The Explorers started the first week of session two with Fourth of July inspired art projects. Students decorated colorful pinwheels and constructed cardboard airplanes that they tested outside. Some campers took the materials from the art project to build their own bow and arrows and colorful hats. Throughout the week, these campers improved on their projects by further testing and developing their crafts.
In the second week of session two, Explorers used paper bags and plates to create their own farm at Saklan. Students made pink pigs, green turtles, and white chickens out of paper plates and construction paper. To make our farm more complete, campers also created farmers to take care of the farm and other farm animals.
During the final week of session two, our Explorer campers decorated their own personal paper fans with flag-related designs to use against the summer heat. Then, on Thursday, students used construction paper to create elaborate marble mazes, which they enjoyed during free time.
The first special Friday activity of Summer@Saklan Session #2 was a carnival on campus! In the morning, the Explorers tested their Pixar knowledge in an exciting Disney-themed round of Jeopardy, and then they were astonished by the illusions from the magician, Magical Nathaniel. Nathaniel dazzled the campers with fun and classic magic tricks. He called up many children to participate in his show. It was an honor to be chosen!
After lunch, campers played various carnival games for prizes and enjoyed themselves on two colorful jumping castles. At the end of the day, campers got to enjoy yummy refreshments and take home candy from the Saklan pinata. There were many smiles all around!
The Explorers’ second fun Friday field experience was a nature excursion to Tilden Park in Berkeley. In the morning, the campers visited Tilden’s Little Farm where the campers experienced farm life. They fed lettuce and celery to goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and cows. The animals were so friendly that they were following children and leaping onto the fences. It probably was all of the delicious vegetables the children had to offer!
After a picnic in the Tilden Nature Area, campers rode on a steam train, where they experienced an intimate look at all of Tilden Park and the greater surrounding Bay Area. Many children loved to feel the wind in their hair and smell of nature all around.
The third Explorers field experience was the most adventurous yet with the campers making an expedition to the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Throughout the day, campers got to experience various hands-on science exhibits.
With a multitude of exhibits to try out, campers learned about the various ways we see, hear, and touch the world we live in. Some of the favorite simulations were seeing how quiet they can walk on gravel, seeing an image of their friend’s faces after a bright light was shone, and rotating a bike wheel to make rope fly. The campers also enjoyed spending time near the San Francisco Bay and watching all the boats go under the Bay Bridge. It was an educational and adventurous trip all in one!
The Mini Campers have been staving off the “summer slide” during the first session of camp by practicing their Spanish with Maestra Stefany. The campers learned about cultures and traditions of Spanish speaking countries, and even cooked some regional cuisine! They have been keeping their bodies busy too with water play days twice a week, visits to the sports court, and lots of outdoor games and activities.
They kicked off their summer with a fun “Donuts for Dad” Father’s Day celebration. They welcomed new and familiar dads, grandpas, and other family to join them for breakfast and coffee while getting to know each other. It was a great time and we thank all the special visitors who celebrated with us!
The Mini Campers have been exploring the local community through field experiences to Moraga Commons Park and Pixieland in Concord.
They also had a special visitor come to Saklan – Wonder Woman came to show our mini campers some super tricks and train them to become super heroes themselves.
In the first week of Summer@Saklan, the Explorers went to Paddock Bowling. Campers, both bowling experts and novices, enjoyed watching their bowling balls go down the alley and hitting the pins with their new friends. After bowling, the campers enjoyed some arcade games. During our picnic, campers told riddles and jokes.
In the second week of camp, the Explorers went on a space and science adventure at Chabot Space and Science Center. Split into three teams, the campers enjoyed a documentary about astronauts, learned about the Milky Way through hands-on simulations, and created marble structures.
In the third week, the campers went to Sky High, where they jumped on trampolines and played team games. After Sky High, the campers enjoyed diving on the diving boards and completing obstacle courses. After each field trip, campers cooled down with some popsicles while chatting about their adventures.
In the first week of Summer@Saklan, Explorers welcomed the summer season by decorating a poster with their summer plans and designing their image as Saklan campers.
In the second week, campers designed their own planet and galaxy by mixing colored paints with plastic foil, and made slime by mixing glue, food coloring, and baking soda solution. The campers were super excited!
For the third week of camp, campers were transformed into superheroes. They designed their own frisbees and boomerangs with their own logos and designs. Then, they brainstormed and created their own superhero character. Saklan Campers Unite!
On Mondays and Wednesdays, the Explorers enjoy swim sessions at the Campolindo High School Soda Aquatic Center. At the Soda Aquatic Center, the kids have one of the three pools to themselves for usually an hour or more.
For campers enrolled in swim lessons, those swimmers receive specialized swim lessons Monday through Thursday from a trained instructor based on their personal skill level.
Some of the skills taught in swim lessons include: a variety of swim strokes, proper swim form and technique, water safety, and how to properly use a high dive.
Schools are such funny places, so full of young energy, optimism and a spirit of change, yet so rooted in the traditions and systems of the past. One of those traditions is summer break, which was created to accommodate the needs of an agrarian society. Everything we know about education tells us that 11 weeks off of learning leads to a thing called the “summer slide.”
Summer slide is the term given to the impact of not practicing skills learned over the past nine months. In general, students lose about a month of academic achievement over the summer break – with losses being greater the higher the grade level. Social-economic status also plays a role in this brain drain.
To be fair, most, if not all of our students, engage in learning over the summer – whether it is a trip to the Galapagos, devouring books or attending a camp of some sort. And much of this learning is experiential, just what we love here at Saklan. Furthermore, “downtime,” play and being just plain bored are also important to our development (our electronic devices have stolen boredom and its associated benefits from us, more on that at another time).
But the skills that are hit hardest by summer slide are those associated with math and reading. In order to address some of this loss of learning, teachers have put together binders with summer work for each student. The work focuses on both math and reading and has been built to reinforce skills that have been learned during the year. As a rule of thumb, there is roughly 20 hours of reading to finish, and 10 hours of paper to pencil type of work. Some of it is creative, and some of it is routine practicing of skills.
This work will be coming home in binders either Friday or Monday, depending on the class. We will be collecting the work in August on first day back to school. To be most beneficial, most of this work should be spread out over the summer and not done the last week of break. Please take a look at the materials and let us know if you have any questions. We ask for your support in ensuring your son or daughter completes the binders to the best of their abilities. They are designed to set them up for success for the new school year.
The 6th grade has been learning about heat transfer around our planet, especially in regards to radiant energy from the sun. They spent time learning about the different types of wavelengths the sun gives off (the electromagnetic spectrum) and how each provide different kinds of energy. The students then looked at the suns potential. First, they saw how solar power works to excite electrons on a solar panel by racing solar panel race cars. Next, they learned how photos can be used to heat up water in solar farms to create steam to turn a turbine. And lastly, they created solar ovens where they used the suns energy and a mirrored cone to cook some cookies!
Lastly, as summer is quickly approaching, the students learned how to keep themselves safe from the sun. Wearing sunscreen, taking breaks in the shade, wearing sunglasses, and keeping hydrated and moisturized will keep everyone happier this summer and beyond!