Alphabet Activities

The Owlet class has been familiarizing themselves with the letters of the alphabet. The students have been practicing finding letters around the classroom, brainstorming words that have the same beginning letter sound, and building letters with different materials.

For the letter Aa, the Owlets read the books ABC by Dr. Seuss, Hooray for Amanda and her Alligator by Mo Willems, and Abiyoyo, a South African folk tale by Pete Seeger. The Owlets built the letter Aa using playdough, practiced their cutting skills on a traced Aa, and made their own Abiyoyo monster (like in the story) from torn pieces of construction paper.

For the letter Bb, the class read the book Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite by Ashley Spires, and then created their own bugs with Philippa. The Owlets named their bugs and described their “superpowers” like the bugs in the book. They also read The Bad Seed by Jory John, and then observed some sunflowers and sunflower seeds. Ms. Erin helped the students learn about sequencing and quantifying as they counted the seeds.

The Owlets also read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and spent a rainy day getting creative with tons of cardboard boxes. The students loved making trains, mountains, cars, robots, and many other fun things!

For the letter Cc, the Owlets read the book Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards, and then made caterpillars out of egg cartons. They also learned how to play Candy Land! This game helped the Owlets practice many social-emotional skills, including: taking turns, following rules, and being a good sport whether they won or lost the game.

#SaklanSEL #SaklanHandsOn

November & December SEL Focus: Compassionate

Saklan’s social-emotional learning emphasis for November and December is compassionate. During these two months, all Saklan students are discussing what it means to be compassionate and looking for ways to show compassion with others. On Tuesday, November 29th, the first – eighth graders will meet with their family groups and take part in cross-grade level discussions and activities to gain an even greater understanding of being compassionate.


We’re Having a Fiesta!

Save the date because we’re having a Fiesta! This adults-only event will be held at the Holy Trinity Cultural Center on Saturday, March 11th at 6:00 p.m.

The Saklan School’s Annual Auction is always a great community building event. Most faculty and staff attend, and proceeds from the auction are invested directly back into your children’s educational experiences, in and out of the classrooms. Book your babysitter today, you won’t want to miss this Fiesta!

Volunteers Needed! 

Saklan is looking for volunteers to help us procure great auction items and plan the event! We have roles big and small, including reaching out to potential donors (generally via email to local businesses you love to visit!), helping with decor, and setting up for the auction. Click here to see available volunteer positions

Want to help with the event but don’t see a role that suites you? Email Emily at and let her know. 


Exploring Charcoal Drawing

Middle schoolers are currently in the process of exploring the art form of charcoal drawing. They were first introduced to it by learning how to create a wide range of values through the rendering of 3-D forms. Now that they’ve built some familiarity, they’re starting to stretch their understanding of how this art material can be used.

Recently they’ve observed and analyzed the work of Heather Hansen, a performance artist who makes large, symmetrical, gestural charcoal drawings. Trained in both dance and visual art, Hansen is fascinated by using charcoal to document the movement of her body through an almost meditative process. After viewing her work and learning about her background, the students began to experiment working in her drawing style. 

Each student sat on the floor with their paper and a stick of charcoal in each hand and practiced making large, synchronized, gestural movements with their arms while drawing. Next, they teamed up with a classmate to create a second artwork where they repeated the process of the previous drawing, but had to also mirror the movement of their partners.


Kidpower Thanks You

Thank you to everyone who joined the PA for last week’s Parentpower Workshop, presented by Kidpower. Antonie, the presenter, was inspired by your enthusiasm and participation and thoroughly enjoyed speaking with the Saklan parents.

Kidpower asked us to share the below resources that may be of interest to you!

You may also find courses for parents and educators on the Kidpower Online Learning Center, including Mini Safety Lessons for Young Children.

If you are interested in attending a Kidpower Workshop to practice skills along with your child, you can join one of Kidpower’s online Community Workshops or sign up for their newsletter to their latest news and updates.

Kidpower strives to improve their online programs and are interested in learning:

  • what worked well for you
  • what can make your Kidpower experience better
  • any stories about using their program
  • any questions you have for Kidpower

They would love to receive your comments! You can email them at or complete this brief evaluation form. The insights of those who experience their programs are used to help them grow and improve.

