Watercolor Artwork

The sixth graders recently wrapped up a study of watercolors in art class. For their final project, students had a choice of four different assignments, all of which centered around the artwork of a key artist. The projects also showcased different watercolor techniques and skills, such as color mixing, stretching their imaginations, science integration, and self-reflection. Student projects included: painted terrariums featuring plants, animals, and imaginary organisms; free-flowing, imaginative creatures decorated with intricate pen patterns; precise, angular geometric masterpieces; and much more.

Save the date for Saklan’s Annual Art Festival on April 28th to check out these and many other works of art!


Rethinking Ranchos

Fourth graders continued learning about California’s history as they conducted virtual explorations of 19th century Mexican ranchos. Their study of the ranchos began with a series of learning centers, which included looking at historical and geological maps of the Bay Area and the entire state, a video virtual tour of a rancho, articles about the practices of land granting, branding and the savage treatment of Native people, and looking at images from the past that included hand-drawn diseños (rough maps). Next, the students worked together to determine which aspects of the ranchos were worthy of preservation and which they would want to make reparations for. Finally, working in partner teams, students plotted their own ranchos on a map, wrote a petition for a land grant to the governor, cooperated to create new and improved rancho policies, and then drew a scaled diseño of their ranchos.

The fourth graders had fun “visiting” each others’ ranchos this week and sampling some tortillas and frijoles after!


Six Rings Make a Sphere

The Kindergarteners are now pros at creating “huts” out of hula hoops!  During P.E., the students have been working together to stack six hoops to create a small, hut-like structure. The symbolism of rings and spheres is significant in many human cultures. Hula hoops gained popularity in the 1950’s, but they can be used for more than twirling around the waist. In the world of dance and gymnastics there are many tricks and moves which practitioners can master. 

In addition to building huts, the Kindergarteners and first graders have been working to master various hula hoop tricks, and making other creative designs with the hoops. Check out the design below, which some of the first graders collaborated to create.


Respectful & Accepting

This week, the 1st through 8th graders met with their families groups to discuss the January Social Emotional Learning themes of being respectful and accepting.

The 8th graders led a discussion of what the words respectful and accepting mean, and then shared the book Where Oliver Fits, by Cale Atkinson, in which Oliver finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought it would be.

Following a discussion of the story, the each student decorated a paper puzzle piece with words that describe them. Check out the puzzle pieces that each family group created below.


Picture Day – Feb. 15th

Roots & Shoots Photography will be taking individual and class portraits of Saklan students on Tuesday, February 15th. These pictures will be used in the yearbook and are available for purchase.

Pictures will be taken during the school day, outside on the play yard. Roots & Shoots staff will follow all CDC guidelines, including social distancing when possible, wearing masks and washing/sanitizing hands, in order to make the picture taking process as safe as possible

Portrait Ordering Process

Roots & Shoots has implemented a new ordering process. Ordering will be fully online, and will take place approximately 2 weeks AFTER picture day. Complimentary proofs will be provided for every student, so you can decide whether you would like to order them. If you do order, all portrait packages will be shipped directly to families’ homes ($5.25 shipping fee will apply). 

Questions? Please contact Roots & Shoot directly at grow@roots-shoots.com. They will be happy to help!

Head’s Corner

These past few weeks have been a huge challenge for all of us- from the absences, endless testing, tracking COVID-19 cases, and quarantine protocols, not to mention the Hunger Games-like atmosphere to procure an Antigen Rapid Test. It’s been a lot. 

But there is a second front that we have been battling since the start of the pandemic- the mental health of our students. I do not need to cite the numbers; we have all felt or seen it in one way or another. Its roots are in the loss of connection and engagement.

The way we have endured the ongoing stress of this pandemic is to double down on what we know is best for our students, our learning, and our community. While we have worked to keep everyone safe and healthy, we have not lost sight of the importance of a connected community and engaging curriculum. Students begin each morning with a Morning Meeting, Advisory, or Circle Time (depending on the grade level), enabling them to be present, engage, check-in, and feel seen and heard. This allows our community to stay connected with one another despite the chaos and uncertainty that has been surrounding us all. 

