The Saklan Friendly Family Cup

The Saklan Family Groups participated in the Saklan Family Cup, a soccer tournament modeled after the World Cup. The games took place during lunches starting in mid-November and concluded this week. The intention of the soccer tournament was to provide more opportunities for the family groups to interact with each other and develop camaraderie and group cohesion. 

The games were friendly, well played, and very exciting.  Way to go Saklan!


Movie Night

All Saklan families are invited to join the PA on Sunday, February 5th from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the Founders Auditorium at the Orinda Community Center for a movie night. Join us to watch Bad Guys!

Popcorn will be provided for all attendees. Please bring your water bottle with you, as well as nut-free snacks, blankets, chairs, beanbags, pillows, or other items to get cozy (limited folding chair seating will be available).


Hands-on Fractions

In math, the 5th graders recently moved from fraction addition to fraction subtraction, with renaming, mixed numbers, and simplifying fraction sums and differences.  

One day, the students cut ⅙ yard from ⅔ yard strands of ribbon they’d first measured and cut, then worked out how much of the ribbon was left. “This much!” was a great answer, but not to someone who was unable to see the ribbon, so they didn’t get out of the math that easily. This helped the students to see a need for being able to express the difference as a fraction that both ⅔ and ⅙ could convert to: sixths.  Thus lowest/least common denominator, ⅙ of 36”, ⅔ of 36”, and accurate measurement skills were all incorporated into this hands-on fraction subtraction introductory activity.

Another day, the students measured out 7 ¾ yards of “fabric” (they used white paper from a long roll, but visualized it as fabric).  Students then measured 2 ¼ yards of the “fabric,” representing a remnant after making curtains from the original cut.  Since their classroom mat area is not even 7 ¾ yards across, and their yard sticks are 39.37’/100cm rulers, there were many built-in opportunities for critical thinking, creative problem solving, negotiating, and sharing of roles to model and explain the answer to the question, “How much fabric was used to make the curtains?” 

Could the fifth grades have just written out ⅔ – ⅙ = ___ , and 7 ¾ – 2 ¼ = ____? Yes, of course! And that abstract algorithm is where they ended up, but by beginning with the lengthier, more complex task of hands-on modelling and talking about real-world math problems, the students developed conceptual understandings of how the algorithm works and what it represents.


On Thursday afternoon, Saklan’s 1st – 8th graders met with their family groups to discuss this month’s SEL topic: self-discipline.

The groups began by discussing what self-discipline means: recognizing or identifying that you need to help yourself to achieve a goal, task, assignment, etc. and being able to get yourself back on track.

Then the students watched this video of a lovable monster using tools to help stay on task! After the video they discussed the strategies the monster used: counting to 4, singing, imagining a cookie was a grandmother. The students then brainstormed additional strategies that could help them stay on task.

Each family group then used their list of strategies to act out self-disciplined ways to handle the following scenarios:

  • Someone cuts you in line.
  • You are having a hard time raising your hand, and keep calling out.
  • You are sad because you forgot your lunch.
  • You and your friend cannot stop giggling!
  • You are nervous/stressed over a test.
  • You are mad because someone grabbed the ball you were playing with and is now using it without asking.

The family groups ended their time together by creating posters showcasing suggestions to help others practice self-discipline in specific circumstances. Check out their posters below!


Seeking Wine Donations

We are excitedly preparing a Wine Ring Toss for this year’s Auction Fiesta on March 11th, and we would love your help! Please consider donating a favorite bottle or two (valued at $20 or more) to this year’s wine collection.

Please drop your wine donations off at the auction table in the mornings, or bring them to the Saklan Office.

Thank you for your support!

From Antarctica to 1st Grade

The 1st grade class listened with rapt attention as Ms. O, Saklan’s Science Teacher, gave a special presentation on the penguins she saw during her recent visit to Antarctica. The first grade class has been learning about puffins and penguins this winter, and Ms. O’s presentation was definitely the highlight of their unit! She shared some fascinating photos and stories of her expedition to the white continent.

During her presentation, the first graders learned about some curious penguin behaviors, like how Adelie penguins build their nests with stones, which they sometimes steal from each other; or, how penguins prefer to travel on well trodden ‘penguin highways’ when walking to and from their colonies (it uses up less energy than waddling through the thick snow).

Together with lots of beautiful photos and close up videos of penguins and other animals of Antarctica, Ms. O’s talk deepened the first graders’ understanding of Antarctica and penguins.

A big thank you to Ms. O for sharing her time and wisdom with the first graders! 

Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media

The Saklan PA will be hosting a Parent Coffee event with a guest speaker after CLAS on Friday, January 27th.  Please join us to hear from Dave Mathers, one of the regions expert law enforcement officers working to keep kids safe online. He has tips on parent control apps, ideas and strategies to consider, and insights into the bigger picture of kids and social media. Come ready with your questions and enjoy some coffee and snacks during the talk.


Letter of the Week

Last week, the Owlets read Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Jim Aylesworth while practicing the letter Gg. The Owlets played a game where they sorted pictures from the story by size, helping them practice early math skills. The class also read Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman and The Night Gardener by Terri and Eric Fan. The Owlets love trying to spot their letter of the week with their eyes, and listening for words that begin with the letter!

This week the Owlets have been practicing the letter Hh. They read A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle, about a hermit crab with a plain white shell who found other sea creatures to help improve his home. Then the Owlets got to collage on a hermit crab shell shape, making each one unique! 

Apple Watches of Long Ago

Last month, the fifth graders were out on the turf holding paper plates. Was it picnic time? Not exactly! It turns out it wasn’t plates they were holding, but rather the “Apple Watches” of long ago!  As part of their Solar unit, the students made sundials, modeled a 24-hour day passing in a minute using a flashlight and their sundials, and then took the sundials outside to see if they would actually work.  They didn’t, until the clouds passed, and then, they did!

Did you know … that our 24-hour day is based on our ancient ancestors having 4-fingers and one thumb? Ask a 5th grader to explain how the ancient Egyptians developed what has remained a 24-hour clock for thousands of years, and how their plate-watches work.


Weather Watchers

The Owlets are weather watchers! Here at Saklan,we have been lucky to see so many different weather events over the last week: rain, thunder, lightning, hail, wind, and even some flooding!

With a renewed interest in weather, the Owlets were excited to learn some new science words like observation and evaporation while learning the basics of the water cycle.

They enjoyed a hands-on experiment with shaving cream and watercolor paint to recreate a cloud filling with rain until it got so heavy, it rained down into the cup below. The Owlets also learned that water can be a solid, liquid, or a gas. The class made watercolor ice cubes and painted with them, while observing them melt back into a liquid.

#SaklanHandsOn #SaklanScience

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