Last Friday morning there was much excitement on campus as we kicked off our learning buddy program for the year! Learning buddies are a purposeful way to encourage cross-grade friendships, help students develop a sense of responsibility and practice mentorship, and make learning fun!

During the first meeting, the buddies took time to get to know each other and did some reading together.

The older buddies marvelously modeled good reading behaviors by reading with expression and fluency for their younger buddies. Some of the older buddies were also honored to listen to their younger buddies read too.

The younger buddies thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their learning buddies, and are already asking when they get to meet with their buddies again!

#SaklanBuddies #SaklanCommunity

Celebrating Creativity, Courage and Collaboration

On September 15th, the third graders celebrated International Dot Day! International Dot Day is a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot. The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark.” 

The students celebrated dot day by reading and discussing the book together as a class. Then the third graders worked together to create three collaborative dot paintings!  Check out their creations below.


Parent Ed on Tuesday

Let’s foster some superhero behavior in our kids! Join the Saklan Parent Association on Zoom September 27, 2022 from 7-8 p.m. for a Parent Education session full of tips on how Saklan families can take small, attainable steps to make a difference and improve our environment. Our presenter, fellow Saklan parent Scott Cashen, is an environmental scientist who will provide information and extend some challenges that we can all accomplish. The students will have a chance to be recognized at school throughout the year as they meet the challenge goals. Join us to learn about small steps we can all take and support the students’ success! 

The Zoom link for the event can be found in the September 22nd Next Week at Saklan email.

Hoot Owl Houses

The Hoot Owls have been talking about the differences between home and school. They read the books Home by Carson Ellis and The House that Jill Built by Phyllis Root. They then reviewed the shapes square, rectangle and triangle, and math terms like small, medium and large, and then talked about how they could use the shapes and sizes to construct an image of a house.

Some Hoot Owls made realistic houses while others chose to use their imagination and create a pretend house. Students who are getting the hang of writing chose to write either the word “house” or “home” on their artwork. Next students were asked, “Who lives in your house?” This led many Hoot Owls to draw their families inside their homes.

Have Old or Outgrown Sneakers?

The sixth grade students will be learning about human environmental impact and how they can help in science class this year. As part of their study, they will have the opportunity to participate in service learning projects. Service learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide learning opportunities that help tackle real-world problems that help one’s community.

The sixth grade has partnered with GotSneakers, an organization that helps keep sneakers out of landfills by recycling and reusing them. Each pair donated can earn their class money, which they are going to use to combat the human environmental impact by putting it towards species conservation. Examples may include:

  • Donations to wildlife centers 
  • Symbolic species adoptions
  • Materials to build bird boxes

Please help the sixth graders by donating any size sneakers you no longer want.

A bin will be placed in the breezeway during the last week of every month. Please place your unwanted pair of sneakers in the box during that time. Any size and brand of sneakers are welcome. But, sneaker-style shoes only, please!


How Many Letters?

The Owlets read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes about a girl with a very long name – 13 letters! The class honed their letter and name recognition skills while creating name flowers, adding a petal for each letter of their name. During this activity, many of the Owlets used scissors for the first time! When practicing new skills, the teachers use language like “This is tricky, but you can do tricky things” and “The more you practice, the easier it gets.” 

The Owlets also got the opportunity to build their names with letter blocks. They learned that the longest name in their class is 8 letters, while the shortest name is only 3 letters.

These name and letter activities were not only fun, but also provided opportunities for the Owlets to work on their fine motor skills.

Magical Yets

To encourage a growth mindset throughout the year, the Kindergarten class has been reading The Magical Yet, written by Angela DiTerlizzi. This is an encouraging and uplifting story that reminds us that we all have things we haven’t learned or can’t quite do… yet! It teaches about perseverance and the importance of trying, and about what is yet to come.

Each kindergartner was asked to imagine their Yet. They then sketched and colored their Yet. Next, students used clay to bring their Yet to life. They used paint, and then added feathers, googly eyes and glitter glue to further define their Yets.

All of the Yets are now on display on the windowsill in the classroom. They serve as a reminder to keep trying and you’ll reach your goal because that’s the Power of Yet!

#SaklanCourage #SaklanSEL

School Jobs

School and classroom jobs can help build a sense of excitement, community, and interdependence. These tasks, such as putting up the flag, cleaning the tables after lunch, or being the class helper give students the opportunity to exercise and practice decision making and reasoning. They also give students a chance to be responsible in a meaningful way: the children know that completing their job helps their school, classmates and/or teacher.

When children are given responsibilities like these, they feel valued, capable and respected, which in turn boosts confidence. Some of the jobs involve reading or counting, which can help develop literacy and math skills. The jobs may also give a nudge of encouragement to children who have not been volunteering for some of these tasks up until now. Our goal is that by having these jobs be one’s own special responsibility, our students will seize the opportunity to try out these tasks and to realize they are capable. 

Trail Mix Math

The sixth graders started the new school year working on challenging word problems, including one called Trail Mix:

Rowena and Polly are making trail mix. Rowena has 4 cups of raisins and Polly has 4 cups of peanuts. Polly pours exactly one cup of her peanuts into Rowena’s raisins and stirs them up. Then Rowena pours exactly one cup of her new peanut-and-raisin mixture back into Polly’s peanuts.

Mr. Zippin demonstrated this with red and white beans and then asked the 6th graders- “Did Rowena get more of Polly’s peanuts or did Polly get more of Rowena’s raisins?”

The students got a chance to share their ideas, first with their groups, and then with the entire class.

Next, the students had the opportunity to get hands-on with the beans themselves. They took ten white beans and ten red beans and put them in small containers. In teams, the students took turns taking 3 beans out of the white bean cup and putting them in with the red and mixing them up. Then, with their eyes closed, they took three beans out of the mixture and returned them to the white cup with only seven beans in it. They then recorded their results.

After doing the experiment a few times, the groups got another chance to discuss their ideas and possibly develop new conjectures.

What do you think? Did Rowena get more of Polly’s peanuts or did Polly get more of Rowena’s raisins?



Support The Saklan School while you shop on Amazon! AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.com on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app for iOS and Android phones. When you shop AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added benefit that AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to The Saklan School. 

How does AmazonSmile work?

When first visiting smile.amazon.com, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization, it is at this point that you select Saklan Valley School. Amazon will then donate 0.5% of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Saklan.


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