This morning, the Saklan students were very excited to don their Halloween costumes and participate in our Costume Parade! The parade route took the students along the trail to the Holy Trinity parking lot, where parents were in their cars for the drive-in event. The students and teachers paraded through the parking lot, waving as parents cheered and took pictures from their cars, with Halloween music playing in the background. A few middle school students emceed the event and set up a laptop so that students at home could be part of the fun over Zoom.
Thank you to all the parents that joined us and cheered the students on. The students enjoyed waving to you and spotting their parents in the crowd! Additional thanks go to Makenna, Ryan and Levi for setting up the Zoom, providing commentary and cheering on the younger students.
On Tuesday, there was no school for middle school students as their teachers prepared for in-person learning, so nine of the eighth graders and some of their parents volunteered for an organization called Pledge to Humanity. Pledge to Humanity works to “inspire youth to become compassionate change makers,” by pairing young volunteers with organizations that improve the quality of life for others in need through both local and global initiatives.
Pledge to Humanity partnered the eighth graders with Kids Against Hunger. The student and parent volunteers met at the Kids Against Hunger warehouse in Pleasanton, where they spent 90 minutes making nutritionally dense meals for families all around the globe. The staff at Kids Against Hunger taught the volunteers how to make the meals, their nutritional content and their impact to the families that receive them.
A big thank you to Saklan parent, Heather Chaput, for organizing this wonderful volunteer opportunity. The students enjoyed the opportunity to act compassionately by helping to feed hungry families around the world.
The Hoot Owls have been curious about trees. They learned about the parts of trees and different types of trees. The class read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and learned about the many things that trees give us. The Hoot Owls also read the book Sticks by Diane Alber which taught them about objects that are made out of trees.
The Hoot Owls then created their own giving trees, which was a multi-step activity. First, the Hoot Owls collected sticks that had been piling up on their playground. Next, they painted a beautiful fall background, and then glued their sticks to it the shape of a tree. The students also added some pieces of felt to the trees to represent autumn leaves. Ms. Traci asked the Hoot Owls, “What does your giving tree give you?” Responses included:
“My giving tree gives me oxygen, shade, maple syrup.”
“My giving tree gives me some of its apples. My giving tree would let me climb it.
My giving tree gives me leaves and apples. I will gather the leaves and eat the apples. I’ll climb up too.
Check out pictures of the Hoot Owls creating their giving trees below.
On Sunday, October 25th, the Student Council had an important team-building meeting to set a positive tone for the school year. During the meeting, the students had an opportunity to get to know one another better through reflection, sharing, and having fun together. In order to work well together, each member of the Student Council needs to feel safe and comfortable with the other members of the group.
To begin the team building, Mrs. Rokas, the Lower School Teacher Representative, led the group through a silly, dancing, name game. Each person had to make up a two-beat dance move along with their name. Then, they had to remember and copy the other students’ dance moves. The game made everyone laugh and loosen up so that they didn’t feel so anxious. Next, Kim Parks, the Middle School Teacher Representative, led the group through a few activities to reflect on what leadership means and share what assets they each bring to the team. Afterward, they reflected and shared one leadership characteristic they each wanted to improve on this year.
After the team building activities, the students enjoyed boxed lunches from Panera and spent time socializing. Then, the group split into small groups and worked on planning fun and safe events and activities for the Saklan community to enjoy, both live and virtual. Finally, the Student Council decorated the front of the school to provide a little Halloween cheer for younger students to enjoy. Overall, it was a wonderful afternoon that was not only productive, but fun!
As they shared in their live Flag presentation last week, the first graders have been learning about writing sentences. They learned a song to help them remember the rules for writing a sentence, including: starting with a capital letter, leaving spaces between words, and adding a punctuation mark at the end. Check out the video of the first graders singing the sentence song at last Friday’s Flag .
Now that they have writing a sentence down, the first graders are working on putting together multiple sentences to create stories. They learned that each story has a beginning, middle, and ending, and have been practicing adding all three sections to their writing. The students are also working on adding more details to their stories. Stay tuned for more story writing from first grade in next week’s blog!
