A Humble Suggestion Regarding Your Child’s First Semester Report

Families of K-8 students received a newly formatted report a few days ago that is meant to help students focus on growth. If you look at the second half of the document you will notice the narrative portion has significant detail sharing your child’s successes and challenges in a particular subject. For many of the reports, there is a section of “next steps” which is meant to help a student focus on at least one area for growth.  


As a parent, the information is to help you understand your child as a learner, but it is also written for your child. We empower our students when we read through the report together and celebrate the accomplishments while also taking on board the challenges. More importantly, the conversation of areas for growth help to give students agency over their academic life, while also creating a partnership between child, parent, and school. So go ahead and read the report with your child, celebrate the success while supporting the challenges.


Got Backbone?

The Kindergarten has been going to the Science Lab in January to learn about living and nonliving things. Once they narrowed down what was living and what was not, they discussed many of the varieties of life on our planet. From worms, to dancing spiders, to turtles, and even themselves!

They spent one day learning about the importance of a backbone, and how cartilage helps us move and not splinter our bones when we bend. The students enjoyed protecting their spinal cord with noodle bones and gummy cartilage, and enjoyed munching on them afterwards!


Playing With Symmetry


The Hoot Owls explored symmetry with a few different projects. First, they studied pictures of real snowflakes that had been taken under a microscope. Next, they used craft sticks to make snowflakes that were the same on both sides. The students continued to learn about symmetry by making folded paper snowflakes. When the Hoot Owls opened up the snowflake, they found a symmetrical winter surprise!


The Hoot Owls also made symmetrical paintings. They used a folded piece of paper to paint anything they wanted. When their painting was complete, they folded the paper in half. The paint from the first side transferred to the second side revealing symmetrical masterpieces!


State Report Binder And Float Projects


Do you remember doing a state report in fifth grade? Well, fifth graders have just finished their State Report Binder and State Float projects. Fifth graders have been researching and learning all about their chosen state in order to complete their State Binder. They learned about their state’s history, geography, famous people, climate, economy, attractions, state bird, state flag and state flower. In addition, students created a State Float that incorporated what they learned.

On Tuesday, the students presented their projects during a gallery walk for parents, teachers and students. During their presentations, the fifth graders discussed many of the interesting facts they learned and explained their creative State Floats. They did a terrific job on their projects and presentations!


Join Team Saklan Suns For Clean Air

fight for air climb

The Saklan School is participating in the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb on Saturday, March 7th. We are calling all parent and student climbers to join Team Saklan Suns for Clean Air led by Team Captain Ryan Lo (6th grade). If you are interested, please sign up here. Our goal is to have at least 12 climbers to show our strong support for cleaner air and healthier environment.

Here is one student’s take on why he is climbing: “I’m climbing because I don’t think there are enough young people making a difference and showing that they care about air pollution. I want to help raise money for programs and research that will help lessen pollutants including vaping pollutants, chemical pollutants, and industrial pollutants.”Ryan Lo

Please consider joining Team Saklan Suns for Clean Air on Saturday, March 7th in San Francisco to show your support for a cleaner environment!  Thank you.


Head’s Corner

Sometimes the Answer is Right in Front of You.

At Wednesday night’s vaping discussion, the one question we could not answer very well was, “how do you tell your child not to do something risky, and have it stick?” The answers varied from “when I was growing up, my father said he would disown me if I smoke” to “my father told me which risky behaviors I could and could not partake in.” None of our answers were very satisfying or seemingly useful.

So what is the answer? How do we keep our kids from engaging in risky behavior? According to Kent Pekel, the CEO of Search Institute, relationships are the key. “A gigantic body of research shows that the relationships in a kid’s life are like the roots of a tree. When kids have strong roots, they can grow, they can thrive, they can withstand the storms life throws at them.”


The storms life throws at kids are things like drug use, a bad breakup, or peer pressure to vape. Pekel’s research suggests that the roots of relationships thrive in a healthy soil base that contains these five elements.

