In the busyness of the end of the year and the start of summer camp last June, I neglected to honor two employees who have left the Saklan fold – Carol Goldman and Joy Alvarado. My deepest apologies to both.
Carol Goldman is an alumni parent, served for years on the Board of Trustees, and was our Director of Development for the past three years. For those of you who know Carol, you knew that she worked tirelessly for Saklan for many years. She drove our Annual Giving Fund for the past several years as well as the Auction. Without her leadership many of the things that we have on campus today – from the Science Lab and Music Room to the kiln and updated play areas – may not have come to fruition. Moreover, if you know Carol, you know that she does not hesitate to pitch in a helping hand wherever it is needed. Saklan is not the same place without her, and we wish her well as she seeks new ventures.
Joy Alvarado was with us as a Preschool Aide for over three years. If you know Joy you know that she is never without a smile or a can-do spirit. To call her an optimist would be an understatement. Joy worked with both the Hoot Owls and Owlets over the three years, sharing her love for discovery and learning. Moreover, as Joy worked full time, she also went to school to earn a teaching degree and is now working as a Head Teacher. We can not think but how lucky those kids and that school are.
What can lines create? Paintings, shapes, sculpture and beyond. First, the students learn when something is flat, like a painting or drawing, it is two-dimensional. What THEY WILL CREATE pops up from the paper and you can SEE ALL THE WAY AROUND, making it SCULPTURE!
Using straight line strips of paper and glue, the Kinders create their own one of a kind standing sculpture. They learn how to make shapes, spirals, arcs, and zig zag lines all using a flat, straight line paper. The possibilities are endless to this sculpture project, as students can build on existing shapes.
Their imagination grows as they continue to build off each line of paper and relate it to something they have seen or imagined. Some students created their own sculpture garden, imagining where a person climbs and wonders. The kindergarteners showed great excitement and focus in building their line paper sculptures! Following this project, students will move onto two-dimensional line drawings and paintings.
This week, the 8th grade created hot air balloons that would help test the ideas of buoyancy and Archimedes Principle, along with Charles’ Law in Chemistry. Using paper, glue, tape and paperclips, they engineered balloons that they thought would create the largest lift when filled with heated air.
The students worked together to fill the balloon and create lift. After some on the fly design changes, and adding different amounts of air, we finally got lift off! The engineering processes was in full effect with the 8th graders, and when hitting snags in their designs, and having environmental challenges, they were able to tinker their designs and way of thinking to accomplish their goal. With the help of the wind as well, we noticed how fluids move in and push matter.
This year, the students were able to create balloons that reached a higher altitude than any other year.
“A circle is a round straight line with a hole in the middle.”
This year The Saklan School got a brand new parachute for their physical education program! “Parachuting” is great fun and a healthy activity for students of all ages.
The parachute strengthens primarily shoulder, arm and hand muscles, and at the same time allows for practice of basic locomotor skills, such as running, leaping, skipping, and galloping. Teamwork and cooperation are essential in order to successfully complete many of the fun activities which can be created by the parachute.
Students of all grades love playing with the parachute. The non-competitive, rhythmic social interactions are a great start to a new school year.
What a fun first few weeks of school! The Hoot Owls are settling in, making new friends and really enjoying being “big kids.” They all worked together to come up with their Hoot Owl agreements. Miss Traci asked the children during group time, “What can we do to stay safe and happy at school?” Almost all of the agreements were their own ideas. Miss Traci and Miss Jessica added a few, but made sure everyone agreed by giving a thumbs up.
Later the Hoot Owls signed their agreements with colorful hand prints. Children have already started to remind their classmates about “our agreements.” Social development is such an important part of the Hoot Owl year. Agreements are a great way to set expectations in a thoughtful and collaborative way.
This month’s theme is All About Me and Feelings. They have been reading books about their feelings which has led to a lot of dialogue about how the Hoot Owls feel and when and why they have those feelings. They have begun to play a matching game that involves recognizing a feeling on a cartoon face and then telling a story about a time when they have also felt this way. On Mondays, they practice mindful meditation during group time. They take time to breathe, calm their bodies and do some yoga! At the end of mindful Monday group time, they read a story that is similar to a guided meditation. The stories are designed to encourage calm, confidence and creativity!
A few weeks ago, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Kim Brooks titled We Have Ruined Childhood. It is one of those articles that you can read and walk away feeling defeated, but in this case, it made me proud of the work we do here at Saklan. In many ways, as I read the article, I saw the Saklan approach as an antidote to what ails children and adolescents these days.
Brooks talks about the fact that “kids today have fewer opportunities to practice social-emotional skills… they don’t learn how to start a friendship, how to start a relationship, what to do when someone’s bothering you, how to solve a problem.” Which I find can be true in our overprotective culture. Yet here at Saklan, a focus of our approach is to get students to learn those vital social skills. We work hard through our Responsive Classroom approach, Middle School Advisory, and SOS classes to give kids the tools they need to grow as humans, deal with adversity and persist.
The article references the fact that an overabundance of testing, and all the “drilling” that goes with it, have taken away time from recess, lunch, Art and Music. This regimented approach to school increases stress and decreases learning (not to mention kills any love for learning). Taking a look at the Saklan curriculum, you will find that students are not shortchanged of Music, Art or some recess. And while we do use standardized testing, we limit it to focus on the individual growth of a student.
The fact is that less testing and more emphasis on the Arts, Social Emotional Learning, and giving kids some time and space leads to not only happier kids, but stronger academics. Does that seem counterintuitive? Probably. Does the research bear it out? Yes. Is Saklan saving childhood? I think so.
Bienvenido a la clase de ESPAÑOL! It is well said that students with proficient multilingual and technology skills will thrive in the future.
In Spanish class this year, Saklan is integrating DESCUBRE Supersite, an online learning environment to engage students and build their confidence in learning Spanish. With this curriculum, students have a number of digital formats to practice their Spanish. This can be used in the classroom as well as at home. Learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom!
At Saklan, we focus on learning that is active and relevant. We apply this learning across the academic board with our unit based themes.
In second grade, the current unit is Maps. The students learnt about map keys to understand what the symbols on a map mean and they made their own compass rose. They then learnt about map scales that helped them figure out how far away things really were. Finally, they learnt about directions and how to use a compass. They also made a directions map for their friends to follow.
You can see in the pictures how they use student led learning to effectively embed the academic skills while also working on their social and emotional skills, such as respectful listening, communicating, negotiating and reasoning.
We are so happy to have welcomed 17 new Owlet friends this 2019/2020 school year! They have transitioned very well and love making new friends. The Owlets also enjoy music class with Ms. Chaffey, P.E. with Mr. Crabtree, Spanish with Maestra Ester, art activities, outside time, and inside activities.
It has felt to Ms. Amanda and Ms. Erin that these new Owlet friends have been in school for 6 months, not 2 weeks. We are so excited for a wonderful school year and watch these sweet Owlets blossom!
One of the many strengths of the Saklan community is the base of volunteers we have to help us with everything we do. While the school could most likely operate without volunteers, we would seriously be half the school with half the program if we did not have volunteers helping us. On that note, the Parent Association would love additional support in the following committees. If you are interested or have questions, please email Sandy Lo at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thank you for your time and energy!
Uniform Exchange Committee – Need 2 more
Lower School Musical Parent Committee – Need 1 more
Middle School Musical Parent Committee – Need 2 more