To learn more about Kidpower, you can follow or like them on  InstagramTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Facebook.

#SaklanParentEd #SaklanPA

Saklan Spirit Wear

The Saklan Parent Association (PA) is excited to offer Saklan Spirit Wear! Hoodies, pajama pants and t-shirts are all available. Orders are accepted online only, through December 6th. Don’t delay, get your order in today! 

Special thanks to Shannon O’Connor for her work on the design, the entire PA Board for their feedback, and to Erin Moorhead for working to make the items available to our community.

#SaklanSpirit #SaklanPA #SaklanCreative

Head’s Corner: Be Aware of Wonder

I had quite the “Ah Ha” moment on playground duty with kindergartners yesterday. They were doing something curious, huddled in a tight circle with one student on their knees rhyming. At the end of the rhyme, one student would break out of the huddle.

It dawned on that they were engaged in “counting out by feet.” It was a simple moment that reminded me of Robert Fulgham’s first book, published over 30 years ago. Important values, such as “play fair” and “be aware of wonder” are life lessons that apply as much to us (if not more), as they do to the five-year-olds. We often talk of “modeling” behaviors for children. Maybe we need to pay more attention to what they model for us. 

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life –

Learn some and think some

And draw and paint and sing and dance

And play and work everyday some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world,

Watch out for traffic,

Hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.

Robert Fulgham

#SaklanHeadsCorner #SaklanWonder

Stars, Planets & Our Solar System

Last week, 5th graders used spectroscopes and glass tube electrifiers to identify the elements that make up the stars and planets of our solar system. By seeing the colors that those elements reflect in gaseous form, the students were able to identify the elements. In other words, from right here on planet Earth, the students can tell what planets are made up of what elements!  This is a rapidly growing field of science and holds much potential for a great career for our budding scientists!

The students also spent time mapping the solar system. The fifth graders cut out scaled planets, and then tried to represent the relative distances from the sun of each planet. They began in the church parking lot, but soon realized that in order to truly represent the distances in the scale they were using they would need much more space, as their map would need to stretch out way beyond Moraga. 

#SaklanScience #SaklanHandsOn

Growing Foods & Treats/Snacks

The Hoot Owls have been learning about health and nutrition! With Maggie, they practiced listing and sorting food into two main categories: growing foods and treats/snacks. They have also been working on identifying foods from different food groups, including: fruits, veggies, dairy, protein and grains.

The class read the book Veggies Don’t Scare Me at All! by Julana Massey to introduce different vegetables and how eating them can help bodies and brains grow. They also played a fun grocery shopping game where each Hoot Owl received a shopping list and shopping cart. The Hoot Owls reinforced their fine motor and early literacy skills by finding everything on their shopping list and placing it in their cart!

Fish in the Lake

The 8th graders finished their proportions unit with an activity that extended their work from the R/V Robert G. Brownlee discovery voyage with the Marine Science Institute last year. On the Brownlee, the 8th graders used a drift net to catch and examine different fish in San Francisco Bay. This year they used mathematics to figure out a population in a large body of water by taking a sample.

Their task was to determine the number of “fish” (beans) in their “lake” (a paper bag) as accurately as possible, without actually counting the fish. To do this, the 8th graders used a “net” (a small cup) to take an initial sample. They measured the number of “fish” in their sample and tagged them by replacing the red beans with white ones.

Then, they returned these tagged fish back into their lake. When they took a second sample, they counted how many tagged fish were in their sample, made a ratio, and set it equal to the ratio. Next, students solved for the unknown number of fish in the lake. The 8th graders repeated this process again. If they thought their calculations were close to the actual number of “fish” in the “lake,” they stopped and recorded their work. If they thought another sample would be helpful to get a more accurate total, they repeated the process again. Finally, they counted the total number of beans in the bag and saw how close they were to their calculations. The three groups had varied success-one was within 10% of their total, but all the groups got extra proportion practice in a real-world science application!

#SaklanMath #SaklanHandsOn

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