Moving Up Day

On Wednesday morning, the Saklan Preschool – fifth grade students participated in Moving Up Day. The students and teachers alike were buzzing with excitement!

This annual tradition allows the students to get a snapshot of what next year will hold. The teachers planned special activities that highlighted their grade level and enjoyed getting to know their rising students a little better. Morning meeting activities, questions, stories, art activities, classroom scavenger hunts, and enthusiasm for next year filled the classrooms! If your child “moved up” on Wednesday, please ask them all about it. They will likely have something enthusiastic to share!


Packing Party

After lunch last Friday, our 1st graders had a packing party! No, they weren’t preparing to move, but rather packing lunch bags to be distributed to homeless individuals. Partnering with the organization 10,000 Lunches, the class packed 45 brown bags, carefully adding one of each food item per bag: tuna, instant oatmeal, Ritz crackers, fruit cup, sun butter, protein bar, and a can of Vienna sausages.

After a project-based learning unit on homes around the world, the first graders were interested in helping those who don’t have homes. Brett Lorie, one of the founders of 10,000 Lunches, was beyond thrilled to hear that the 1st grade students wanted to do something to help the unhoused. He spoke to the class, sharing about the organizations mission and the people (and dogs) they serve. Brett’s talk helped to humanize the problem of homelessness in the Bay Area for the first graders. Having students interact with changemakers like Brett helps to spark their own social consciousness. 

Gina delivered the brown bags the 1st graders packed to Brett’s house after school last Friday.  On Saturday, Brett emailed the following message:

Thank you again, Gina!  It was wonderful meeting you and the kids.  They were a great bunch!

The students were so proud and happy to do something to help unhoused individuals. This experience was a great way to build their empathy and compassion muscles.

#SaklanCompassion #SaklanServiceLearning #StudentInquiryDriven

Welcoming Jack Wong

On Wednesday, May 10, Saklan’s Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade students had the pleasure of meeting with author Jack Wong. Jack read his debut picture book, When You Can Swim, to the students and shared that the idea for the book came from his own experiences as a kid.

Jack was born in Hong Kong to a mother who had been forbidden to learn to swim. As a kid, he moved to Canada but didn’t like swimming or heights. He said he disliked swimming because being in the water feels so different from what we normally feel. A good friend encouraged and helped him feel more confident to take risks like jumping off a bridge into the water. Through his book, Jack paints a compelling picture of the many joys and surprises that the water holds, and invites others to discover their confidence to explore the warmth and wonder of swimming and the natural world.

Jack not only wrote When You Can Swim, but illustrated it too! He taught the students how to draw different creatures underwater. He explained that by drawing a line around the head of the creature you are drawing and then making ripples out from the line, the animal looks to be poking its head out of the water. He asked the students for suggestions on what to draw. A shark, seal and dinosaur were the winners!

Lunar New Year

First graders welcomed the Year of the Rabbit last week with some special activities. On Tuesday, Jen, a first grade parent, came to class to talk about Lunar New Year, which is observed not just in China but in countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan and Korea. She also led the class in making stunning dragon puppets.

The learning continued when the class went on a virtual field experience to the Asian Art Museum. They listened intently as a master storyteller told the legend of Nien, a monster who terrorized villagers and led them to scare him away with loud noises, the color red and fire- the beginnings of Chinese New Year. The class also listened to the story behind the Chinese zodiac animals.  

The class continued their learning and festivities this week as well. Today they marked the end of the 15-day festival by making lanterns, having a Lantern Festival party in class, and joining the second graders for a dragon parade around campus.

May the Year of the Rabbit be prosperous for all!


On Thursday afternoon, Saklan’s 1st – 8th graders met with their family groups to discuss this month’s SEL topic: self-discipline.

The groups began by discussing what self-discipline means: recognizing or identifying that you need to help yourself to achieve a goal, task, assignment, etc. and being able to get yourself back on track.

Then the students watched this video of a lovable monster using tools to help stay on task! After the video they discussed the strategies the monster used: counting to 4, singing, imagining a cookie was a grandmother. The students then brainstormed additional strategies that could help them stay on task.

