Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

Today I had the pleasure of watching Saklan’s Fall Follies. This is a fantastic and fun event, and like every year, I was astounded by the students’ performances. Their singing, acting and performing was remarkable for their age, and their enthusiasm was infectious. Many of our students are truly in their element when on stage. It is impressive how each and every student was willing to take risks with their performance and showed their inner courage. I commend the students on their excellent performances and the audience on being supportive and compassionate. Mr. Prestianni has done another outstanding job organizing the show, auditioning the performers, and putting together the program. Hats off to Mr. P for putting together this stellar event for yet another year and providing our students with such an amazing learning opportunity.

img_1259-r-11-18-2016-12-40-18-pm

Thanksgiving is on our doorsteps and this is naturally a time for gratitude. I would like to express my gratitude for the wonderful community that is our school and to the creative, courageous, and compassionate teachers, staff, parents and students that share and work towards our common goals. Please take a moment and think about what Saklan is doing for your children and, if you have not already done so, support our Annual Giving Fund.

Today we officially launch our new website.  Emoke Veres, our Communications Manager, and a team of staff, teachers and parents, have been busy during the last few months designing and putting together the website. Many thanks for all of the wonderful work and creative ideas that have gone into making this an effective and attractive tool for showcasing our school.  Click on www.saklan.org and have a look around.

Today is the last day of the first trimester and report cards for K-8 students will be sent home on the Friday after we return from the Thanksgiving break. Report cards are used to validate the growth and progress that each student has made on their educational journey. I encourage all parents to both celebrate the accomplishments that your children have made and reflect upon goals for the next trimester. This will also be a good time to plan to connect with teachers, to discuss any concerns or questions that may have come up as a result of the report cards. All K-8 reports will be mailed home.

Have a great Thanksgiving Holiday, and thank you for being a wonderful and supportive community!!!

Peter

Reading at Sisi’s

20161110_094407

Last week, the third graders went to Sisi’s Cafe to read their non-fiction books. It was so much fun drinking hot cocoa and reading our books. Activities like these help students develop a love for reading.

20161110_094412

Right now, the third graders are “reading to learn” and are practicing high-level concepts like “identifying main ideas and supporting details,” “inferring within the text,” and “cross-text(s) synthesis.” In third grade, students need to do the following to practice cross-text(s) synthesis: “When I read two texts (or parts of a text) that teach about the same subtopic, I can find the information on a subtopic from both texts (or parts of one text) and put that information together” (Calkins & Tolan, 2015). It is good for students to have fun while they are practicing these difficult reading strategies.

News from the Sports Court

dsc_0388-s-11-18-2016-4-41-16-am

The lunch time intramural soccer round robin tournament is in effect. Five lower school teams 1st thru 4th grades are playing against each other during lunch and are currently in the third round. Four middle school teams 5th thru 8th grades started playing each other this week. These tournaments will finish the week we come back from break.

Also The Great Saklan Straw Race winter edition will take place in December! Stay tuned for the date.

Let’s go Saklan!

Sixth Grade Trip to Yosemite

20161026_134251

In late October, the 6th grade took off to Yosemite for a week of hands on science, team building, connecting with nature, learning about themselves and becoming more independent. It was one of our best trips ever. Between hiking below Half Dome, climbing through giant sequoias, dancing in the rain and supporting each other when they needed it, I know they won’t forget their Yosemite trip. Here are some of the thoughts from the week away.

In the solo hike, I felt connected to nature when I saw the waterfall and just looked up at it. It was so peaceful because it was so quiet, and I heard no one scream or anything except for the sound of rain and the waterfall. – Devin

One of my favorite moments was probably when we saw that bobcat. It happened with the whole class on the second day or the first. I learned what they look like and that they were fast. I named him Ernie. – Abby

I felt connected to the group and nature in the spider caves. I really had to depend on my classmates, listen and focus to conquer my fears. I also had to be aware of my surroundings. I definitely will remember that moment of the trip. – Ysabel

I felt really connected to nature when my friends and I were hiking around Boystown in the morning. It was so fun hiking over the rocks and having those memories with my friends. – Harrison

One of the motives for going on these types of trips are to be away from our families. It helps us stay on the overnight trips better! – Hudson

I think the spider and bear caves were a HUGE bonding experience. We had to help each other through big challenges. I want us to be able to support each other like that for the rest of the year. – Isabel

California Regions

Fourth Grade is the year of all things California. One of the many things they study is the California’s regions – coast, mountains, central valley, and desert. They are each assigned a region, which they are then required to research and write a report about.

In addition to the reports, they were tasked as a group to take a song of their choice and rewrite the lyrics to tell a story about their region, which is not an easy feat. Each group chose very unique songs and made them informative and entertaining. They performed these songs in front of their biggest fans (their parents) to rave reviews. The Fourth Graders truly rocked the house.

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,p1080041

This has been a week of surprises. First of all, we had Nicholas Di Sessa (5th) winning the cross country meet at the Lafayette Reservoir, beating a field of about 40 students from four independent schools. Nick was one of the youngest contestants as this was mostly a middle school event. Standing at the finish line waiting for the runners to come around the 2.7 mile circuit, my jaw literally dropped when I saw Nick flying towards me with no other runner anywhere near him. Nick was hardly sweating!

Then there was the result of the presidential election. Another jaw-dropping moment. The months that have led up to the election and the final results have shaken many and have brought into question many core values. On Wednesday morning many faculty, staff and older students came to school distraught, confused and fearful for the future of the environment, a compassionate and inclusive society, and civil discourse to name a few.  Discussions have been happening both in and out of the classrooms and this is appropriate in light of such a historic moment. We must allow our students to speak their minds and at the same time assuage fears as much as possible, and ultimately reflect on the fact that we saw democracy in action. It is also important to revisit our mission as a school and to underline the core values, in particular respect and kindness, which we have been talking about since the start of school. No matter what our political affiliation may be, we know that as educators we have an important role to play in helping to make sense of what has happened, and to uphold our values and each other.

In order to start our Thanksgiving Holiday on a positive and happy note, we will be putting on our Fall Follies next Friday starting at 10:00AM at the Willow Springs auditorium. This is one of those Saklan not-to-be missed events. Next Friday will also be the last day of the first trimester. I am always amazed by how fast the school year moves along and how much we are able to pack into such a short time frame. Report cards come out on the Friday after the holiday. Different from past years, all report cards will go out in the mail.

Have a great long weekend!

Peter

Eighth Grade Field Trip to LHS

20161104_111116
Last week, the eighth grade went to the Lawrence Hall of Science to investigate the properties of Liquid Nitrogen. The students safely worked with the freezing liquid to manipulate matter and see what happens to different items at about -200 degrees Celsius.
They saw balloons completely contract inward, to only crinkle and fill to the original shape once back at room temperature. They also saw leaves crack and shatter once dropped on a table after being submerged in the liquid, and they saw it completely take the energy out of different elastic items.
It was a SUPER fun field trip!

Teddy Bears Visit Second Grade. Oh my!

img_3599

The beginning of November was teddy bear time in second grade. Each student brought a teddy bear to class.

The children read many Berenstain Bear books, interviewed their bear and wrote stories about them, and did teddy bear math using scales and measuring them in centimeters.

Unfortunately, we did have some problems. The bears put teddy bear stamps all over their work, hid from them, and even messed up Mr. Metzger’s office! But, most of the time we loved having the bears spend time with us. We ended their two week visit with a pancake breakfast to celebrate our special bears.