Fifth Grade Autobiography Projects

One tradition we have in fifth grade is students put together an Autobiography Project. This has been a Saklan tradition for many years. This year’s fifth grade has just completed this treasured keepsake. The Autobiography consists of six chapters written by the students. Each chapter is tailored to inform the reader about different parts of the students’ lives. Chapters range from: A Parent Interview, My Favorite Activity, Family Activities, Timeline, Me Today and a free choice chapter. The free choice chapter gives students the opportunity to create what they wish. Many students wrote poetry, wrote about their pet, favorite place, are some of the examples.

On Wednesday, the fifth graders shared their projects with their parents, classmates and teachers during a gallery walk presentation. Fifth graders were so excited to share their amazing projects. Students also brought their favorite dessert to share during the presentations.

We are very proud of their hard work and creativity on the projects. Way to go fifth graders!


Story Elements with Fifth Grade


The fifth graders have just finished reading the book Frindle by Andrew Clements and learned about story elements. The students made character trait posters which exemplified character traits for the two main characters. In addition, the students learned how to support the character’s traits by locating text evidence in the book.

Students enjoyed learning more about story elements and creating their posters with a partner. Awesome effort, fifth graders!


Responsive Classroom


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.


Author’s Celebration


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.

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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 Outdoor Experience at Marin Headlands

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.


New Benches On Campus

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!!

Lower School Students See the Play “Brooklyn Bridge”


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

State Reports

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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!

Moving Up Day!

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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

Gingerbread House Project

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!