Head’s Corner

You Say Tomato, I Say Field Study

If you have heard us talk about our students’ “field trips” recently, you may have noticed that we try to exchange the word “trip” with “study” or “experience,” or even used the term “field work.” Words matter, they send specific messages in our educational culture. The phrase field trip is predominately used when describing experiential learning. But “field trip” sounds close to going on a fun excursion as opposed to doing the work of real world learning.


Today, our kindergartners went “into the field” to do the serious work of researchers. They are currently studying the different aspects of what makes a community and traveled to the Moraga Fire Station. At the station, they interviewed the firemen about the different roles they play in our community. They discovered that a fireman not only puts out fires but helps with medical emergencies, educate citizens, as well as participates in activities that bring our community closer. While I am sure the students had fun (engaged learning is fun), make no doubt about it, the students were doing the work of researchers in the field.

Next week, our 8th graders head to Washington D.C. to do field work. Their objective is to understand how D.C. represents American cultural values. They have been doing research over the past two weeks in order to do a real world investigation of their driving question. To understand their question at a deeper level, they will be examining artifacts, hearing from experts, as well as learning from each other.

In the case of both the 8th graders and the kindergartners, students are doing the serious work of researchers. They are investigating, talking with experts, reflecting and revising their understanding. In other words, they are approaching learning like graduate students. Which is why we prefer the phrase “field experience” or “field study” to field trip as they more accurately describe the serious nature of the work our students do.

Thoughtfulness Is…


The Owlets had fun again with their big 6th grade buddies last week. Before they met with their big buddies, the Owlets learnt what thoughtfulness is, and then their big buddy explained it again. Then they made an ornament that said “Thoughtfulness is…”


Big and little buddies discussed how they are thoughtful and the big buddy wrote their responses on the ornament. Some of what the Owlets and big buddies said was:

  • “Thinking of others before myself.” – Brooke, 6th grade
  • “Helping with my baby brother.” – Harper, Owlet
  • “Helping others when they get hurt.” – Caroline, Owlet
  • “Treating others how they want to be treated.” – Evy, 6th grade
  • “Sharing toys.” – Catalina
  • “Picking up trash.” – Isabel

Ms. Joy made 2 Christmas trees, one for the Owlets door and one for the middle school area, that has their thoughtfulness ornaments on them.


The 1st grade is in the science lab this month learning about robots and coding. Students have taken part in a few challenges. First, with a push button mouse students had to learn how robots think, and how that is different than we do. They moved their mouse through a track to reach food, water and finally shelter after avoiding danger, such as a cat and fire!

Recently, the 1st graders have moved on to Wonder Dashbots. These are app based robots where the students learn to code for different tracks, sounds, lights, etc. They have become awesome little programmers!

Hoot Owls Learn About Nutrition

The Hoot Owls have been learning about nutrition and what better way to do that than help make some healthy and delicious food. Hoot Owls first did an herb taste test to get used to trying new things. We sampled sage, oregano, basil and mint! We recorded whether or not we liked the herbs just like scientists. Hoot Owls also helped chop vegetables for a veggie stir fry. Some Hoot Owls said it was their first time chopping and using a knife. We also made our own stir-fry sauce.

We made flour tortillas from scratch using only flour, olive oil, water and salt. We used the tortillas to make quesadillas!

For Hanukkah, we were visited by Jacob Eddy’s grandmother, Robin, who helped us make potato latkes! We peeled and grated the potatoes, cracked the egg and stirred it all together with flour.

Self-Portraits by Middle School

Each student in the Middle School Green Block (grades 6th-8th) is working on their self-portrait. They are starting the process using the grid method. This is a technique used to accurately draw large scale. The students use their rulers to accurately draw the contour of their face and shoulders. They will finish the portrait in gray scale and learn shading and blending techniques.

Lindsay Wildlife Comes to Saklan

On Wednesday, docents from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum came to school and did a wonderful presentation for the Kindergarten through Second Grade on Animal Habitat. The students discussed and saw many wild animals that live in our neighborhood and found out about their habitats and adaptations.

To help their learning, the students also saw and touched some wild friends: a tarantula, a gopher snake and a guinea pig. They learned so much and had a wonderful time!

Atomic Attire


The eighth grade have been studying the Periodic Table. Each student had to pick an element they were interested in learning more about and create an artistic shirt showing the electrons, protons and neutrons, the history of the element, and uses of that element in real life.

Due to poor air quality before the break, the students were not able to do their fashion show at flag, so we made you a little video of them showing off their element shirt and walking the catwalk.

Set Design MS Elective

The Set Design Middle School Elective is thought by Ms. Natalie and Maestra Padilla. In this class, the middle school students are working hard to complete the backdrop for the Lower School play, James and the Giant Peach. This Art class is in collaboration with the Music program and a great opportunity for the kids to work on a larger scale.

Their main focus right now is completing the Giant Peach! See their work and enjoy watching the Lower School play on Wednesday, December 19th at 1:30 pm!

Volcanoes in the Classroom


The 6th grade just wrapped up their volcano unit. They learned about different types of volcanoes and their parts, where they are located, what type of eruptions occur, dangers and advantages of living by active volcanoes, and how they create different rocks and formations.

Students looked at different types of igneous rocks, tested different fluid viscosity to see how different lavas might flow, and then built their own shield volcano and tested off different batches of “magma.” They determined the speed of flow, what minerals make the lava flow slower, and how those different flows cool into different rocks. The students also learned about historic volcanoes and ones we still might want to be concerned about. It was a lot of fun!

Alumni Corner


Exciting news about Nick Barendregt, Class of 2010, recent graduate of Case Western Reserve University

He was at Saklan from preschool through 8th grade and went on to College Preparatory School for high school. He is a huge supporter of Saklan and often attributes his success and love of learning to the academic foundation received here at Saklan.

Currently, he is at the University of Boulder Colorado receiving a full scholarship in their applied mathematics doctorate program. Woohoo, Nick!

Please click here to read the article: http://artsci.case.edu/magazine/2018/a-happy-discovery/