On Wednesday, the sixth grade class went to the local Moraga Garden to do some nature drawing, writing, and learning about the space itself. The visit was in connection with the Ecology and Energy science unit.
At the garden, students learned about how the ground is prepared each year before the planting season, what gets planted, and the garden’s practice of using local, organic fertilizer.
During the visit, students also spent time drawing, journaling, and getting a sense of the space. When asked what they thought was beautiful in the garden, they had a lot to share:
“The lemon beebalm flowers.” – Noah
“The birds chirping.” – Damon
“The soft grass below me.” – Danny
“The fresh oxygen – I mean fresh air.” – Sonia
“The hawks flying around us.” – Juliet
“The tangling roots that are growing up the trellis.” – Loralyn
“The chickens!” – Sadie
This Tuesday, March 2, the Saklan Parents Association will host a Parent Education workshop, discussing body image for all genders. The workshop will feature Jennifer Berger from About Face, an organization dedicated to combating toxic media culture and unrealistic beauty standards.
The talk will cover topics including social media, body size, and gender expectations, and will equip parents with tools to talk to their children about these and other body image issues. Information on attending this workshop is below – we hope to see you there!
Tools for Helping Young People with Media and Body Image
Tuesday, March 2. 6:30-8 p.m.
Join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 846 6138 2057
As part of Black History Month, the Saklan fifth graders completed a novel study on the amazing book Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling. They learned about the incredible woman Harriet Tubman was, and her many important contributions to society.
To further their learning, each fifth grader chose an influential African American to learn more about, from historical figures to modern day icons. After they finished their research, each student created a lap book that detailed key dates, important accomplishments, famous quotes, and other inspiring aspects of their selected person’s life.
Several students shared their books with the broader Saklan community during Friday Flag, explaining why they chose the person they did, and highlighting some of the most important or most fascinating facts they’d learned. Awesome job, fifth graders!
During February, Saklan students have been learning about and practicing different strategies for self-control. The students in K-2 have worked with Ms. Natalie reading My Powerful Mind by Iman Saint Jean. The book follows the story of Mya, and shows children how they can practice self-control through mindfulness.
Mindfulness has also been a focus in Ms. Jessica’s class, where students participate in Mindful Meditation every Monday, as a way of calming their bodies and feelings.
Reading the books Waiting is Not Easy by Mo Willems and When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang also helped introduce these topics. The class talked about how it’s okay to feel negative feelings-like anger, sadness, or frustration-and how self-control can help us choose what our body does with those feelings. For example, taking deep breaths or spending some time alone, instead of yelling or hitting someone.
Family Groups also worked to identify ways of exhibiting self-control. With encouragement from the eighth graders, students came up with their self-control “superpower!”
Throughout February, Saklan students showed off their school spirit by participating in themed Spirit Days! Each Friday was another chance for Saklan students and faculty to dress up in unique ways.
Spirit Day Fridays kicked off on February 5 with Superhero Day! Students showed off their creativity, with some choosing to honor our hero healthcare workers with their costumes.
Next up, on February 12, was Valentine’s Spirit Day. Students wore colors associated with Valentine’s Day to show their love for our wonderful Saklan Community!
For Sports Day, on February 19, Saklan students wore uniforms and sport’s gear that represented their favorite teams from the Bay Area and beyond!
Our month of Spirit Fridays came to a close today with a Saklan Favorite – Pajama Day! Even in their coziest pajamas, our incredible Saklan students were still focused, hard-working, and full of school spirit!
The Fable of Mug Shot 7053
A couple of weeks ago, I shared this New York Times article on Rosa Parks in a faculty meeting. The article itself is fascinating, with lots of fodder for good conversation. It unpacks the popular myth of Rosa Parks and her famous refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus – the myth that a meek, tired seamstress was too exhausted to walk to the back of the bus and accidentally started a movement that changed civil rights.
In reality, Rosa Parks had been an activist fighting for racial justice for decades before her bus stand. Though the word “quiet” was used in most of the obituaries that ran after her 2005 death, she was anything but.
The fable of Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement of the time betrays the reality, pain, and sacrifice, and down plays how resistant Americans were, and often still are, to change that challenges the status quo.
As educators, we used this article to examine the fables and myths we have heard, and those we have perpetuated. From Christopher Columbus to “American Exceptionalism,” we owe it to our students, to ourselves, and to our society to take a closer look at what and how we are teaching.
When you have the time, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the New York Times piece – what fables do you know?
A group of eighth grade students spent the Valentine’s Day holiday fulfilling an important aspect of Saklan’s mission – to ‘act compassionately.’ As part of the Team Compassion group with youth volunteer non-profit Pledge to Humanity, students made homemade Valentine’s Day cards and delivered them, along with a rose plant, to every resident at Aegis Moraga Senior Home.
This act of service not only brightened the spirits of the senior home’s residents, it also was fulfilling for the students. They enjoyed helping seniors who have been especially isolated during this difficult year know that they are not alone, and in fact, are remembered and loved!
What can lines create? Paintings, shapes, sculpture, and more!
In Art class this week, Kindergarten students learned that when something is flat, like a painting or a drawing, it is known as “two-dimensional.” When something is not flat, like a sculpture, it is known as “three-dimensional.”
Students explored sculpture further, learning that there are many sculptures all around us, and they can be viewed from multiple angles. Using strips of paper and glue, they learned how to make shapes, spirals, arcs, and zig zag lines to create their own paper sculptures.
The possibilities are endless to this sculpture project, as students can continue to add onto their existing structures. Their imaginations grow each time they build off another line of paper and relate it to something they have seen or imagined.
Throughout the project, listening to each student describe their creation brought the whole class some laughter and joy!
This week, second graders at Saklan have been learning about the lives of two of our most accomplished presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
These two giants of American history had a significant impact on the lives of all Americans, and are a perfect introduction to looking at ‘People Who Made a Difference,’ the next topic of second grade study.
The class learned about both men’s childhoods, what they achieved in their lives, and the legacies they left behind. They have also been learning a fun, graphical way to takes notes and remember all the incredible facts about these two men in an interesting way.
The Owls in Ms. Jessica’s class are bringing classic children’s books to life by learning about famous authors in a hands-on way! First, the Owls read books written by children’s author Laura Numeroff, including If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Cat a Cupcake. To further engage with the book, they used messy foam paint to “frost” giant cupcakes of their own, complete with sparkly sprinkles!
Next, the Owls learned about Mo Willems, who wrote and illustrated books like Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, as well as various books featuring the characters Gerald and Piggy. After watching a video of Mo Willems and his friends acting out one of his books, they created Gerald and Piggy art of their own.
As the Owls continuing learning about famous authors, they will also begin writing and illustrating books of their own. We can’t wait to see what stories they will share!