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 project year, Ms. Ray (Lower School Science Teacher) developed a K-4 environmental stewardship field trip strand to inspire an appreciation of biodiversity and give students opportunities to take action to create positive change in our community. The strand begins in kindergarten and first grade by exploring local habitats and learning about plant and animal adaptations for survival. These concepts develop a sense of place and community for our youngest scientists and expose them to the idea that everything is interconnected on our planet. Second, third, and fourth grade scientists further develop their understanding of interconnections leading them to want to take action in the form of environmental stewardship.
This year we are experimenting with a modified faculty evaluation model; it is “project-based PD*” or a year of in-depth inquiry for experienced faculty. During the Inquiry Project Year, Hamlin teachers will be able to dig deeply into an area of their own practice that they have identified. As action researchers, teachers will use data, research, and reflection to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice.
One teacher’s project sought to give her students more freedom to explore during their visit to SF MOMA. Our wonderful middle school art teacher, Ms. Feldman worked with technology integrator Ms. Davis to design a digital docent for her collaborative work with the museum:
We live in a digital age where thoughtful people strive everyday to find solutions to problems both mundane and profound.
At the Hamlin School in San Francisco students can take a 7th grade arts elective class where they work together to identify real issues that they care about, brainstorm ways to address those problems, and then learn to build apps to solve them. Students work through all key aspects of new product development, including: idea generation, technical feasibility, programming, design, deciding on business models and marketing.
At Hamlin, we’re constantly striving to innovate in the classroom, with the benefit of students and evidence based pedagogy at the heart of our choices. ATLIS, a new organization started only two years ago, offers a great conference focusing on education technology specifically in Independent Schools. I’m grateful to the Hamlin community for sponsoring me as I pursued this excellent professional development opportunity.
Ideas around integrating maker spaces into curriculum
How to create relevant and timely digital citizenship curriculum
The future of education technology in Independent Schools
Strategies around providing professional development to faculty and staff
I also teamed up with Kelsey Vrooman, one of the founding members of ATLIS, and presented a Deep Dive (1h45min) presentation about Blended Learning (BL). With around 20 attendees, we had a fruitful discussion about BL and how various models are being applied within Independent Schools currently.
Having returned, my mind is now buzzing with ideas! Thank you, Hamlin, for the opportunity to connect with like minded educators and learn from some of the most accomplished education technology leaders in the country.
On Friday the technology team welcomed the Middle School staff into the Riveter Lab to get a look at some of the tools that are in the space. Our hope is that they can begin to envision integrating these tools into their lessons. We strive to provide cutting edge tools and know how enabling Hamlin students to demonstrate their understanding in innovative and new ways.
Staff arrived and after a brief introduction they went to learn more in depth about 2 specific tools. Staff self-selected their sessions and attended two of: 3D printing, Arduino, laser cutting, video production and editing with Green Screens, Circuit Scribe by Electonink, or Autodesk’s Project Ignite platform. Staff were engaged and using the tools in a hands on way. We look forward to inviting staff back to the tools knowing that the more they use the tools, the easier it will be for them to see curricular connection for their students.
The newly opened Riveter Lab on the second floor of historic Stanwood hall is a space and resource that brings together (rivets) the entire school. This has been a message the tech team has worked hard to communicate with faculty and students in both lower and middle school. We also have been vocal in regards to welcoming faculty and staff to be trained on using the array of tools in the space. That is why we were so happy to invite the Development Office and the chairs of this year’s golf tournament into the space.
They were looking to create a video, highlighting teachers that would outline the goal of the “Raise the Paddle” fundraiser – to support our Professional Development fund. The team was trained on using the iOgrapher equipment, our green screen, and DoInk’s Green Screen app. They filmed the staff and used the app to create this video:
Pretty good for a first attempt! Like anywhere good news travels fast and it was only moments before the chairs of the Golf Tournament contacted us requesting to sign out the necessary materials to create a “photo booth” hole at the tournament. This would allow the tournament committee to take pictures and place them on creative backdrops for display at the tournament’s dinner. Here are some of the unmodified “green” shots:
We don’t know if it was the fantastic video or the exemplary cajoling of the division heads, but the Raise the Paddle was a huge success and the entire faculty will be attending this year’s NAIS conference. We feel so fortunate to work with families who recognize the ongoing need for teachers to grow and improve their craft.
On Friday the dedicated and dynamic @hamlin lower school staff were introduced to the Riveter Lab. The space, refreshed but familiar welcomed them and then they quickly got to work. Our time was spent being introduced to the new and exciting tools housed within the library, seeing some of them in action, brainstorming how they could be used to help the girls bring their dreams to life, and then a heated competition: to build the highest free standing structure they could using Keva Planks and Strawbees:
We’re really proud of the accomplishments of these teachers and the fun they had … but it seems we were a ways off the world record:
Do these @hamlin Board members look like they’re working?
Board trustees try their hand at fourth grade Lego robotics activity.
Well they most certainly are; working and learning! The tech team welcomed school board members into the @RiviterLab to learn a little bit more about what would be happening in the rejuvenated space.
The team thought the best way to do this would be to get the board in the space and using the tools. The board heard some introductory comments about the space from Director of Technology & Innovation Mark Picketts before being divided into three groups. The first group explored Circuit Scribe by electroninks and worked through an introductory activity housed within Autodesk’s Project Ignite toolkit. The second group worked with Middle School Technology Integration Specialist Jim Lengel as he walked them through the process his first trimester 3D digital arts students are experiencing: building laser cut lamps. The third group engaged with Lower School STEM coordinator and Integration Specialist – Caroline Windell and worked through the identical lessons some of their 4th grade daughters had completed earlier in the day – an introductory investigation on movement with the Lego EV3 robots.
The slide deck that introduced the Board to the space highlighted the space as one shared by all students, introduced our partnership with the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park site, as well as let them know the things on our: Today, Monday, and Someday lists:
A time laps of the 20 minute introductory session:
They’re NOT mutually exclusive! The tech team @Hamlin has been working hard to transform the school from one with pockets of innovation to one that has innovation has a pillar of its culture. We do so under a stable mission statement that we work with everyday, that mission:
The Hamlin School educates girls to meet the challenges of their time and inspires them to become extraordinary thinkers and innovators, courageous leaders, and women of integrity.
Innovation often involves the use or adoption of a new idea or behavior. It can absolutely add stress – it’s hard work to keep up with a moving target. We need to keep up, for our students – and the “target” is moving faster today than ever before. The dynamic educators at the Hamlin school work joyfully after this mission, and we are blessed to work with such a dedicated group.
In addition to the stability of our shared mission the Hamlin staff also enjoys stability through the technology team. The stability of this team is an important calming factor to staff as new initiatives are rolled out. The team has worked to gain the trust of the staff. Teachers know that the tech team – all educators – has thoroughly vetted initiatives and will differentiate training to meet them where they are with respect to any new roll-out. We’ll also go at a pace that doesn’t add anxiety. I feel grateful for the 100% return of the technology team here at Hamlin (pictured) and look forward to a year stable innovation.