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

Moving Up Day

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

This annual tradition allowed 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, classroom scavenger hunts, and enthusiasm filled the classrooms! If your child “moved up” today, please ask them all about it. They will likely have something enthusiastic to share!


Los Lugares

During Spanish class, the first graders have been learning the Spanish words for the names of common places (lugares) they might visit. The students learned and practiced these new Spanish words using several fun methods, including: watching videos, singing songs, and playing games. After developing a thorough knowledge of the vocabulary, students used the words to create a map showcasing all the places they learned about:

  • La ciudad- the city
  • La escuela- school
  • La biblioteca- library
  • La tienda- store
  • El museo – museum
  • La casa- house
  • El río – river
  • El lago  – lake
  • La playa- beach
  • El bosque- forest
  • La montaña- mountain

The students then presented their maps to the class, speaking only in Spanish! Check out a few of the maps below.


Homes Around the World

The first grade class has been learning about the importance of shelter and what homes look like around the world. To begin the unit, the students wrote down questions they had related to homes. Culture, climate, and materials that are used to build homes were all part of the questions that were then posted on their Wonder Wall. Next, the students set out to learn the answers to their essential questions using a variety of resources.

One resource that the first graders were able to learn from was the 8th graders! Having recently returned from their Puerto Rican field experience, where they helped rebuild houses destroyed by Hurricane Maria, the eighth graders were now well versed in the building materials used and the ways homes are constructed in Puerto Rico. The eighth graders shared a presentation with the first graders about the climate and impact of hurricanes in Puerto Rico. They then shared how the houses are now being constructed to withstand the hurricane winds and water.

The first graders joined the eighth graders and Mr. Javier to get a hands-on demonstration of the home building process in Puerto Rico. The first graders helped mix cement, adding in extra rocks and sand to make it even stronger. The group then filled a preformed column, which Mr. Javier had already inserted rebar reinforcements into, with the cement.

A big thank you to the eighth graders for teaching the first graders about homes in Puerto Rico. This was a great hands-on learning experience for first grade.

#SaklanCrossGradeLearning #SaklanHandsOn

Service to the Community

Cesar Chavez Day is a commemorative holiday celebrated yearly on March 31st in the U.S. The aim of this holiday is to celebrate the birth and the enduring legacy of the labor and civil rights’ movement that activist Cesar Chavez started while fighting for farm workers’ rights in the 1950s. Chavez gave people a sense of their own power by helping them discover that they could demand dignity and better wages. On March 31st each year, this day is commemorated to promote service to the community in honor of Cesar Chavez’s life, work, and legacy.

At The Saklan School, the kindergarten through seventh grade students supported and provided a service for The Contra Costa Humane Society by making much needed items for dogs and cats in their care, as well as learning about Cesar Chavez’s life and important legacy. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grade were tasked with making catnip sachets. The third and fourth graders made kitty pom poms for cats to play with while in their cages. The fifth grade class made several dog beds and pull toys. And finally, the sixth and seventh grade group made braided pull toys for dogs. The goal of the community service project was to show compassion and make the animals’ lives more comfortable and happy while they wait for their forever homes.

#SaklanCompassion #SaklanServiceLearning

100 Days Smarter

Saklan celebrated the 100th day of the 2021-2022 school year on Thursday, February 10th. To mark the occasion, the Hoot Owls made “100” crowns, participated in several counting activities and had a celebratory lunch.

The Kindergartners celebrated the 100th day of school by rotating through a series of activities focusing on the number 100. Students had the opportunity to build with 100 cups, match numbers 1 – 100 on the bottom of kisses to a hundreds chart, hear the story 100th Day Worries by Margery Cuyler, draw themselves when they are 100 years old, and make a necklace with 100 loops on it.

To get the 100th day started, the first graders each created a poster that contained 100 of something of their choosing. The posters were very unique and creative!

During the school day, the first graders commemorated the day by answering writing prompts such as, “What would you do with 100 dollars?” and “What would you do if you were 100 years old?” They practiced counting to 100 by 10s, drew 100 decorations on cupcake drawings, made necklaces using 100 circular cereal pieces and yarn and read The 100th Day of School by Angela Shelf Medearis.

The students had a wonderful day celebrating the 100th day of school and noting that they are now 100 days smarter.

#SaklanAcademic #100daysSmarter


The first grade class read lots of information about penguins, learning about their physical characteristics, habitat, offspring, and what they eat. To make their reading come to life, the students participated in hands-on, fun activities including “Emperor for a Day.” To start the activity, the first graders created emperor penguin eggs out of clay. Then they took their shoes off, kept their socks on, curled up their feet, and we had fun walking like penguin parents, with their egg on their feet. The students discovered that it is harder than they thought it would be!

Did you know that penguins spend a lot of time applying wax to their outer feathers? The wax comes from a gland at the base of their tail, and they use their beaks to apply it to the rest of their body. To find out how waxy feathers help penguins, the first graders colored a penguin using crayons to emulate the wax on their outer feathers, while leaving a picture of a cat uncolored (without wax). The students then sprinkled water on both animals, and discovered how a penguin’s body let less water through the paper than the cat’s body. The students not only enjoyed this hands-on activity, but came to truly understood how wax helps the penguins.

#SaklanHandsOn #SaklanAcademic

Six Rings Make a Sphere

The Kindergarteners are now pros at creating “huts” out of hula hoops!  During P.E., the students have been working together to stack six hoops to create a small, hut-like structure. The symbolism of rings and spheres is significant in many human cultures. Hula hoops gained popularity in the 1950’s, but they can be used for more than twirling around the waist. In the world of dance and gymnastics there are many tricks and moves which practitioners can master. 

In addition to building huts, the Kindergarteners and first graders have been working to master various hula hoop tricks, and making other creative designs with the hoops. Check out the design below, which some of the first graders collaborated to create.


Respectful & Accepting

This week, the 1st through 8th graders met with their families groups to discuss the January Social Emotional Learning themes of being respectful and accepting.

The 8th graders led a discussion of what the words respectful and accepting mean, and then shared the book Where Oliver Fits, by Cale Atkinson, in which Oliver finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought it would be.

Following a discussion of the story, the each student decorated a paper puzzle piece with words that describe them. Check out the puzzle pieces that each family group created below.


Simple Machines

In December, the first graders learned about simple machines. The class discussed what work is (the transfer of energy from one object to another in order to make the second object move in a certain direction) and what makes work harder or easier. Then they learned about the six simple machines by participating in a series of experiments and activities.

The first graders learned about levers and balanced a lever on a fulcrum. They had a bubble race and learned how a wheel and axle makes work easier. They also used a pulley to avoid lifting objects, and had an egg drop challenge. The first graders learned that using an inclined plane makes it easier and safer to move a load. They also made a paper helicopter and learned how a screw works. Lastly, the class made funny faces with oranges and popsicle sticks and learned that the shape of a wedge was easier to use.

The first graders had a great time learning about simple machines through these hands-on, fun experiments.  To make the lesson even more fun, each student created and built their own inventions.

First grade has so much creativity and these inventions rock!


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