Not only is our hands-on curriculum and social emotional learning happening on campus, but we continue to plan for our spring field experiences, guest experts, and community events. Our 8th graders are preparing to go to Puerto Rico to build homes; the 4th graders are headed to Coloma to immerse themselves in the gold rush experience; the 5th graders will go to the Nature-Bridge Golden Gate Outdoor Program; we are working on rescheduling the 7th grade Hawaii experience; the all-school concert is being planned for April. Despite the limits the pandemic has imposed, there is still much to be hopeful and excited about.

We know how hard and exhausting these past 22 months have been. However, we will continue to prioritize a nurturing place of consistency and safety for your children. As always, thank you for your support, cooperation, and trust. Your partnership has made this all possible.

In gratitude,


Parent Ed with Dr. Briscoe-Smith

This event will be held over Zoom. Look for the Zoom link in the January 20th edition of Next Week at Saklan.

Special thanks to the Saklan Parent Association for organizing this wonderful parent education opportunity.

#SaklanParentEd #SaklanPA

The Fun of Reading

Time spent with a child who is developing into a reader can be magical. Many components go into reading beyond just knowing letters and sounds: eye muscle coordination as a child tracks left to right, learning the rules of a written language and comprehending what is read are all part of being a reader. However, sometimes the best way to become a reader is to have a little fun!

Last week, the Kindergartners heard two stories that generated much excitement amongst the class. The first, which they read 4 times in one week, was Tacky the Penguin, by Helen Lester. The students love this story because “Tacky is an odd bird” who doesn’t do things the right way. The humor, which had the class repeating excerpts from the story, resonates well with 5 and 6 year olds. The second book the class heard was The Mitten, by Jan Brett. This book provided fun as the students became one of the characters in the story, Baba, and stitched a white mitten. The Kindergartners were very engaged as they used their mitten to retell the story.

The mechanics of reading are important, but loving to read and becoming a lifelong reader are the ultimate goals. And we know that the best way to achieve these goals is to make sure learning to read includes having fun!

#SaklanAcademic #SaklanLifeLongLearners

Seeking Swag

Saklan’s Auction Committee is fixin’ to acquire irresistible auction items for our upcoming Auction Shindig. Here are a few specific things we are looking for:

  • Vacation homes – Do you have or know someone with a vacation property, timeshare or other access to destination properties? 
  • Event Tickets – Do you have season passes for the Giants, A’s, Warriors, theatre, symphony, or live music venues?
  • Adventure Experiences – Hot Air Ballooning, Circus School, and Cooking Classes are always popular items. 
  • Wine – Do you belong to a winery and have a few extra bottles of your favorite Cab you would be willing to part with for a good cause?
  • Gift Cards – Your unused gift cards can enhance a basket of themed goods. 
  • Parent Socials – Are you willing to host a dinner or party at your house?

Please let us know if y’all have any other ideas to make this event even better. As our mission says, think creatively! Click here to download the donor packet, here to complete the donor form online, or email ewilliamson@saklan.org to give the committee the 411. 

Help Plan the Auction

All Saklan community members are invited to join us for an Auction Planning Meeting on Tuesday, January 25th at 12:15 p.m. over Zoom.

Can’t make the meeting but want to help? Email Emily at ewilliamson@saklan.org and let her know.


Clothing Drive

Join Saklan’s Student Council in participating in a winter clothing drive organized by the local non-profit, Hip Hop for Change. The drive benefits unsheltered families and individuals in our neighboring communities. New or gently used outerwear (coats, jackets, raincoats, sweatshirts), as well as new socks, underwear, sleeping bags and 4+person tents will be accepted through February 3rd. If you would like to participate, please place your donation in a sealed bag and drop it off in the donation bin by the main office.

Please wash used clothes in high heat and seal all clothing items in bags. A member of the Saklan Community will deliver the donated items to the Hip Hop For Change drop-off site.


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