How Can We Help our Apple Tree Thrive?

Before the Thanksgiving Break, the kindergarten class concluded their study about apples and apple trees. After learning about apples, their life cycle, the parts of an apple, taking observations of apple trees at Moraga Gardens and the tree on the ECE playground, and interviewing experts, the students answered their essential question: “How can we help our apple tree thrive?”

Kindergartners learned that they needed to move the wood chips away from the base of the apple tree, so they created kindness rocks and arranged them around the tree to keep the wood chips away.

The class also learned that local wildlife was continually eating the apple tree’s buds, so they put a decoy owl by the tree to try to keep squirrels away!

Since the apple tree is on the playground that the kindergartners share with the Preschool and Pre-K students, the kindergarteners thought it was really important to talk with them about how to keep the apple tree thriving. The kindergartners did an amazing job of sharing their project-based learning with the PS and PK students.


Family Group Poems & Characters

On Tuesday, 1st – 8th graders gathered with their family groups to talk about being compassionate and how they could show compassion to others. The students then worked together to write an 8-line poem containing a few specific words: Saklan, compassion, hot cocoa, and winter. The students also dressed up one of their family members as a winter character, using only newspaper. The families definitely showed their creativity!

All family groups then gathered on the sports court to share their poems (some groups acted them out) and winter characters. Among the characters presented were a snowflake, reindeer, elf, Frozen princess, and a Yeti!

#SaklanFamilyGroups #SaklanSEL

Did We Reach 100% Participation in Saklan’s Annual Giving Fund, Yet?

Almost! Did you know that each year we ask current families, faculty and staff, trustees, grandparents, alumni families and friends of the school to make a tax-deductible donation to Saklan’s Annual Giving Fund? 

One of our goals is to reach 100% participation from our current families. The chart below shows you where your student’s class is towards reaching this goal.

If you haven’t made a gift yet, it’s not too late to contribute. YOU can make a difference and get ALL of us closer to 100% with your gift today!

Not sure how much to contribute? We receive gifts anywhere from $10 to $10,000. Please know that whatever amount is meaningful and affordable for your family, Saklan is truly appreciative of your gift.

You can make an AGF gift via the following methods:

  • DONATE ONLINE through our secure site; or
  • Write your check made out to The Saklan School with “Annual Giving Fund” written on the Memo line and deliver it to our office.

If you would like to discuss your gift further, please contact Emily at

On behalf of all of us at The Saklan School, thank you very much for your support.

#SaklanCompassionate #SaklanAGF

Who Do Art Objects Truly Belong To?

Who do art objects truly belong to? Over the last six weeks, the 6th graders have been seeking to answer this driving question by exploring museum bias, researching significant artifacts, and understanding different present day arguments for and against repatriation of ancient art objects.

The sixth graders in front of the de Young Museum after touring the Ramses Exhibit.

After taking a trip to the de Young Museum to view the Ramses Exhibit, researching the significance of a chosen artifact, and speaking with experts from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Badé Museum, and Stanford University, their final milestone and public product for this unit was to select an aspect through which to answer the driving question. Some students focused on museum bias, others on big ideas around repatriation, still others on power and ethical issues in the worlds of archeology and museum preservation of ancient artifacts. You can read their manuscripts here, which have been submitted to KQED’s Youth Perspectives program for consideration to be published by KQED. 


Get Your Saklan Spirit Wear

The Saklan Parent Association (PA) is excited to offer Saklan Spirit Wear! Hoodies, pajama pants and t-shirts are all available. Orders are accepted online only, through December 16th. A portion of the proceeds will be used by the PA to fund more events for our school community. Don’t delay, get your Saklan spirit wear order in today! 

Special thanks to Shannon O’Connor for her work on the design, the entire PA Board for their feedback, and to Erin Moorhead for working to make the items available to our community.

#SaklanSpirit #SaklanPA #SaklanCreative

Alphabet Activities

The Owlet class has been familiarizing themselves with the letters of the alphabet. The students have been practicing finding letters around the classroom, brainstorming words that have the same beginning letter sound, and building letters with different materials.

