Hamlin’s use of technology in the classroom. I thought the use of iPads in the classroom would be disruptive, but it is the opposite, the students are so focused on their work.

Apart from academics, I asked Ms. Ntshengila what impressed her most about San Francisco and Hamlin. The hills, there are so many, and eating green salads, I love the salad from the buffet.

Below is a short video of Ms. Nthshengila

To learn more about Teach With Africa, please visit: http://www.teachwithafrica.org/

Special thanks to the kind people who helped host the Nonhlanhla Ntshengila: Julie and Allen Benello, Hala Jimenez, and Heather Smith.

The Hamlin School would also like to recognize Hamlin grandparents and Founders of Teach With Africa, Marjorie and Larry Schlenoff.

 

 

Hamlin 3rd Graders Speak about Dolores Huerta

Today four Hamlin 3rd graders spoke in front of the entire lower school about the importance of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez. The presentation was given in both Spanish and English. Two students spoke in character as both Chavez and Huerta.

They shared the following (among other points):

-Huerta and Chavez drove from farm to farm and town to town speaking to people about the need for better working conditions and the need for children of farmworkers to attend school

-Chavez went on hunger strikes to bring attention to the plight of farmworkers

Si Se Puede or Yes We Can became the mantra of the organized farmworkers

-To show support for farmworkers, Californians boycotted grapes, strawberries, and lettuce

-The United Farmworkers marched 340 miles from Delano to Sacramento to champion the rights of workers

-March 31st is the birthday of Cesar Chavez and is recognized as a California State holiday

Special thanks to Judy Ching and Kate McGinnis for helping to organize this thoughtful assembly.