The fourth graders have just finished an in-depth look at the California Mission system and its lasting impact. 

Through Indigenous perspectives in art, news articles, online resources, and historical fiction, the class explored a few essential questions: 

  • Whose land are we on when we come to school at Saklan? 
  • Where are the members of those communities now? 
  • What happened to Indigenous peoples when the Spaniards arrived in this part of the world? 
  • What are local Indigenous communities calling for now and what can we do? 

The fourth graders used Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to explore pieces from Katie Dorame’s Alien Apostles series and video installations “City Indians” and “State of the Earth” by Kelly Caballero. The students made connections between imagery and themes in their work and their read aloud historical fiction novel, Lands of our Ancestors by Gary Robinson, about the beginning of the missions period. 

The fourth graders brought much of the conversation to present day through Indigenous voices, discussion on land back movements, and the Camino Real bell marker removal efforts in Santa Cruz. Additionally the students engaged in rich conversation connecting this unit with the themes of belonging and identity in the novels The Boy at the Back of the Classroom and We’re Not From Here

Come by the 4th grade classroom windows to see a few of the student’s answers to their essential questions if you are ever on campus for extended care pick up!


Author: The Saklan School Friday Blog

The Saklan School is a private Pre-K through 8 school located in Moraga, CA. Our mission is to think creatively, act compassionately, and live courageously.

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