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Hamlin Robinson Winter Concert

This year Hamlin Robinson School is celebrating Winter with sounds of the season. Levels 2, 3, 5 and 8 have all busily been preparing music to celebrate this snowy time. Our Winter Concert will also include a performance by our music faculty, and perhaps even a snow-themed singalong.

Level 2: As early as the 13th century, King Henry VIII proclaimed that there would be a fair in late autumn to support merchants and tradespeople through the harsh Winter season. Later, the story of Scarborough Fair was popularized as a folk song, and then again made popular in 1960s by Simon and Garfunkel. The Level 2 class is performing this song as two people separated by impossible tasks, with students coming up with motions to interpret the often mysterious Olde English language in the song.

Level 3: Fuyuzakura are a breed of cherry blossom that bloom from late fall to early Winter in Japan These delicate white flowers are often accompanied by snowfall, and there are many folk songs about their natural beauty. The Level 3 class has worked hard to learn a verse of the song Yuki (translated as Snow). Students have learned the song in Japanese and English. We’ve even sung the song for Japanese-speaking faculty members in order to improve our pronunciation. The song will be accompanied lightly with piano, and sung in a 3-part round.

Level 5: You’ve probably heard of Elvis’ rendition of the song Hound Dog, originally popularized by Big Mama Thornton, but have you heard of a… Winter Dog?! The Level 5 class has learned the ukulele chords to Hound Dog, and as a special treat, each of the three classes have collaborated on their own original verse of this new song, referred to in our class as Winter Dog.

Level 8: As students enter their final year before high school, the priority of our music program is shifted from large-scale performance to personal advocacy. Level 8 students work in small bands to create music for assemblies and/or concerts. We have three bands performing for our Winter Concert and each has picked music and arranged it based upon their specific skills and interests.

Our first band will be performing an arrangement of White Winter Hymnal by the Fleet Foxes, a piece that weaves complicated singing, xylophone, and body percussion together into one song. Another group has chosen to do an assembly singalong to Jingle Bells. Finally, we have a reprise of the Jingle Buddies who bring a percussive passion to Winter parties.

Our goal as a music program is to approach music in a historical equitable fashion. This year we chose secular music for our Winter Concert. If you have any questions about music programming or repertoire, you can contact me at


Exploring Personal Strengths and Passions in the HRS Library
Exploring Personal Strengths and Passions in the HRS Library

Libraries are an essential community resource. Along with providing ample resources and access to information, they offer a safe, inviting space for people to learn more about themselves. Here at Hamlin Robinson, the library is a space where all students can explore and expand their personal interests. In library classes, students at every grade level have been spending time discovering personal strengths and passions.

Levels 1-3: Over the past few months, first, second, and third grade students participated in a variety of read alouds to consider an important question: what makes a good story? Students learned more about the necessity of story elements like character, setting, and a compelling problem. Third graders also learned about unseen story elements that require us to infer and make predictions.

To personalize this work, first and second graders used their knowledge of story elements to create their own comics, while third graders worked together to plan and record collective storytelling projects. These projects allowed students to apply their understanding of key story elements to a personal interest. As a result, their finished products were just as compelling and unique as the students themselves.

Levels 4-5: In the intermediate grades, students will spend the next trimester learning more about their personal reading preferences by studying a variety of genres and writing styles. Level 4 students will participate in a focused genre study on folktales and fairy tales, while level 5 students will learn more about the different genres of fiction.

This exploration of story types will allow students to reflect on their personal reading preferences: Which types of stories do I like the most? When I read a book, what ideas or themes am I most interested in? The ability to discern likes and dislikes, particularly in relation to reading, will support students' growth in the classroom and beyond.

Level 6: In sixth grade, students spent much of the first and second trimesters reflecting about themselves as learners. Specifically, they engaged with surveys about Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences. They explored the differences between auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning preferences, and how all people show their intelligence through different skills.

To process and showcase this newfound knowledge about themselves, students created "learning crests"—illustrated designs highlighting individual students' learning profiles in a coat-of-arms layout. The results were beautiful—as unique and creative as the kids who made them.

Level 7: In the second trimester, students began work on a note-taking unit to learn more about their personal learning preferences. Students got to try out different styles of note-taking (Cornell, visual, and outlining) and choose the one that best suited their learning style.

Each student will use their preferred note-taking strategy in an upcoming research project, the Musician Spotlight, where they will get to research and present a historical figure in the music world. In this project, students will not only apply self-reflection to choose a learning style best suited to their needs, but they will also get to explore a personal interest through their research.

Level 8: Our eighth graders just wrapped up a "Passion Project," where each student chose a topic of personal curiosity to research. The possibilities were limitless—from at-home beekeeping, to game strategy, to the history of pointe shoes—and students truly took advantage of the freedom of expression.

After months of compiling research, developing visually-striking slideshows, and preparing their presentations, students shared their topics with one another. It was a joy to see so many students investing time in a personal interest, and this type of self-directed learning will support them as they transition to high school next year.

In so many ways, libraries are an essential component of citizenship. At HRS, the library serves as a resource to help our students learn more about themselves. As students continue this path toward self-awareness—considering their strengths, their interests, their passions—they build more confidence to explore the world around them. If you have any questions about the library and its programs at Hamlin Robinson, please reach out at