The Fall Session of our after school enrichment program has gotten off to a great start. We have nine different sections which meet after school from Mondays to Thursdays, with a total of 85 students participating. I am pleased to announce that Saklan will again be participating in Mathcounts this year. The Mathcounts Competition Series is a national program that provides students the opportunity to compete in live, in-person contests against and alongside their peers. Mr. Zippin will be coaching our Mathcounts team, which is open to students in grades 6-8. This is the second year that we have participated in Mathcounts. Last year’s team of seven students had a great time participating in our local Diablo Chapter Competition. Feedback from the students who participate in the program includes comments such as: “I enjoy math,” “I like solving complicated problems and being challenged,” I did it last year and really enjoyed it,” “It’s fun doing math in a group.”
This year’s Mathcounts Team, which meets on Mondays from 3:30 – 4:30 is currently made up of six students. During the weekly meeting, the students will typically do a warm up exercise followed by reviewing some math concepts that come up in the problems that the students are working on. After this, the students will get into teams to get practice in working collaboratively on the problem of the week. They end the session with a workout on some harder problems. A big thank you to Mr. Zippin for coaching the Saklan team. This activity allows students who like math to get together and have a different kind of problem solving experience. Plus it’s fun!
The goal of the Mathcounts Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to provide engaging math programs to U.S. middle school students of all ability levels in order to build confidence and improve attitudes towards math and problem solving. The Foundation believes that middle school students exist at a critical juncture in which their love for mathematics must be nurtured, or their fear of mathematics must be overcome. Mathcounts thus provides students with the kinds of experiences that foster growth and transcend fear to lay a foundation for future success. You can get a taste of the kind of problems that Mathcounts students solve by looking at the problem of the week on the Mathcounts website.
The Hoot Owls spent some time this week with their buddies, the Fourth Grade, and created vibrantly colorful fall leaves. The end result of this paint-filled activity is loads of beautiful leaves that will be used to create our Gratitude Tree. They also brainstormed ideas for a Gratitude ABCs poem, which represents all of the things that we are thankful for. Hanging out with our Buddies is the best!!!
The second graders have each chosen a mammal to research as part of their Mammal and Classification Unit. They teamed up with their seventh grade buddies for a special project.
They had to gather information about the size, coloring, diet, habitat, and special facts about their mammal. They worked with their buddies to find this information from books and Internet material.
The second graders then transferred this information to note cards as they prepared for an oral report for their parents and classmates. This is a good example of students helping each other learn at Saklan.
The 2017 Hopscotch Tournament has concluded. Starting with forty-six competitors, the semi-finalists were: Colin T. (5th), Mr. Zippin, Mr. Javier, and Wesley G. (5th). The final match was played during Thursday’s lunch between Mr. Zippin and Wesley. This match was very close with both players on the eighth square. Wesley made the final pitch to the ninth square and was victorious.
Congratulations to Wesley, the 2017 hopscotch champion!
This week, the 8th grade went to Smitten in Lafayette to see chemistry in action. The students saw how a dream to make the best ice cream involved understanding of matter, thermal dynamics, and engineering. Smitten uses local ingredients, machines that make evenly cooled ice cream, and liquid nitrogen to ensure the smallest ice crystal formation and smoothest texture.
Students saw ice cream being made by the machines, nitrogen boiling, and enjoyed a scoop themselves. It was a very tasty and interesting field trip!
Our Director of Development, Carol Goldman, will be launching the Annual Giving Fund Campaign next week. In the next two months, you will be receiving requests to participate, and I urge you to support the work that the faculty and staff do here at Saklan. Our AGF allows us to achieve our goal of going above and beyond and accomplish things like our performing arts program, student leadership opportunities, and facility improvements like the new turf field. I can assure you that we are never short on ideas for improvement and, like all independent schools, we rely not only on tuition, but also donations to provide our students with the highest quality education. Each student at Saklan is in some way a beneficiary of the contributions that you give and all donations are tax deductible, unlike tuition.
Please remember that school will be closed next Friday, October 20 for a professional development day. This year all of our faculty will be attending a workshop on Improving Literacy Achievement at Saklan. This workshop will be led by Dr. Kathy Perez, an award-winning classroom teacher, administrator, and author who has worked with students from preschoolers to college graduates. Dr. Perez is currently a Professor of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California and is an acclaimed international educational consultant, author and motivational speaker, specializing in literacy, instructional strategies, and creative approaches to brain research, student engagement and leadership development. She will draw on material from her latest book, “200+ Proven Strategies for Teaching Reading in K-8,” to help our teachers in all disciplines make great strides in literacy achievement.
Every Wednesday throughout the school year, the Owlets and their 6th grade buddies will get together to play, go on walks, read and do art projects. Both the Owlets and 6th graders look forward to this special time together every week.
8th grade Humanities have been working on a collaborative, map-making, research exploration of US cultural geography. The students are challenged to understand how the way people live affects where they live. An important part of the assignment is learning how to problem-solve creatively and work cooperatively with others in a deadline situation. Please swing by the Humanities class next week to check the map out in person!