Kindergarten at the Zoo

The Kindergarten has been working on a project in music centered around Camille Saint-Saens’ work Carnival of the Animals, a collection of music based on the movements and behaviors of many different wild animals. This Thursday, the project culminated with a trip to the Oakland Zoo.

Our Kindergartners re-listened to each song on a Bluetooth speaker, and used the musical clue to figure out the animal they were looking for. They then collaborated together with basic map skills to find the animal. Once there, they observed the animal and decided whether it’s behaviors were consistent or different from those expressed in the music.

This outing allowed our students to unify teamwork with excellent listening and observation skills by using their natural curiosity and love of animals. When the students return to class, they will finish with an in-class art project. Stop by next week to see the finished products!

4th Grade Inventions

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4th graders were in the Science Lab the last 3 weeks and were studying about electricity and currents. They learned about static and moving charges, what items are considered insulators and conductors, and built both a number of series and parallel circuits.
In conclusion to that unit, the students got to work with our new STEM kits and build their own inventions. They had light up Koala cups, beeping cat rear ends, a cat car, a galaxy vehicle and a cloud spinning car. It was a lot of fun!

Because of Winn Dixie Day

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The first class novel in third grade was Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.  The story centers around a girl named Opal who just moved to a new town and is having a hard time making new friends. She adopts a stray dog that she names after the grocery store where she found him. Everything that happens to her and the new friends she makes are all “because of Winn Dixie.”

The students learned many new things through this novel study including new vocabulary, identifying character traits, and about the theme of friendship. They also wrote chapter summaries and made predictions about what was going to happen next in the story.
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One of the characters in the book was a candy maker who developed a type of candy that made you feel sad when you ate it. For a creative writing activity each student created their own candy that evoked different emotions, such as Lilah’s Laughter and Crying Caramel. They then created an advertisement to persuade people to want to buy their candy.
Tuesday was “Because of Winn Dixie Day” in third grade. The students celebrated by watching the movie and having a party. They talked about their favorite characters from the book. They played a compare/contrast game where they used a Venn diagram to determine if something happened in the book, the movie or both. They had a party just like the one in the book that Opal throws for her friends. Many students tried new foods they had never tried before like egg-salad sandwiches and dill pickles! This day was a wonderful way to celebrate friendship and share our joy of reading!

Owlets Meet Firefighters

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For the month of September, the Owlets had fun learning about community helpers. One of the community helpers they learned about were firefighters. To end the unit, they had a special visit from the firefighters from Station 41 in Moraga. The firefighters came to Saklan and the students got to see one of the fire engines.

The kids saw the firefighters all dressed in their fire gear, tried on their fire jacket, and even sat in the driver seat of the fire engine. It was a blast and the Owlets were very thankful for Station 41 taking the time to come to visit!

Student Council Elections

The Saklan School recently held an election for Student Council. The students campaigned by writing speeches and presenting them at Flag. The students voted later that day. We announced the results of the election to the middle school students on Tuesday. Here is a list of the elected officers.

Max B. (8th grade) and Harrison L. (8th grade)

Co-Presidents

                Jordan D. (6th grade)                                       Makenna C. (6th grade)

                           Secretary                                                                  Treasurer

Evy A. (6th grade) and Elishka G. (6th grade)

Co-Publicity Chairs

Lauren A. (8th grade) and Phoebe K. (6th grade)

Co-Activity Chairs

We are very proud of all the students who ran and we are excited for a great year!

Head’s Corner

Growing Our Students

As many of you know, middle school students at Saklan facilitate their own conferences. As I visited some of those “student-led conferences” yesterday, I started to think about my own experience as a child and the importance of student empowerment. When my parents went to conferences, I would wait at home feeling powerless about my own education. Once they arrived home, they would share with me what the teacher said, I would then present my point of view with what I thought were missing facts. What resulted was a disconnect between teacher, parent, and student.

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There were three important constituencies in this conversation, but one (me) was never represented except as a third party, a sidebar to the conversation. I missed a critical chance to talk about what was going well for me, what I was struggling with or hear their perception of what they saw at home or at school. Most importantly, I was not given the opportunity to openly reflect on my own experience as a learner.

Whether a student is doing a student-led conference or not, it is important for us to remember during conference time that the student is our most important partner. One of our main goals should be to help them develop a growth mindset through feedback and reflection. This teaches them that learning is a continual process, and it encourages them to take responsibility for their education.

So as we digest the information collected during conferences, let’s make sure to grab the opportunity to help our students, self-reflect, adjust and grow.

Warm regards,

David

Fifth Grade Trip to Sacramento

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Fifth graders traveled to Sacramento to learn more about the California State Capitol Museum.

Students went on a docent led tour of the building. This capitol building was the fifth. The building had been moved five times in the first four years. The Senate Chamber was very interesting.

Students were able to see the senators desks that were built in the 1860’s and are still used today.

In addition, the docent explained how a bill becomes a law in California. And that anyone can come up with the idea for a bill and submit it to their representative. One of the most important concepts they learned was that “We the People” are where the true power sits.

Jazz in the Classroom

Grades 6-8th in Green Block are learning about Jazz music and creating their own record album cover. They learned about the history of Jazz in America and the artists responsible for the album covers.

The music department loaned us a real record player! So we have been listening to musicians such as Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong while creating our own album covers! The last part of the project the students are currently working on, focuses on writing their own song using a little bit of alliteration.

Me and My Community

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First grade students have been learning about communities. One of their topics was producers and consumers. They went to Safeway to take a peek of the products in a grocery store. They saw how some of them are made and met people who provide services and deliver fresh goods in stores in our community. They had a great time!

Save the Bees and Buterflies!

This year the third grade will be looking after the butterfly and bee gardens that our students helped to design last year during Earth day.
They helped plant flowers that will help our local populations, and will care for them throughout the year; watering and weeding when necessary.
All is welcomed to come see the gardens behind the science lab and get your photo taken as a butterfly or bee!