Head’s Corner

Halloween Brought a Boon of Creativity!

I hope you were able to attend today’s special Halloween CLAS. From the visit of a Transformer (Preston) to the combination group outfit of Ketchup and Fries (featuring brothers Chase and Liam), there was tons of creativity on display. Thank you to all members of our community for supporting the students this morning. 

Thank you and Happy Halloween!




The sixth graders have been studying volcanoes. They learned about the different types of volcanoes, the parts of a volcano, where volcanoes are located, and the different types of eruptions that occur. Additionally, the students have learned about the dangers and advantages of living by active volcanoes, and how they create different rocks and formations.

As part of their hands-on study of volcanoes, the sixth graders looked at different types of igneous rocks, tested different fluid viscosity to see how different lavas might flow, and then built their own shield volcano and tested different batches of “magma.” The students determined the speed of flow, what minerals make the lava flow slower, and how those different flows cool into different rocks. The sixth graders also learned about historic volcanoes and ones we still might want to be concerned about.

The students had a ton of fun learning about all things volcanoes!


Owlet Creativity

The Owlet class has been exploring the social emotional learning theme of creativity. They read the book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. In the story, a girl named Vashti thinks she can’t do art. Her teacher encourages her to start small, with just a dot, and see what happens. The Owlets imitated Vashti’s art, starting with one small dot then using watercolor paints to add to their piece. Some students painted more dots of different sizes and colors like Vashti did, but each piece was unique! Every dot painting was then hung up in their classroom.

The Owlets also read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. In the story, a small rabbit shows that a box is not just a box, but can be anything the imagination allows. Ms. Jessica then placed several boxes of various sizes and shapes out on the yard, and the Hoot Owls and Owlets turned them into rocket ships, buses, sail boats and more!


Animal Classification

The Saklan second graders have been learning about animal classification. They learned what makes an animal a vertebrate versus an invertebrate, and then about the five types of vertebrates. 

Next, the students learned about habitats, and studied different habitats around the world. They also learned about adaptations, and looked at different adaptations that allow plants and animals to live in their chosen habitats.


Visiting Moraga Gardens Farm

During September and the first week of October, the Hoot Owls, Owlets, first graders, second graders, third graders and fourth graders took their first field experience of the year to Moraga Gardens Farm! Ms. Meredith led each of the classes on the two-block walk to the farm, and then on a tour of the community garden. The garden was filled with eggplants, cucumbers, kale, apples, pears, tomatoes, and much more.

During the tours, students learned that fruits and vegetables grow from flowers after being pollinated. They saw the difference between seasonal trees, such as a peach tree (summer) and persimmon tree (fall). The children saw how vines grow by attaching their tendrils to other structures and plants, and how plants defend themselves from predators. They went inside the greenhouse, heard the bees buzzing in their hives, and got to sample some of the garden’s produce. Lastly, the students were invited to feed and pet the chickens.

The students all had a great time in the garden. Thank you, Ms. Meredith, for leading these interactive, engaging field experiences!



The Middle School Orchestra and Choir classes both recently finished a Duet project. For their duets, the students worked on collaborating with a partner on a song chosen to: challenge them in their skills, build confidence in their own musical abilities, and create something they couldn’t on their own. The students practiced together, had individual and class coaching sessions, and then recorded their performances on FlipGrid. Check out a couple of the duets below!


Hoot Owl Giving Trees

The Hoot Owls have been learning about fall and experiencing many seasonal changes, especially the changes in the trees! They have been reading books about leaves and trees including, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. The students learned about the different parts of a tree and discussed the many things trees provide for humans. Then, the Hoot Owls made their own “giving trees” using real branches.

After the students completed their trees, Ms. Traci asked the Hoot Owls, “What does your giving tree give to you?” The answers included: leaves, apples, lemons, a place to sit, houses, boats, a bridge, benches, and a bunk bed!


Internet Safety

Last Friday, the PA hosted a talk with Darryl Holcombe, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office Senior Inspector on internet crimes against kids. Darryl was so knowledgeable and approachable and gave some great advice to parents:

  1. Routinely talk to your children about internet safety and their digital footprint. Ideally this starts before they have a personal device to use, but it keeps evolving, so keep talking. Remind them always to think before they post. This Digital Citizenship site was recommended by a parent to help with this dialogue.
  2. Be familiar with the apps your child is using. Download them on your own device and learn how to navigate through them, including parental control features
  3. Common Sense Media is a great resource for guidance on apps and websites. 
  4. Have your children use their devices in a common area of the house.
  5. Think about investing in a parent monitoring program for devices. Some mentioned were OurPact, Life360, and Bark. There are ways around these, but they are one layer of protection.
  6. Use time in the car together to have discussions about digital citizenship. You can use scenarios: “What would you do if a stranger messaged you either on a social media site or while gaming and said ‘click this link’?” or “What would you do if your friend said he/she/they met a stranger online and they want to meet?” Explain that if someone online is asking for any information or things that seem unnecessary, they should tell you immediately.
  7. Consider having your child sign a Technology Agreement with specific terms that you agree to. For example, some basics could include giving the device back to a parent by a certain time of night (8pm) and making sure a parent always knows their child’s passwords. There are many examples online of Technology Agreements.
  8. Cyberbullying continues to be a prevalent issue. Remind your children that it’s important to tell a trusted adult if they see/read any bullying online.
  9.  Learn how to turn off map/location finding on things like Snapchat and encourage your kids to leave them off. 

Darryl was kind enough to share his email address in case parents had additional questions: dholcombe@contracostada.org. We look forward to having Darryl return to Saklan to talk to our kids about internet safety as well. Thank you, Darryl!

#SaklanParentEd #SaklanPA

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