Family Groups This Month

This past month, the students at Saklan have been learning about Self-Regulation. On Tuesday, our 8th graders led their first family group meeting of the year around this topic: helping the students to recognize or identify when they need to help themselves to achieve a goal, task, assignment and being able to get themselves back on track. The students watched a video staring cookie monster, where he must fight his urges to eat his cookie partner in order to save a princess. The students saw that sometimes not one solution is enough.

Each family group was then given one issue that might happen at school, and came up with tools that could help them overcome that, so they can get back to the task at hand.   These included: when a child is stressed, when they can’t stop giggling, when they are angry or upset (at a friend or situation), or when they are having a hard time focusing. Each family group made a poster showing their tools on the cookies, surrounded by their own cookie monster! Come check these out in the breezeway!

Fifth Grade at the Farm

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Last week, the Saklan fifth graders had the opportunity to visit and help our neighbors down the street at the Moraga Gardens Farm.

Our class has been learning about plant life cycles and gardening, so we were thrilled to be able to spend a day in the garden working with the volunteers and learning hands-on about organic gardening. We planted hundreds of beet and chard seeds and helped to move many, many wheelbarrows full of compost to the gardening beds. We also learned about the care of their tomato plants (800 in total!) and how they were all started from seeds at their garden.

We would like to thank Mr. Deva Rajan and all of the other garden volunteers for sharing their knowledge and love of gardening with us, and for allowing us to work along side them in their beautiful garden oasis!

Marin Headlands – 5th Grade

Last week, the fifth grade class spent three days and two nights in the Marin Headlands.  This science-filled experience was both educational and fun! The weather was a bit cold and windy at times, but overall we had beautiful clear, skies!

We hiked, hiked and hiked, as well as visited the Marine Mammal Center, spent time at the touch tank with many tide pool creatures, and observed living plankton under a microscope. One of our hikes took us to ice plant hill where we not only tasted ice plant, but also rolled down ice plant hill. In addition, we hiked to Point Bonita Lighthouse and along the way observed a herd of harbor seals sunning on rocks and frolicking in the bay. We also took a night hike, enjoyed singing songs around the campfire, played games with other schools, and ate cookies on the beach.
The food was delicious, our dorms were comfy and warm, and our guide, Bryan, was terrific. It was a fabulous trip!

Fifth Grade State Reports

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The fifth grade class just completed their State Reports and shared their reports with their parents on Wednesday morning. Each student chose a state they wanted to learn more about.  They thoroughly researched their state and created a report including the following information about their state: history, attractions, geography, important people, agriculture and industry, and unique features. They also created a “choice chapter” where they each showed their creativity through models, collages, travel brochures, writing on topics of their choosing, and even an original rap song! The states represented in their reports are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Please stop by the fifth grade classroom to take a look at their reports and take a virtual tour of some of our great states of the U.S.!

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!

Book Tasting in 5th Grade

Who doesn’t love to curl up with a good book in your pajamas?  Since Wednesday was Pajama Day here at Saklan, the 5th grade class devoted the entire morning to books and reading!

We began the day with a “book tasting.”  Each student entered the room to find a menu, placemat and book at their seat, plus many other books in the center of each table.  I let the students know they would be getting a “taste” of all kinds of new books!

They had about a minute to look at the book on their plate.  If they truly weren’t interested in it AT ALL, they could trade out their book for one of the books in the middle of the table.  Then, they began writing in their menus the genre, title, and first impressions of the book.  After that, they had about 3-4 minutes to “taste” their book.  During this time, they were reading several pages out of their book.

Each student “tasted” a total 5 different books from different genres, and also helped to recommend books to each other.  At the end of the tasting, they all ended up with a new book to read and a list of books that they can’t wait to read!

Moving Up Day

Yesterday the preschoolers – fifth graders participated in Moving Up Day!

The students and teachers alike were buzzing with excitement. Questions, stories, projects, and enthusiasm filled each classroom. Please ask the children all about it!


Crazy Hair and Clash Day

In continuation of Good Humor Month, the students showed off their wacky hairdos and outfits for Crazy Hair and Clash Day on Wednesday.

Stay tuned. Next Wednesday is Pajama Day.

5th Grade Rockets

This time in science, the 5th grade studied space, orbiting objects and space exploration.

As part of their studies, they had to engineer a rocket that could cut though air resistance and gravity, and try to go the highest possible.

5th Grade Autobiographies


The fifth grade students just completed their autobiographies which culminated in sharing them with their parents and younger students.  The project consisted of 6 chapters:

Chapter 1….”My Early Years to the Age of Five”…The students interviewed their parents by asking them 20 questions.  Each child learned a lot of information and some of the responses were quite humorous!

Chapter 2…”Me Today”…The students wrote a composition in class that described their personalities, physical characteristics, qualities, and things they enjoy doing.

Chapter 3…”My Favorite Activity”…In this composition the students described a favorite activity that included a full description of the activity: Where, when, and who they do it with, as well as whey they enjoy it.

Chapter 4…”Activities The I Do With My Family”…In this composition, the students wrote about activities that they do with their family, as well as what they do with each member.  This even included their pets.

Chapter 5…”Timeline”…The students created a timeline of 20 significant events in their lives starting from birth to today; then they illustrated the events.

Chapter 6…”Choice Chapter”…..In this chapter the students were able to choose a topic of their choice that was of interest to them.

Each autobiography included a decorated cover, title page, table of contents, and photographs or pictures with captions that followed each chapter. These will be on display in our classroom for several weeks, and the students really enjoy looking at them over and over!  Please feel free to stop by and take a look at them!