As we close the books on 2020 I am sure we want to say good riddance. But there are a few things that were bright spots or learnings that are worth mentioning.
Scientists have prevailed and come through with a vaccine at record speed. While this school year will most likely end with us still in masks, it does look like next year we will be back to “normal-ish.”
We say kids are resilient all the time, but they have really proved it. They are here, they mask, wash their hands and engage in learning.
We talk alot about “connection” here at Saklan, this year we found out just how critical it is to learning.
While the country has not acted as one to stay safe, our school community has done a great job following safety protocols. Parents have cancelled travel plans, kept kids with sniffles at home, and quarantined when necessary.
I was ready for a few positive results when we did the school wide testing- and we were all negative.
I was sure that when we started in person learning in September, we would have to quarantine classes on a regular basis. We have only had one instance where a class has needed to quarantine for the two weeks. Amazing.
Masking and hygiene works well for keeping COVID-19 at bay, but it works well for other ailments too. We have seen very little flu or other issues here at school these past couple of months. Rarely are we making a call to have a parent pick a child up.
Teachers have been exceptionally creative in keeping students engaged and learning here on campus, while simultaneously working with students at home.
Our AGF participation has been strong, I can only imagine that has something to do with the fact that families are pleased with our efforts.
Yesterday, as parents were picking up their children for the last time of 2020, there was a sense of accomplishment and hopefulness in the air. I know this year has really been a drag- but there is so much to still be thankful for. 2020 has taught us some valuable lessons.
The first graders recently learned about simple machines. The class discussed what work is and what makes work harder or easier. Then they learned about the six simple machines, and how each of them helps make work easier, by participating in a serious of experiments and activities.
The first graders learned about levers and balanced a lever on a fulcrum. They had a bubble race and learned how a wheel and axle makes work easier. They also used a pulley to avoid lifting objects, and had an egg drop challenge. The first graders learned that using an inclined plane makes it easier and safer to move a load. They also made a paper helicopter and learned how a screw works. Lastly, the class made funny faces with persimmons and popsicle sticks and learned that the shape of a wedge was easier to use. The first graders had a great time learning about simple machines through these hands-on, fun experiments.
Saklan students recently created tiny homes in art class. With all of us staying home this break, building a house made a whole lot of sense to the students.
The Tiny Homes Series was completed by most grade levels and was inspired by Ms. Natalie’s grandmother and her personal collection of ceramics.
This was the artists first 3D project of the year and what’s more fun then clay?! Developing their craftsmanship, the students stretched and explored their capacity to create the tiny homes they had envisioned.
Normally the students would have used glaze, but for this project, watercolor and tempera paint was used to give each home detail and uniqueness. Check out some the the tiny homes below!
During the month of December, Saklan students have been thinking about being thoughtful. Each class talked about what it means to be thoughtful and played a game of Thoughtful Bingo to help students learn ways to show their thoughtfulness. Some students even created their own Thoughtful Bingo cards, describing ways they could be more thoughtful at school and home.
Students also participated in a “Jar of Compliments” activity to help them thoughtfully recognize their peers. This was a great activity to have them take note on what others bring to the class, and take time to recognize them.
Following these activities to help the students understand what it means to be thoughtful, each of the first through eighth grade students wrote down one way they can work to be thoughtful this winter. The thoughtful ideas were then grouped together into family groups and wreaths of thoughtfulness were created. Check out the wreaths below!
For the Owls in Ms. Jessica’s class, December has been a month of dinosaurs! After seeing how interested the Hoot Owls and Owlets were in dinosaurs the class decided to learn a little more about them. The students learned that dinosaurs are reptiles and hatch from eggs. They did a fun activity using eyedroppers and warm water to free toy dinosaurs from their icy eggs!
The Owls learned the words carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore and played a game matching dinosaurs with their diets. They also discovered that everyone in our class is an omnivore! The children had some messy fun making dinosaur footprints with paint after finding out that scientists learn a lot about dinosaurs from fossilized footprints.
The Owls have been having a blast researching and pretending to be their favorite dinosaurs, including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, Spinosaurus, and Pachycephalosaurus!
Dr. Chelsey Hauge of Positive Parenthood is offering a free Pandemic Parenting Course. This 6-part course is for parents who wish to support their children in whole, peaceful, and gentle ways during this challenging time. The course is virtual and self paced, so you can complete it when it works for you!
Following their studies of the Mayflower and the first immigrants to come to this land we call America, the second graders have been learning about what it means to be an immigrant. The students learned about why people came here and what it was like to come to America, often with little money, without parents and little knowledge of the language.
After reading Molly’s Pilgrim and taking inspiration from the story, the second graders created their own clothes pin dolls reflecting their family heritage. The students truly came to understand that America is a “nation of immigrants.” Look at all the countries our second graders and their families came from.
In America, we truly are a treasure trove of different cultures and different experiences. Building on this knowledge, the second graders dove deeper into their own family heritage by interviewing a grandparent. This enabled them to reflect on the differences in their lives today compared with life two generations ago, and to appreciate how life has changed.
Next week the second grade class will be reflecting on the names they have been given and the special meanings they have.
The holidays are quickly approaching and the Student Council wants to help the Saklan community get into a festive mood! It has been a very difficult year and dress-up days are a fun and easy way to lift our spirits. All students and teachers are invited to join the Student Council in dressing up on the following days:
Wednesday, December 16th: Ugly Holiday Sweater Day
Thursday, December 17th: Holiday Pajama Day (Regular PJs are okay too!)
Participation is optional. If you choose not to dress up, please wear free dress on Wednesday and your uniform on Thursday. Please note that students need to wear shoes both days (no slippers, please).
“Since joining Saklan, we have seen a dramatic transformation in Levi and Willow into more confident and compassionate students. Saklan is a place where they feel safe, surrounded by a caring and supportive community. We know they can receive an outstanding academic education at other institutions, but we truly believe Saklan provides the right environment where they excel because they want to and not because they have to. Annual Giving Fund supports Saklan through hiring of the best educators, buying the best supplies and providing the safest environment for students. Supporting Saklan is a direct investment in our own children, and that is why we give.“
November was Hip Hop History Month so the Hoot Owls learned about the Father of Hip Hop, DJ Kool Herc! The class read When the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop, by Laban Carrick Hill.
Ms. Traci showed the Hoot Owls a record, and they got to listen to it on a record player. The students then watched some videos of B-Boys and B-Girls (the dancers who performed to DJ Kool Herc’s breakbeats), before trying out our own dance moves! They were definitely working on their gross motor skills and coordination with all their dancing. Most of the Hoot Owls also gave themselves an original hip hop name!