Each family group then used their list of strategies to act out self-disciplined ways to handle the following scenarios:

  • Someone cuts you in line.
  • You are having a hard time raising your hand, and keep calling out.
  • You are sad because you forgot your lunch.
  • You and your friend cannot stop giggling!
  • You are nervous/stressed over a test.
  • You are mad because someone grabbed the ball you were playing with and is now using it without asking.

The family groups ended their time together by creating posters showcasing suggestions to help others practice self-discipline in specific circumstances. Check out their posters below!


From Antarctica to 1st Grade

The 1st grade class listened with rapt attention as Ms. O, Saklan’s Science Teacher, gave a special presentation on the penguins she saw during her recent visit to Antarctica. The first grade class has been learning about puffins and penguins this winter, and Ms. O’s presentation was definitely the highlight of their unit! She shared some fascinating photos and stories of her expedition to the white continent.

During her presentation, the first graders learned about some curious penguin behaviors, like how Adelie penguins build their nests with stones, which they sometimes steal from each other; or, how penguins prefer to travel on well trodden ‘penguin highways’ when walking to and from their colonies (it uses up less energy than waddling through the thick snow).

Together with lots of beautiful photos and close up videos of penguins and other animals of Antarctica, Ms. O’s talk deepened the first graders’ understanding of Antarctica and penguins.

A big thank you to Ms. O for sharing her time and wisdom with the first graders! 

Festival of Lights

This week, many Saklan students learned about Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs around the world, including some of our students! Diwali is the festival of lights and lasts for 5 days in October or November. The students read books to get a better understanding of the festival, and then participated in some celebratory activities.

The Owlets and Hoot Owls learned about an art form called Rangoli, a geometric design on the floor (or other flat surface) made using colored rice, sand, dry flour, or flower petals. The owls watched a video of someone creating a Rangoli, and then made their own.

The Kindergarteners and first graders made lanterns that they were able to take home. They decorated their lanterns using stickers and markers, and were excited to spread light!

A big thank you to the parents who came in to share their family Diwali traditions with our students!

#SaklanDiversity #SaklanCommunity

Role of the Library in Moraga

First graders visited the Moraga Library as part of their community study. Ms. Nerit, the head librarian, read stories to the class and sang songs too. The students learned about the role a library plays in a community and discussed the differences between public libraries and school libraries. They also talked about how borrowing a library book is different from buying books in a bookstore. Ms. Nerit showed the first graders examples of damaged books and taught the students how to take care of books properly, so they can continue to be a usable resource for the entire community. The class also got to take a tour the library.

Before the first graders left the library, they were able to borrow books from the library, checking them out using their own library cards!


First Family Group Meeting

On Friday, September 30th, the Saklan first through eighth graders met with their family groups for the first time this year! During the meeting, the students in each group introduced themselves and shared one or two of their favorite things. Then each group had a discussion of what is means to be accepting, including why it is important that we are all accepting of others. They then played a game to help them learn something new about everyone in their group, as sometimes its hard to know someone and accept someone for who they are when you don’t know much about them.

The 8th graders then explained to their family group that as they go through the year together, they are a group or team made up of awesome individuals and they each bring their own strengths to the group. Some may have amazing sports or singing talents. Some maybe be amazing observers, or great listeners. Others might be a great friend to those around them.

Each member of the group was then given a puzzle piece to draw or decoratively write what they feel makes them special or amazing! These puzzle pieces were then all put together, showing that all members of each family group all are important members of the group. Check out their puzzles below!

#FamilyGroups #SaklanSEL #SaklanCompassionate


Last Friday morning there was much excitement on campus as we kicked off our learning buddy program for the year! Learning buddies are a purposeful way to encourage cross-grade friendships, help students develop a sense of responsibility and practice mentorship, and make learning fun!

During the first meeting, the buddies took time to get to know each other and did some reading together.

The older buddies marvelously modeled good reading behaviors by reading with expression and fluency for their younger buddies. Some of the older buddies were also honored to listen to their younger buddies read too.

The younger buddies thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their learning buddies, and are already asking when they get to meet with their buddies again!

#SaklanBuddies #SaklanCommunity

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