  • Express Care – Be someone I can trust
  • Challenge Growth – Expect me to live up to my potential
  • Provide Support – Guide me but also set limits
  • Share Power – Take me seriously and involve me in decisions
  • Expand Possibilities – Inspire me to see possibilities for my future

If these look familiar, they should. These elements are also the basic tenets of how Saklan operates with students every day. We know that we are most successful when we connect, we challenge, and we inspire. As a parent, I can tell my child not to do something, or they will be in trouble, as a teacher I can say to a student to study hard or they will get a poor grade. This approach is straightforward, but in the long run, it does not work well.

Whether I want a child to understand the causes behind WWI or I want them to make wise decisions when it comes to life’s storms, it’s the roots that count.

Check out Kent Pekel’s Ted Talk here.


Mission Dolores

4th graders have recently completed Google slide reports on a California Mission of their choice. Now, they were on a MISSION to see a real California mission nearby. They trekked to San Francisco to Mission Dolores. Students got to hear how the mission was built and the tour guide had a great, great, great, great, great grandfather in the Saklan Tribe who was a part of building it!

Students noted the structure and materials used, as well as the art work on the walls. Each student even got to ring the church bell (named Francis). With this field experience under their belts as good background knowledge… 4th graders are ready to build missions of their own! Come check them out at the Exhibition Night on January 30th!


Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Chinese New Year is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. It is the most important holiday for Chinese people all over the world and it lasts for two weeks.


Cameron’s mom, Mrs. Lo, visited the Kindergarten class today and shared traditional ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The day before Chinese New Year is dedicated to cleaning to sweep the bad luck away and make room for the good. Everyone wears red on New Year’s Day to scare off bad spirits. They also have a big family meal with as many as twenty different dishes to show abundance. Mrs. Lo gave a lantern and a red envelope with coins to each Kindergartner. The children are supposed to put the red envelope under their pillow tonight and make a wish.

We wish you all great success, happiness and prosperity in the Year of the Rat!


News From The Sports Court

The Saklan Suns basketball season starts next Thursday, January 30th! The season lasts February through March and games will be played after school.

Fifth through eighth graders come and play basketball against other schools! Join your schoolmates as you travel via the Saklan van to various basketball courts throughout the East Bay Area.

All skill levels are welcome. Come and join the athletic fun! Let’s go Saklan!

The Saklan Suns 2020 Basketball Schedule

  1. Contra Costa Jewish Day School vs. The Saklan School                                                 Thursday, Jan. 30th at 3:40 PM (home)
  2. The Saklan School vs.  Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley                                                                Tuesday, Feb. 11th at 4:00 PM (away)
  3. The Saklan School vs.  CCJD                                                                                                 Thursday, Feb. 13th at 3:40 PM (away)
  4. Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley vs.  The Saklan School                                                      Wednesday, Mar. 4th at 4:00 PM (home)
  5. Pacific Boys Choir vs.  The Saklan School                                                                         Thursday, March 12th at 4:30 PM (Home)

5th thru 8th grades eligible to play.  If interested, please contact Mr. Crabtree.


Moving Up Day At Saklan!

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Every year, preschool through 5th grade students get to “move up” to next year’s grade for part of the day. The teachers plan special activities that highlight their grade and the students get to experience what next year will look like. Here are a couple of activities from Wednesday’s Moving Up Day:

3rd graders had the opportunity to ask questions and hear about all of the exciting adventures they will have in 4th grade.  They were encouraged to be Bookworms and read nightly, as well as become fluent in their multiplication tables to prepare!  They thought like engineers and designed their very own paper airplanes. Congrats to Jack Z. and Henry for constructing airplanes that flew the farthest!

One of the fun activities the current 4th graders had in 5th grade was a STEM Ski Challenge. Students designed and tested their skiers, and then they raced their teammates!


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