For the letter Aa, the Owlets read the books ABC by Dr. Seuss, Hooray for Amanda and her Alligator by Mo Willems, and Abiyoyo, a South African folk tale by Pete Seeger. The Owlets built the letter Aa using playdough, practiced their cutting skills on a traced Aa, and made their own Abiyoyo monster (like in the story) from torn pieces of construction paper.

For the letter Bb, the class read the book Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite by Ashley Spires, and then created their own bugs with Philippa. The Owlets named their bugs and described their “superpowers” like the bugs in the book. They also read The Bad Seed by Jory John, and then observed some sunflowers and sunflower seeds. Ms. Erin helped the students learn about sequencing and quantifying as they counted the seeds.

The Owlets also read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and spent a rainy day getting creative with tons of cardboard boxes. The students loved making trains, mountains, cars, robots, and many other fun things!

For the letter Cc, the Owlets read the book Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards, and then made caterpillars out of egg cartons. They also learned how to play Candy Land! This game helped the Owlets practice many social-emotional skills, including: taking turns, following rules, and being a good sport whether they won or lost the game.

#SaklanSEL #SaklanHandsOn

November & December SEL Focus: Compassionate

Saklan’s social-emotional learning emphasis for November and December is compassionate. During these two months, all Saklan students are discussing what it means to be compassionate and looking for ways to show compassion with others. On Tuesday, November 29th, the first – eighth graders will meet with their family groups and take part in cross-grade level discussions and activities to gain an even greater understanding of being compassionate.


We’re Having a Fiesta!

Save the date because we’re having a Fiesta! This adults-only event will be held at the Holy Trinity Cultural Center on Saturday, March 11th at 6:00 p.m.

The Saklan School’s Annual Auction is always a great community building event. Most faculty and staff attend, and proceeds from the auction are invested directly back into your children’s educational experiences, in and out of the classrooms. Book your babysitter today, you won’t want to miss this Fiesta!

Volunteers Needed! 

Saklan is looking for volunteers to help us procure great auction items and plan the event! We have roles big and small, including reaching out to potential donors (generally via email to local businesses you love to visit!), helping with decor, and setting up for the auction. Click here to see available volunteer positions

Want to help with the event but don’t see a role that suites you? Email Emily at and let her know. 


Exploring Charcoal Drawing

Middle schoolers are currently in the process of exploring the art form of charcoal drawing. They were first introduced to it by learning how to create a wide range of values through the rendering of 3-D forms. Now that they’ve built some familiarity, they’re starting to stretch their understanding of how this art material can be used.

Recently they’ve observed and analyzed the work of Heather Hansen, a performance artist who makes large, symmetrical, gestural charcoal drawings. Trained in both dance and visual art, Hansen is fascinated by using charcoal to document the movement of her body through an almost meditative process. After viewing her work and learning about her background, the students began to experiment working in her drawing style. 

Each student sat on the floor with their paper and a stick of charcoal in each hand and practiced making large, synchronized, gestural movements with their arms while drawing. Next, they teamed up with a classmate to create a second artwork where they repeated the process of the previous drawing, but had to also mirror the movement of their partners.


Kidpower Thanks You

Thank you to everyone who joined the PA for last week’s Parentpower Workshop, presented by Kidpower. Antonie, the presenter, was inspired by your enthusiasm and participation and thoroughly enjoyed speaking with the Saklan parents.

Kidpower asked us to share the below resources that may be of interest to you!

You may also find courses for parents and educators on the Kidpower Online Learning Center, including Mini Safety Lessons for Young Children.

If you are interested in attending a Kidpower Workshop to practice skills along with your child, you can join one of Kidpower’s online Community Workshops or sign up for their newsletter to their latest news and updates.

Kidpower strives to improve their online programs and are interested in learning:

  • what worked well for you
  • what can make your Kidpower experience better
  • any stories about using their program
  • any questions you have for Kidpower

They would love to receive your comments! You can email them at or complete this brief evaluation form. The insights of those who experience their programs are used to help them grow and improve.

To learn more about Kidpower, you can follow or like them on  InstagramTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Facebook.

#SaklanParentEd #SaklanPA

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