This summer, seven Saklan teachers (Mrs. C, Ms. Puno, Ms. Prizeman, Ms. Rokas, Ms. Burton, Ms. Ivonne and Mr. Crabtree) attended a four-day intensive Responsive Classroom training seminar. For those of you who may not be familiar with Responsive Classroom, it is an evidence-based approach to teaching that merges engaging and challenging academics with the social emotional needs of each student. Much of what Responsive Classroom recommends are practices we already do and believe in at Saklan, but the training has enhanced our toolbox and solidified our approach to working with students. To discover more about Responsive Classroom please click here.
The fifth graders completed their Author’s Celebration project this month. Students have been learning many strategies for making their creative writing stories a joy to read. Some strategies they have learned this year in order to enrich their writing are: using vivid vocabulary, sensory words, figurative language, interesting story leads, “said” is dead, and character development.
The students chose a favorite story they had written that best exemplified these strategies to make into a book. During the celebration, students read to groups of parents and made their stories come alive by reading with expression. They did such an amazing job!
Fifth grade students had an amazing experience during their three day two night outdoor experience. The goal of this experience is to broaden the student’s awareness of the natural world and their relationship to it through experiential learning. The students worked with a naturalist that created activities aligned with that focus.
The fifth graders participated in informative lessons, hikes and team building activities. They were able to learn about the many inhabitants that reside in the Marin Headlands and see them in their natural habitats. This included plant life, animal life, and previous human dwellers to this area.
The students also visited the Marine Mammal Center, which is an animal hospital dedicated to helping sick or injured animals. The students were able to make the connection of how water pollution affects the animals’ habitats and why it is so important to preserve the environment. It was truly an educational experience they will treasure.
We have two new wooden benches on campus! The benches were completed as part of Cole Peters Eagle Scout Service Project. Eagle Scout is the highest achievement rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts are required to complete 21 merit badges and one Eagle Scout Service Project. Cole completed his 21 merit badges and decided on making two benches for our school.
The Eagle Scout Service Project gives the scout an opportunity to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project that benefits his community. He and Mr. O’Connell worked on a design plan together. Supplies were donated by Home Depot. Working with his scout adviser, Cole organized the volunteers and dates for the building of the benches. The volunteers spent about 12-15 hours finishing the benches.
The students have already been enjoying the benches. Thank you for a job well-done, Cole!!
On Thursday, March 7th, the 4th and 5th grade embarked on a journey down the hill into Lafayette to visit our local community theater, Town Hall Theater. We experienced a beautiful play called “Brooklyn Bridge,” which on the surface seems to be about a 5th grade girl trying to find a pen so she can write a report, but is really about human connectedness and the small things that bring us all together. The students were able to ask the actors questions after, and for our Saklan students, they were able to tie the experience of actors they saw to their own memory of what it feels like to be on stage.
Different students were able to understand the play on different levels. There were moments of stillness and silence when the meaning of the play reached their hearts, and all of them laughed at the “plant moving people.” Experiencing such beautiful theater so close by is thrilling, and helps our students to understand that they are a part of the larger artistic community in Lamorinda and the East Bay. They walked away joyful, inspired, and empowered. Many thanks to Town Hall Theater for hosting us! #SaklanExperiental
Fifth grade students have been working hard on their State Reports. Students researched many important facts pertaining to their chosen state. Each report consisted of well written sections and students also drew maps, state birds, state flowers and state flags for their reports. As a family project, students created a State Float.
Floats were required to have specific facts as well as extra information the students found fascinating. How those state facts were represented on the float was up to their imagination. It was interesting to see all of the creativity in each of State Floats. Students and their families did such an amazing job!
Wednesday was a special day for our elementary campus. All of our PS – 5th grade students got to “move up” to next year’s grade for a portion of the morning. This has been an annual tradition so that the students get a snapshot of what next year could be like. The teachers planned special activities that highlighted their grade and enjoyed getting to know their rising students a little better. If your child “moved up” on Wednesday, please ask them all about it. I’m sure they will have something enthusiastic to share! #SaklanConnected
Fifth graders worked together to complete gingerbread house projects. Students worked in pairs to design and build to scale a gingerbread house. First, they reviewed how to figure Area and Perimeter. Then students designed their gingerbread house floor plans. All floor plans could not exceed 432 square centimeters. When complete, students submitted their floor plans, side and front view dimensions and calculations to the Project Manager (Mrs. Peters) for final approval before building.
During this process, fifth graders: designed, added, multiplied, predicted, worked cooperatively and creatively. Students then built their gingerbread houses to scale. Of course, adding candy was a fun part of the project, too. They turned out great! Awesome job, fifth graders!
Tumbling down from the sky and landing in our play yard, our Owlets and Hoot Owls had a special visitor this week. They were deliriously excited, to say the least. A pigeon! Close up and personal! They were amused and had many questions. Their curiosity was uncontainable. Look! He has a green bracelet! What is it? Why is it here? Is it hurt?
Our little Friend was tagged with his “name” and his owner’s information. After a little bit of detective work on the American Racing Pigeon Union site, we were able to find out that he was lost and where he came from.
To make a 2-day story short, our Feathered Friend is at home with Matt from Concord. Matt says “Thank you” to our Owlets and Hoot Owls for showing compassion and concern for the safety and well-being of our Feathered Friend.
Fifth graders just finished reading the book, Wonder. This is an amazing story about a fifth grade boy, August, who was born with a severe facial deformity. Up until now, he has been home-schooled by his mother. Now, his parents feel it is important for August to go to school and meet other students. Going to school is filled with many challenges and successes, not only for August, but for many of the other characters. This story has many important themes. One prevalent theme is: Kindness. Fifth graders discussed the many ways they show kindness to others.
Students chose twelve ways they show kindness and have written them on their “Rainbows of Kindness” art projects. If you are looking for an exciting story, this is the book for you! Fifth graders choose “kind.”