4th graders are deep into their animal adaptation unit, and had the opportunity to go on a field experience to Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Students were thrilled to see their textbook come to life as they observed/touched many creatures and discussed special features that help these creatures survive. It was so amazing to see academic vocabulary fly out of their mouths (such as migration, hibernation, instinct, learned behavior) when answering questions, and their proud faces as they connected the dots between the classroom and the real world of nature.
When the instructors at Lindsay learned we were beginning our unit on California Birds, they tailor-made our tour so we really got to see and learn about the birds in their care. Almost every bird being researched by a Saklan student was found at the museum. One student even got to go see his bird back in the nursery as she was recovering from delivering an egg!
Because the students were so engaged in their research, they were let in on a very special treat of seeing a bald eagle brought into their hospital. The eagle had been electrocuted by a power line, and behind the glass we observed doctors and nurses working very hard to save its life. Even in this situation, Lindsay made it a learning moment and the students observed the adaptations of the bald eagle up close.
As the students were leaving, they brought out a turkey vulture that was 40 years old! He had amazing adaptations that were so unique, and it was such a treat to see it and ask questions of the person in charge of his well-being.
4th graders are so inspired to return to class and begin researching their particular bird, especially with this field experience to recall.
“I’ll risk forty dollars that he can outjump a frog in Calaveras county.” –Mark Twain
When was the last time you hopped twelve times in a row, stopped, balanced on one foot, and bent down to pick a small object off the ground? If you keep repeating this dance, you are most likely involved in a “hopscotch-like” activity. The layout and rules of the game vary around the world. This ancient exercise is simple in concept yet challenging in practice.
The physical education students have learned how to play a nine square variation. They have also chalked out different layouts creating their own hopping patterns. Markers have been crafted with various materials such as: paper clips, duct tape, coins, homemade bean bags, and even a deflated balloon filled with flour.
Currently, the student body and faculty are competing in the Fourth Annual Fall Classic Single Elimination Hopscotch Grand Championship Friendly Intramural Tournament. Forty-eight contenders have completed qualifying matches and are set for the preliminary round. Matches take place during recesses and will continue till there is a champion. Good luck, and don’t trip!
One tradition we have in fifth grade is students put together an Autobiography Project. This has been a Saklan tradition for many years. This year’s fifth grade has just completed this treasured keepsake. The Autobiography consists of six chapters written by the students. Each chapter is tailored to inform the reader about different parts of the students’ lives. Chapters range from: A Parent Interview, My Favorite Activity, Family Activities, Timeline, Me Today and a free choice chapter. The free choice chapter gives students the opportunity to create what they wish. Many students wrote poetry, wrote about their pet, favorite place, are some of the examples.
On Wednesday, the fifth graders shared their projects with their parents, classmates and teachers during a gallery walk presentation. Fifth graders were so excited to share their amazing projects. Students also brought their favorite dessert to share during the presentations.
We are very proud of their hard work and creativity on the projects. Way to go fifth graders!
To get into to the fall spirit, the Owlets carved their class pumpkin. First, they did their five senses with it. They told Mrs. Amanda what the pumpkin smelled like, what it felt like, what it tasted like, what it sounded like, and what it looked like. They guessed how many seeds could be in the pumpkin. Then, they washed the seeds and roasted them. When Mrs. Amanda asked if they liked pumpkin seeds or not, the majority of the children answered yes. It was a lot of fun!
Owlets had an amazing Halloween party and pumpkin hunt on the 30th of November. It was very cute to see the children hunt for their pumpkins and get excited when they found theirs. Halloween was a blast. It was a lot of fun for the children to parade through the school and attend Flag in their Halloween costumes.
”What wouldn’t I give when my children are blossoming in an environment that nurtures the love of learning and allowed to be themselves confidently! I wanted them to have a different learning experience than the one I grew up having; where going to school is an exciting event rather than a dreadful one that I’ve felt growing up. Going to Saklan every morning, as we drive 45 minutes each way, is a day my children look forward to. That’s enough of a reason for me to give.”
The Saklan School is a special community whose essence is often easier to capture through the senses than with words. Perhaps sometimes it is easier to feel than to describe. Families and teachers feel connected and purposeful. Students are engaged and confident. Academics are challenging and meaningful.
It is the essence of Saklan that founded our mission to Think Creatively, Act Compassionately, and Live Courageously. These same principles have laid the groundwork for our school’s growth and longevity. As we continue our 66th year, we would like to focus on the Power of Saklan. To that end, we have created three new videos to help identify and explain the fundamentals of who we are as a community and why families continue to find a home at Saklan.
It is our hope that these videos have captured the spirit of Saklan, and that you see within them why you are part of our community. We hope you are inspired by these videos and share them with friends, family, and colleagues.
“Every year when we donate to the Annual Giving Fund, we know we are investing in not only in our daughter’s future but in the future of all current and prospective Saklan students. The money we give goes directly to the school through educational programs, financial aid and faculty development classes that help make Saklan the amazing school that it is.”
Fourth graders have connected reading to writing in their personal narrative unit. After learning that stories follow a plot diagram, they were ready to tackle their first fictional personal narrative. They aren’t silly enough to start their stories in a boring, predictable way, but have learned four interesting hooks to engage their audience.
At Friday Flag, they read their “Great Beginnings” by sharing the first sentence of their haunted mansion story. They could begin with an action, dialogue, thought, question, or sound beginning. Wow! What a difference!
Fourth graders were proud to present their “Spooky Forest” stories to parents. They showed off their new skills of great beginnings, building suspense, word choice, similes and metaphors, all while following their plot diagram format. They sure were spooky!
They loved presenting a second time to their second grade buddies. They got to catch the vision to read quality books to help them become amazing authors. Fourth graders learned how powerful it is to paint a picture in the minds of those who read or hear their stories! They look forward to carrying these skills on to their next expository unit!
The 8th grade has been learning about the periodic table. From researching what all the symbols mean to understanding what the atomic number and atomic mass tell us about each element, they are becoming more comfortable every day.
They have been working on their atomic attire shirt. Each student picked one element they wanted to get to know more about. They designed a shirt for it to show off and model for you all. While our 8th graders are still figuring out what they want to be, some may have the skills to be runway models! Click below to check out their video.
Although this fall has been challenging for many of our families with power outages and fires, it was the intense winds that changed the course of our Pumpkin Decorating and Carving Get Together last weekend. Moraga Commons was blowing too intensely to make it an enjoyable afternoon. We would still like to give much love and appreciation to Lori O’Keefe and the PA for organizing and planning an enticing fall gathering for our community. The number of RSVP’s is a great indicator that we would love to continue this tradition for years to come. Thank you again, Lori, for the inspiration!