Fifth Grade Tall Tales

The fifth grade students completed writing original tall tales and shared them with their parents last week. We began this process by reading American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne. There was a lot of discussion that included comparing and contrasting the exaggerated lives of the many American “tall tale” characters like Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Davy Crockett, Stormalong and John Henry, to name a few.  We paid particular attention to the figurative and descriptive language that was used so that we could “pattern” our tall tales in a similar fashion.


Each original tall tale needed to follow a particular format that included the following:

  • Describing the character’s exaggerated physical ability and personality.
  • Creating a “problem” that the character can solve with their remarkable ability and solving the “problem” in a creative way.
  • Weaving in some historical information of the time period, and how some famous landmarks and landforms were created.
  • Concluding the tale by describing how the character dies and how they are remembered today.

Some of our characters are named:  Robin Red, Enormous Edward, Elastica, Lucy Ann, Thylacine, Florine Shannah, Raider Cramora, The Wimpy Eagle, Billy Bob, and Chris Andrew Robinson.

The tall tales will be displayed in our classroom for several weeks. Please feel free to drop in and read them!

Hoot Owls Celebrate 100th Day of School



Wednesday was the 100th day of school. One of the fun activities the children did was to answer the question: If I was 100 years old, I would…

Here are the responses:

…sleep. ~Natalie                                          …walk with a cane. ~Skyler

…have a bun in my hair. ~Makena          …do nothing. ~Cecily

…be crooked. ~Luca                             …have a picnic outside. ~Maeve

…be a silly person. ~Brooke               …be building a snowman. ~Jack

…look old. ~Danielle                                  …sit down a lot. ~Colin

…have blue eyes. ~Grady                          …have pink hair. ~Jordan

…move fast. ~Ochir                           …teach P.E. with a cast on. ~Avery

…have lines on my face. ~Ashley

Cut Up/Cut Out at Bedford Gallery

This week Kindergarten went to the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek where we saw some truly amazing art that people created just by cutting! They definitely used their skills of perseverance to create such detailed works of art.

We then created our own art in their workshop and found out how truly talented our Kindergarten class is!

Join Us for a Swell and Swanky Time on March 4!


Imagine…stepping back into 1920s Hollywood…entering through a VIP entrance…being handed your Drowsy Chaperone cocktail…tasting elegant passed appetizers and a choice of scallops for dinner…enjoying grand conversations and bidding on attractive baskets…all the while raising money for our students and teachers.

You no longer need to imagine. All this and more will be yours when you purchase your tickets to our auction, An Evening In Old Hollywood. RSVP HERE by February 25.

Here’s how you can support our Auction this week:

Buy & Sell San Diego Vacation Raffle Tickets: 10 tickets for $100 and the chance for a week with your feet up and sunshine on your face at the Catamaran Resort.

Buy & Sell Instant Wine Cellar Raffle Tickets: 1 ticket for $100 and the chance to win a large collection of premier wines including wine tasting experiences.

Buy One or More Teacher Appreciation Raffle Tickets: 1 ticket for $25 for every teacher you want to have a chance to win a one week stay at a South Lake Tahoe cabin.

Let us hear from you with questions, comments, ideas, and how you would like to help by emailing Katy and Toni at  Thanks! You’re the best!

What Great Parents Do with Erica Reischer, Ph.D.


Join us for this informative talk with therapist and author, Dr. Erica Reischer. Erica will present highly useful parenting advice from her best selling book, “What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Kids Who Thrive.”


Erica Reischer, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, speaker, and parent educator. Dr. Reischer’s writing about children and families appears in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, The Greater Good Science Center, and The Atlantic.

Dr. Reischer earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Psychology / Human Development, and is an honors graduate of Princeton University. A former consultant with McKinsey & Company, she sits on the advisory board for Happy Healthy Kids and continues to lead popular parenting classes at schools and organizations such as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Habitot Children’s Museum, and University of California.

Wednesday, February 15

7:30 – 9:00PM

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church


Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Parents,

We have moved into February and are now about one month away from our Annual Auction which will be held at the Orinda County Club on March 4. As I write this, our Auction Co-Chairs, Tony Edwardson and Katy DeBasa, together with Carol Goldman and the Parent Association are meeting to put the final touches to what is certain to be a fabulous evening.  A big shout-out to Katy, Tony and Carol, and all the auction volunteers for organizing this exciting event.

This year we have decided to focus our Fund-a-Need Project on renovating the Science Room with the goal of incorporating a more STEM-focused program. While STEM programs are more common at the high school level, a growing number of middle, and even elementary schools, are embracing the STEM movement. At Saklan, STEM is a natural fit with the school’s mission and educational goals and our Science teacher, Miss Obenchain, is already incorporating a STEM approach in her Science classes.


What defines a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program is that learning is collaborative and project-based. It allows students to work closely together in a hands-on way to solve real world problems. Learning problem solving skills and helping students develop into creative, critical thinkers is at the core of any true STEM program.  Teachers in a STEM program do not just tell students information, but rather allow students to use their own data and discovery to realize a concept. While all schools teach math and science, good STEM program connects and focuses deeply on these subjects in hopes of better preparing students for the high-demand tech jobs of the future.

Our Fund-a-Need Project of renovating the Science Room will involve a complete redesign of the room with new furnishings and purchasing STEM materials and equipment. This is an exciting project and will impact all of the Saklan community as every Saklan student has classes in the Science Room. In the weeks ahead, look for much more information about STEM at Saklan, and please support this project with your participation at the auction.

Thank you again to all the parents that attended the Town Hall last Friday. A letter with your free dress passes will be in the mail next week and slides from the Town Hall are available here.

Have a great weekend!


A Happy Ending

The last part of the second grade Dragon and Fairy Tale Unit was to do a presentation.

The students memorized fairy tale poems and put on a show for their parents and some of the other classes at Saklan. The children once again demonstrated their amazing public speaking skills.
And of course, we all lived happily ever after.

Mr. Metzger, the Storyteller!


To end our Penguin Unit for the month of January, Mr. Metzger visited the first grade class and read a book called “The Lost and Found Penguin.” The book is a profound story about the importance of friendship between a boy and a penguin. Thank you, Mr. Metzger!