The third graders just completed a book report project where they transformed a pumpkin into a character from their book. The students were quite creative in their use of many different materials to create the pumpkin book characters. The third graders also used the reading strategies they have been learning in class, such as identifying character traits, using text evidence and summarizing, to complete the written portion of the project. They had a great time presenting their pumpkin characters to their classmates on Thursday and sharing their books with each other.
The Hoot Owls and Owlets in Ms. Jessica’s class have been showing a lot of interest in building marble tracks.
This became such a popular classroom toy that they decided to try creating their own marble tracks. Instead of plastic pieces that fit together, the Owls used peg boards, foam tubing, and brass fasteners to create unique paths for their marbles. The class was able to cut the foam tubes into different shapes and lengths to get the exact pieces they wanted. The Owls noticed how fast and far the marbles traveled depending on how they placed their tubes. It was an exciting new way to do one of their favorite activities, and to introduce basic physics concepts!
Saklan seventh grader, Ryan Lo, was recently featured in Plastic Free Living Magazine. It is Ryan’s podcast, “A Change is a Chance,” that interested the magazine’s editor. In his podcast, Ryan aims to help young listeners understand some of the environmental challenges we face today. The magazine specifically highlighted the episode on Ryan’s podcast about Plastic Free July, in which he interviews Ms. Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, the founder of the Plastic Free July Foundation, to better understand what it’s like to be plastic free and how everyone can take small steps to reduce plastic usage.
Thank you, Ryan, for helping us all become more aware of the environment and individual changes we can each make to help the world become a better place!
The second grade students have been learning about the Mayflower. They learned that the ship was 90 feet long and carried 102 people. They also learned who those 102 people were and why they were sailing on the Mayflower. Additionally, the second graders learned about life on the ship, including the sleeping accommodations, what the passengers ate, and how long the journey took. The students each identified and wrote down five key facts about the Mayflower, and then used their facts to write a paragraph about the ship. Finally, the second graders each created a picture of the Mayflower using construction paper and glued it above their Mayflower paragraph. Their work was then hung in their classroom for their classmates to enjoy!
Saklan’s 8th grade students completed another Pledge to Humanity activity last week. This time they partnered with Together we Rise, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in foster care, to decorate and fill duffel bags. Each student got to be creative and spread a unique, positive message to kids in the foster system through the decorations on the bags. After decorating the bags, the eighth graders stuffed them with a teddy bear and coloring books for the foster kids to enjoy.
Thank you to Kim and Jack D. for taking the lead on this project.
On Monday, we enter our third week of having all grades on campus. It has been a heavy lift with many moving parts, but it has been absolutely worth it. Your children are engaged in their learning, their spirits are high, and our teachers walk with a purpose.
Overall your children have been fantastic in understanding the importance of wearing their masks and are cooperative beyond our wildest expectations. As parents, you have done a fantastic job with the screening, have kept your children home when they are not feeling well, gotten tested when asked, and been incredibly supportive of our teachers.
As I am sure you know, COVID infection rates are on the rise across the nation. While California has done well comparatively speaking, there is a concerning rise state-wide and in Contra Costa County. We continue to be vigilant on campus. While knowing we will not be able to 100% stop the virus from coming to campus, we feel our safety protocols significantly mitigate its spread.
But this system is only as good as its weakest link. It is up to our entire community to be dedicated to reducing the possibility of COVID-19 from entering campus. Rising numbers and the holidays will only lead to increased cases across the state. I know of schools that have had to close because their community members let down their guard, attended get-togethers, or joined small parties. I am sure they all felt they were being safe enough.
For those of you planning travel, the California State Government has issued a travel advisory asking those who travel outside of California to self-quarantine for two weeks upon return. Saklan will apply this policy to our community. If you have to travel outside the state, we request that you quarantine for two weeks upon your return. We will work to keep your child caught up with their school work through distance learning and/or assignments. The advisory also recommends that Californians refrain from all non-essential travel during this period; therefore, we encourage families not to travel until the advisory has been lifted.
Educating your children in person is our number one priority. If you have to travel, we understand, but please help us stay in person by quarantining. Help us give your students the education they deserve by remaining vigilant. If we have our priorities straight, we can have a pandemic and school at the same time.
The second graders have been learning about Veterans Day, why we celebrate it and how it is different from Memorial Day. The students learned that it dates back to World War I, and was originally known as Armistice Day, before being renamed to Veterans Day in 1954. Veterans Day is a day to honor all military personnel that have served the country.
The students learned about the 5 branches of the military: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, and what each branch does. They also discussed what it means to be a hero and wrote about how we can all be heroes every single day. Some ideas the students wrote about included:
Caring for other people.
Telling the truth.
Being nice to people, even if they are being mean.
Saying a nice compliment.
Additionally, the second graders talked and wrote about what it means to be brave. Each student’s ideas on being brave and a hero, as well as the information they learned about veterans and Veterans Day, were assembled into a graphic organizer, and hung in their classroom.
At Saklan, November is all about being dependable! This month, the family group activity included watching a video the eighth graders created to show students what it means to be dependable. After watching the video, kindergarten through seventh grade students brainstormed ways they can be dependable. Each student then wrote about one way they will work to be more dependable on a festive pumpkin, turkey, or leaf paper. The papers were all collected and used to create family group wreaths. Check out the wreaths below!
This week, first and second grade classes took the first field experiences of the school year to the Moraga Garden Farm. Field experiences are valuable learning opportunities typically central to education at Saklan. Since March, Saklan has postponed this time-proven ritual, but that did not hamper the kids’ enthusiasm and curiosity while off campus.
The farmers were busy winterizing the farm, and the children saw the community members hard at work. They discussed the many benefits of community farms, such as health and wellbeing, land conservation, shared knowledge, human connection, volunteerism, and being close to the food process. They learned about other types of community gardens worldwide, such as multigenerational allotment gardens in the UK/Europe, market gardens in developing nations, urban gardens and school gardens.
Most trips to the Farm happen during primary growing seasons of late spring and summer, but there was no shortage of exploration and investigation in the winterized version. Students got their hands dirty in the fertile soil while searching for evidence of decomposition and composting. They walked in large composting bins showcasing several stages of organic soil generation. Saklan students learned how organic farming methods can avoid chemicals ending up in the food. Fortunately, the field experience timing was perfect to see the cover crop that had just been planted – fava beans. Fava plants input nitrogen where summer vegetables have depleted the soil, as well as provide weed control, safe harbor for beneficial biodiversity, and reduction in rain erosion.
Lastly, a trip to the Moraga Garden Farm is not complete without a visit with the chickens. Students were extremely curiuos to see chickens during molting season, where old feathers are replaced by new feathers to prepare for winter. This experience was best summed up by a second-grader saying, “you can really see how chickens descended from dinosaurs and maybe aliens too!”
The eighth graders have 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, the students are quite knowledgable about the massive amount of information the periodic table has to offer.
As part of their periodic table study, each eighth graders picked one element they wanted to research and learn more about. The students then designed t-shirt to showcase their element of choice and the information they learned. The eighth graders then modeled their element t-shirts for their classmates. Click below to see our eighth graders showcasing their periodic table research, art and modeling talents!