Lately, we have all had a lot on our plates. The ramifications of COVID-19 impacting our day-to-day lives. Family dynamics that have been stretched. Forest fires and smoke, causing us to stay indoors and cancel school. And now, an election that seems to emphasize our differences and pits us against others. Daily, we have to navigate our own emotions, fears and anxieties, as well as those of others. Many days it feels beyond our capacity.
A head of school colleague shared this piece with me last week, and it just seems to fit so well with where we are today, and what we need.
Turning to One Another
There is no greater power than a community discovering what it cares about.
Ask “What is possible?” not “What’s wrong?” Keep asking.
Notice what you care about.
Assume that many others share your dreams.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
Talk to people you know.
Talk to people you don’t know.
Talk to people you never talk to.
Be intrigued by the differences you hear.
Expect to be surprised.
Treasure curiosity more than certainty.
Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible.
Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something.
Know that creative solutions come from new connections.
Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know.
Real listening always brings people closer together.
Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.
Student’s in Ms. Jessica’s class have been learning about collaboration, which is their social and emotional learning theme for October. The Owls learned that collaborating means working together to make or do something. It also means using teamwork and listening to each other’s ideas. The students tried out their collaborative skills with a few activities. The first collaborative activity was to build a structure together during circle time. Each student took turns adding one or two blocks to the structure until it was complete. Sometimes pieces fell when they tried to add them, but they encouraged each other to try again!
The children also made a multi-step, collaborative art piece to celebrate fall. First, the Owls used eyedroppers to drip red, orange, brown, and yellow watercolor paint onto giant coffee filter paper. They were surprised to see the color spread quickly over the paper and blend together! Next, each Owl helped cut out leaf shapes from the painted paper. They chose whether they wanted to cut out pre-drawn leaf shapes, or create their own unique shapes.
Finally, the leaves were attached to the tree bulletin board in their classroom. The Owls were proud to see how their individual contributions helped create one big masterpiece!
The third graders enjoyed learning about famous cartoonist Rube Goldberg. He is well-known for the elaborate crazy contraptions he drew of complicated chain reactions that performed a simple task. The class learned that Rube wanted to be a cartoonist, but instead went to UC Berkeley and became an engineer to please his father. Eventually, he did follow his passion and pursued a career as a cartoonist. His engineering background came in handy though, because it helped him to create designs in his cartoons that could actually work, even if he only drew them to make people laugh.
The class’s excitement to read books about Rube Goldberg tied in nicely with a weekly theme in their reading program: Inventors, explored through the genre of biography. The class was able to relate the reading strategy of finding “cause and effect” in their stories with learning about the chain reactions in Rube Goldberg’s contraptions, since a chain reaction is really just a cause and effect.
The third grade students were then inspired to use the engineering design process to create their own Rube Goldberg machines. Each student came up with their own design for a contraption with at least 4 chain reactions to complete a simple task. They used great perseverance to keep trying and redesigning their machines until they worked. Here are some videos of their machines in action!
Earlier this week, the second graders went on a walk along the trail, looking for inspiration for a fall art project about leaves they were working on in class. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to get out of their classroom and into nature to observe the world around them.
The students collected leaves they found on the ground and brought them back to the classroom. The students observed the various colors and shapes of the leaves, and used them as models for leaves they drew and colored. This project was not only fun, but also a great way for the second graders to further develop their observation skills, which are important for being scientists and artists!
Due to remote learning and working from home, posture has taken a toll on families. The November Friday Social will focus on how we can benefit from improving existing ergonomics to prevent back aches, growing pains, headaches, migraines and sciatica. And while these issues may not present themselves now, it is also important to develop a good postural foundation to avoid future spinal issues such as scoliosis and tech neck.
Few people realize there is a connection between posture and mental wellness. Did you know that if someone has poor posture, especially at a very young age, the biomechanics of the posture limit the amount of oxygen to the heart and lung regions? This then means that they are not getting the proper oxygen to think clearly and make healthy decisions. Mood is then also negatively impacted because the lack of oxygen makes one fatigued, sad/depressed and unmotivated.
Join the PA for our November Friday Social on November 6th at 3:30 PM to learn more! We’ll be welcoming an expert, Dr. Christina Alba of Rivulet Chiropractic, who will talk about the importance of posture and moderate this community discussion. The Zoom link will be shared closer to the event. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.