One of the important presentations at Flag this morning was the message of gratitude given by the faculty and staff to our wonderful parent community for this week’s Teacher Appreciation Week. This is always one of the best weeks of the school year and we have been astounded, amazed and pampered with the wonderful meals and gifts organized by our parents. We are delighted by the new baking ovens that we can use for our school and extra-curricular programs, and feel truly appreciated with the many touching and personal messages that have sprung up on the campus walls and windows. We are thankful for the wonderful community that supports our efforts and inspires us to do our best in our work at Saklan. A special thank you to the Tai family for offering the food truck on Wednesday, which was one of the highlights of the week.
This week, I was officially informed by the National Geographic Society that Vickie Obenchain has been recognized as a Nat Geo Certified Educator. Certified Educators are committed to teaching their students about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed, and make it a better place. This award comes at a perfect time as we have just had an outstanding Earth Day program, organized by Vickie, which saw our Family Groups engage in a series of activities to raise awareness about our planet. This included a visit by the Marine Science Institute that gave our students very close encounters with a series of sea animals. The next time you come on campus please look at the vertical garden of native succulent plants made out of recycled materials. It is on the wall by the middle school lunch area. Also have a look at the Family Group Sustainability posters which are on the entrance way bulletin board. We are fortunate to have Vickie as our Science teacher and applaud her work and latest accomplishment.
Next week, our students in Grades 4-8 will be taking the ERBs. This stands for the Educational Records Bureau Comprehensive Testing Program. This school-wide assessment program has been used at Saklan for many years and is a widely used tool in independent schools for looking at individual and school-wide achievement. While the test gives some measure of the educational program at Saklan, it is important to know that we do not teach to the test. Nor does the test assess many of the skills that we feel important in our program, like creativity, leadership or collaboration, to name just a few. The best preparation for this week of testing for our Grade 4-8 students is to make sure that they get plenty of rest, exercise, eat healthy meals, and get to school on time.
The second graders have been working on their Whale Unit. They have done many activities in this unit including graphing whale sizes, writing creative stories about their whales, making a “Save the Whales” poster, and writing a short essay about how important it is to protect our oceans.
They also each chose a whale to study and met up with their sixth grade buddies to do some research. One of the special activities of this unit was going on a field trip to MOCHA in Oakland to make a model of their whale.
Each student brought along a parent to help with this project. There were a lot of components to this unit, but as the second graders stated it was so fun! They definitely had a “whale of a time.”
The sixth grade just finished an in-depth unit on ancient Egypt and its rich culture. One of the most fascinating parts of this culture was the fact that Egyptians would mummify their royalty. Preparing for the Afterlife was more important than actually living their life in the here and now. Part of the requirement for the Egypt unit was that each sixth grader completed a research project on a Egyptian pharaoh, city, and god/goddess. Isabel Darby, being so passionate about studying Egyptian history, decided to make up “mummy” kits and led the class through a mock mummification. As you can see from the photos, the class had a wonderful, hands-on experience.
Today, students in grades PreK – 2 had the opportunity to meet author Frans Vischer. Mr. Vischer read from two of his most recent picture books, Fuddles and Fuddles & Puddles. The books were very entertaining, and the visit was both educational and inspirational for the students.
On April 20, Cherilyn Nehira facilitated an informative and enlightening social media workshop with our students. She conducted two separate assemblies: 4th-6th grade and 7th-8th grade. Each session focused on age-appropriate uses of social media, why it is important to be mindful about your online identity, and ways to protect yourself from online predators. We also discussed the level of anxiety associated with using social media and ways to handle it. Finally, we discussed the importance to maintaining healthy online and offline friendships.
Did you know that this Sunday is the official World Book Day? The date of April 23 is symbolic for world literature and it is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla, and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. It was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference held in Paris in 1995 to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. With this in mind, UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day. For more information on this go to: http://www.un.org/en/events/bookday/
At Saklan we naturally celebrate books and reading every day, and many of our students actually become authors during the school year. We also love having professional authors visit our campus and every year we introduce our students to a number of celebrated writers from our area and beyond. This coming Friday, our PreK through 2nd graders will meet author Frans Vischer who worked for the Walt Disney Company on such films as The Princess and The Frog and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He is the author and illustrator of Fuddles and Fuddles and Puddles.
I am also happy to report that we have four authors lined up for our three-day Book Fair which runs from May 17-19. The authors are Mitali Perkins (Rickshaw Girl and Tiger Boy), Lily Williams (If Sharks Disappeared), Lisa Bakos (Wrong Side of the Bed and Too Many Moose) and Penny Warner who writes the popular middle grade mystery series, TheCode Busters Club. Every year, our Book Fair gets better and better and this year looks to be stellar!