Head’s Corner

The Fable of Mug Shot 7053

A couple of weeks ago, I shared this New York Times article on Rosa Parks in a faculty meeting. The article itself is fascinating, with lots of fodder for good conversation. It unpacks the popular myth of Rosa Parks and her famous refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus – the myth that a meek, tired seamstress was too exhausted to walk to the back of the bus and accidentally started a movement that changed civil rights.

In reality, Rosa Parks had been an activist fighting for racial justice for decades before her bus stand. Though the word “quiet” was used in most of the obituaries that ran after her 2005 death, she was anything but.

The fable of Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement of the time betrays the reality, pain, and sacrifice, and down plays how resistant Americans were, and often still are, to change that challenges the status quo.

As educators, we used this article to examine the fables and myths we have heard, and those we have perpetuated. From Christopher Columbus to “American Exceptionalism,” we owe it to our students, to ourselves, and to our society to take a closer look at what and how we are teaching.

When you have the time, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the New York Times piece – what fables do you know?


Eighth Grade Acts of Service

A group of eighth grade students spent the Valentine’s Day holiday fulfilling an important aspect of Saklan’s mission – to ‘act compassionately.’ As part of the Team Compassion group with youth volunteer non-profit Pledge to Humanity, students made homemade Valentine’s Day cards and delivered them, along with a rose plant, to every resident at Aegis Moraga Senior Home.

This act of service not only brightened the spirits of the senior home’s residents, it also was fulfilling for the students. They enjoyed helping seniors who have been especially isolated during this difficult year know that they are not alone, and in fact, are remembered and loved!


Kindergarten Paper Sculptures

What can lines create? Paintings, shapes, sculpture, and more!

In Art class this week, Kindergarten students learned that when something is flat, like a painting or a drawing, it is known as “two-dimensional.” When something is not flat, like a sculpture, it is known as “three-dimensional.”

Students explored sculpture further, learning that there are many sculptures all around us, and they can be viewed from multiple angles. Using strips of paper and glue, they learned how to make shapes, spirals, arcs, and zig zag lines to create their own paper sculptures.

The possibilities are endless to this sculpture project, as students can continue to add onto their existing structures. Their imaginations grow each time they build off another line of paper and relate it to something they have seen or imagined.

Throughout the project, listening to each student describe their creation brought the whole class some laughter and joy!


People Who Make a Difference

This week, second graders at Saklan have been learning about the lives of two of our most accomplished presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

These two giants of American history had a significant impact on the lives of all Americans, and are a perfect introduction to looking at ‘People Who Made a Difference,’ the next topic of second grade study.

The class learned about both men’s childhoods, what they achieved in their lives, and the legacies they left behind. They have also been learning a fun, graphical way to takes notes and remember all the incredible facts about these two men in an interesting way.


Learning About Famous Authors

The Owls in Ms. Jessica’s class are bringing classic children’s books to life by learning about famous authors in a hands-on way! First, the Owls read books written by children’s author Laura Numeroff, including If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Cat a Cupcake. To further engage with the book, they used messy foam paint to “frost” giant cupcakes of their own, complete with sparkly sprinkles!

Next, the Owls learned about Mo Willems, who wrote and illustrated books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, as well as various books featuring the characters Gerald and Piggy. After watching a video of Mo Willems and his friends acting out one of his books, they created Gerald and Piggy art of their own.

As the Owls continuing learning about famous authors, they will also begin writing and illustrating books of their own. We can’t wait to see what stories they will share!


Fifth Grade Celebrates Valentine’s Day

Saklan fifth graders have been having a great time celebrating Valentine’s Day all week! The students began by making handprint wreaths to hang in the windows of the classroom.

After a discussion of what compliments are and how it makes us feel to get or give one, the fifth graders created Valentine’s bags with classmate compliments. They wrote a compliment on a paper heart for each student, trying their best to make it personal and meaningful. Then they passed out their hearts to each classmate, and enjoyed reading the compliments they had received from others.

To end the week, students worked in pairs on Conversation Heart Math. Each pair received a bag of conversation hearts, and used them to complete different mathematical operations, including estimating, graphing, addition, measurement, and averaging.

There was a lot of love for another great week of fifth grade!


Lift Every Voice

During Black History Month, all classes at Saklan are spending time learning about music that helped shape Social Justice movements in the United States, as well as songs that have helped shape our popular cultural perspective.

As part of this lesson, the third graders learned and performed the song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which was an important song during the marches and protests that were a part of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

While learning the song, the third graders listened to different versions, practiced singing tunefully as a group, and spent time reflecting on the meaning of the words.

Enjoy their performance!


100 Days Wiser

On Wednesday, the Saklan students and faculty celebrated the 100th day of the school year! And what a year it has been.

In the Kindergarten classroom, 100 days of learning has more meaning than ever this year. After initially starting the year with online learning, the time in class has given the students the gift of working and learning together. Counting to Day 100 is also an important part of the Kindergarten math curriculum, as it incorporates number writing, counting by 10s, and place value.

To celebrate the 100-day milestone, the Kindergarteners matched numbered candy kisses to a number chart, built with 100 cups, sorted cereal into 10 groups of 10 before making cereal necklaces, created a picture of themselves at 100 years old, did 100 jumping jacks, and ate a piece of a “100” cake.

That’s a lot of celebrating 100! On to 101, 102, and more!


Fourth Grade Missions

The fourth graders recently completed their Missions projects. Each student focused on a specific California mission, and used many skills to create a model and informational brochure.

As the students explored their chosen mission, the class engaged in discussions designed to build understanding of how the missions oppressed Native American communities. Incorporating the perspective of minorities and their treatment throughout history has been a focus of each Social Studies unit in the fourth grade class this year.

To complete their mission projects, each student put their engineering skills to the test by designing, planning, and creating a model of a mission. They expressed their creativity through their choice of materials, including cardboard, sand, legos, and even lasagna noodles.


Owls on the Move

To wrap up their transportation unit, the Saklan Owls turned their sights skyward, learning about airplanes and helicopters. They incorporated math learning and built fine motor skills by cutting and assembling different shapes like a puzzle to make a helicopter.

They also tapped into their inner artists by doing marble painting on airplane shapes, creating unique lines and patterns. The tracks that the marbles made across the paper were reminiscent of the condensation trails planes make when they move across the sky!

The Owls closed out their transportation unit with a fun celebration! Each student brought in their own method of transportation from home, and had a blast zooming around the parking lot on their bikes and scooters!