On Tuesday, April 27, the third grade class traveled back in time to 1888 to experience life as a pioneer student. Each student took on a new identity by choosing an old fashioned name and came to school dressed in their finest pioneer attire.
Mrs. Rokas, with the help of Ms. Meredith and Ms. Joy, brought traditional pioneer activities into her own classroom. The day started in the classroom with the three R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic. Students read from McGuffey Readers (published in 1879), practiced their cursive writing using quill feather pens and ink, and practiced their math on slate boards with chalk. They also had a spelling bee!
During morning recess, students played like pioneers. They walked on can stilts, used jump ropes, and played hopscotch and jacks. Afterwards, they listened to pioneer stories from Ms. Meredith under a shady tree and made some pioneer crafts with Ms. Meredith and Ms. Joy: tin punch art and yarn dolls.
For lunch, each pioneer student brought authentic pioneer food in baskets, pails or tied to a stick. After lunch, students sang pioneer songs and learned square dancing with Mrs. Chaffey. Next, they made butter in mason jars and tasted the delicious homemade butter on biscuits brought by Kaylah.
The day ended the day with group games: tug-o-war, sack races and three-legged races.
The third graders really embraced the pioneer spirit and enjoyed their time travel back to 1888! Huge thank you to Mrs. Rokas, Ms. Meredith, and Ms. Joy for bringing this day to life for the third graders!
During April, Saklan students have been learning how to be resourceful as part of our ongoing social-emotional education. This lesson was especially relevant for the month that includes Earth Day, as there are always opportunities to be more resourceful when it comes to helping our planet.
Some key ways that students can be resourceful are:
Think outside the box
Take initiative – if you see something you can do, go do it
Be creative with materials, problems, and tasks
After learning more about what it means to be resourceful, students had the opportunity to come up with ways they could be resourceful in their own lives, and display it on a “helping hand.”
A few weeks ago, Saklan’s sixth graders set up an election with the goal of helping an endangered species in need. Plastic buckets were set up outside the main office–one bucket for each of the five animals chosen–and the Saklan community had a week to vote with their wallets for which animal they wanted the class to symbolically “adopt.”
When the votes came in, the monarch butterfly was the winner.
Saklan’s choice of the monarch butterfly is serendipitous, as the school has partnered with the Moraga Garden Center to plant milkweed and nectar flowering plants, which support monarch larvae and adult monarchs.
The school’s efforts were recently highlighted in Larmorinda Weekly, with the two sixth graders who chose the monarch butterfly for the “Vote with your Change” election featured in the post. Recognition well deserved!
The young scientists in Saklan’s Owl Class have continued to learn more about science topics with Ms. Jessica and Ms. O! They learned about magnets and how different poles attract while the same ones repel, then conducted an experiment with milk, dish soap, and food coloring. By pouring colored milk into pans of dish soap, the Owls could clearly see that the dish soap repelled the milk right away.
Ms. Jessica’s Owls also got to experience a bit of the “icky” side of being a scientist by observing a squid dissection with Ms. O. The students were able to see all the different parts of the squid, including its beak, tentacles, throat, gills, eyes, and ink sac!
Many of the Owls were not fans of how stinky the squids were, but overall, they did seem to be very interested in biology. We are so proud of the curiosity these budding scientists continue to show!
In third grade Spanish class, the students are learning about the 21 countries in the world where Spanish is spoken. They also learned that there are more than 500 million people in the world who speak Spanish, a number that continues to grow.
To fully appreciate the diversity of Spanish-speaking countries, each third grader picked a specific country to learn more about. They explored their chosen country’s typical food, music, dance, and sports. They also researched two famous people from their chosen country.
Third graders put together poster boards display all they had learned, so they could share it with their fellow students.
On Thursday, Saklan students celebrated Earth Day with the help of some animal friends! A petting zoo was set up right on campus, and each class took a turn getting to know the animals.
While the bunnies might have been the biggest hit amongst the students, there were also ducks, pigs, and goats for the students to pet and feed. We were so impressed with how gentle all of the students were with the animals, and how patient all of animals were with the students!
A huge thank you to Ms. O for organizing this special Earth Day treat!
Outside of the petting zoo, some classes incorporated Earth Day into their daily learning. In Kindergarten, students learned about different behaviors that can make our Earth “happy” or “sad.”
In Ms. Ashley’s fourth grade class, students celebrated Earth Day by reading poems they had written for the occasion.
We love to see all our students learning how to care for and protect our Earth and all the organisms who live here!
In Spanish class, the fifth graders are working with Maestra Padilla to learn about food and beverages for breakfast (desayuno) and lunch (almuerzo).
The students started their work by designing their own menu full of their favorite foods, including desserts. As they created their menus, students learned food vocabulary words and created a personalized product to use to order food in a “restaurant.”
The next step was to provide students with authentic opportunities to use the Spanish language and expand their speaking skills. Students engaged in a role play set in a restaurant, where they took on the roles of waiters and customers. While acting as the customers, students could order food items off of their custom menus, as if they were in a restaurant designed just for them!
Take a peek at the lesson by watching the videos below!
This week, Ms. Chaffey took the first graders to the trail behind campus, and led them on a musical nature walk! The class got to spend time in quiet observation of the sounds we can hear in the world around us.
After quietly walking down the trail, Ms. Chaffey would find a spot for the class to pause, and instructed the students to sit there for a few minutes in silence, listening to the sounds around them. Some of the sounds would be from animals or silent forces in nature, while others came from humans.
The first graders drew what they heard, including birds singing, people talking, and wind blowing. One imaginative first grader heard a “unicorn Pegasus,” while another explained that his “really good hearing” allowed him to hear the sound of the plants growing!
After learning all about the volcanoes that exist on Earth, Mars, and Venus, the Hoot Owls in Ms. Traci’s class decided they wanted to learn more about volcanoes in general. Before they started their exploration of the topic, Ms. Traci asked the students what they already knew:
“They erupt lava.” “When a volcano erupts and goes in the ocean it turns to stone.” “You can’t go inside a volcano because they are hot.” “You don’t want to run to a volcano because you might bump your head.”
The Hoot Owls read some non-fiction books about volcanoes, and then set out to build their own volcano out of paper mache. They also built an entire city to around the base of the volcano, including a zoo, candy store, and toy store.
When it was time to make the volcano erupt, the students made predictions as to what would happen:
“I think it’s going to explode with white and orange lava coming out of the top and it’s going to hit the city and at the other side there is going to be a puddle of lava.”
“Here’s the hot lava down here and the little blue stuff are houses down here. And their grass got burnt by the hot lava.
“I think maybe it will explode and it will slip off the table and go into cement and then onto the wood chips and sink, sink, sink.”
Using baking soda and vinegar, the Hoot Owls made the volcano erupt four times! The city remained mostly safe until the fourth eruption, when the candy shop suffered minor damages.
Following the successful sixth and seventh grade trips, the eighth graders will take their turn at Challenge Sonoma on Tuesday, April 27. Ms. Cashen, Ms. Kim, and Mr. O’Connell will be joining the students for the day.
Finding opportunities to take students off campus this year has been difficult, and it has been so fun to finally be able to give the middle school students a field experience to enjoy. The day will be filled with opportunities for collaboration, team-building, and all-grade bonding.
Thank you to the eighth grade parents for your support, and to the middle school faculty for their commitment to making this happen for the students!