Sarah’s Science Visits Saklan

The first and second graders were very fortunate to have special guest Sarah Shaffer of Sarah’s Science visit their classroom this week. The students all became scientists as they delved into the world of electricity, what it is and how it works.

As they did that, they each built their own secret pressure pad to sound an alarm when someone enters the room. We are sure they will come in very handy at home! #SaklanHandsOn

Field Experience at San Francisco Symphony

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On Tuesday, March 5th, the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades went out to explore our Bay Area community by traveling to the San Francisco Symphony. They attended a concert called “Play Me a Story,” designed to help students identify different sounds made by each unique instrument, and connect them to characters or events in a story. The students and teachers then heard a program that introduced them to the Overture from “Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “Elephants” by Camille Saint-Saens, and “Scheherezade” and “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korskov, amongst others.

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The musicians in the symphony expertly demonstrated to our students how a flute can be a bird, how and oboe can be a duck, how a group of violins can be a swarm of bumblebees, and how a trombone and trumpet conversation can be a battle! Everybody’s favorite moment was when the percussion section played us the story of a ship crashing against the rocks!

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Introducing children to instrumental music at an early age is so important, but amongst the laundry list of reasons, one stands out; helping children experience the Symphony in person helps them understand fully that music is played by humans, not by computers, phones, or Alexa. Going outside our school gates and realizing that it is with our own bodies and brains that we create beauty helps our children realize that they too can create art, music or something beautiful, and that it is not out of their reach. For Saklan students, the experience helped them understand concepts reinforced every day in their classrooms and allows them to make a career connection into the greater community.

We 💜 SF Symphony! #SaklanExperiental

Garden Makeover Project

Three weeks ago, the first and second-graders adopted the garden adjacent to their classroom for a Garden Makeover Project. The “makeover” is 100% student-led and started with a hands-on exploration and assessment of the space with a few initial sketches. In session two, students then brainstormed using what they knew about gardening and what more they needed to learn. Once they had their ideas and questions, they invited our own gardening guest expert, Javier in to share his knowledge and refine their plans. In their third session, students ventured out on a field study to the Moraga Garden Center to get more advice from a local expert and refine their plans.

We look forward to seeing what students will produce as they apply what they have learned in science, social studies, math, and literacy to their Garden Makeover Project. Just as importantly, they will be flexing those mental muscles such as presentation skills, working as a team, assessment, reflection, and collaboration. We are expecting lots of fun, lots of mistakes, lots of discovery, lots of learning, and a great garden. #Saklanexperiential

First Grade Science

The first graders have been learning about penguins. First, they presented their group penguin posters to the rest of the class. They wrote a list of notes about the things they learned from each other and then they wrote penguin facts inside their cute penguins they made. They had fun walking like penguins with the help of an egg made out of play dough, and experimenting with feathers and blubber. They learned 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. They use their beak to apply it. To find out how waxy feathers help penguins, the first graders did an experiment called Drenched and Dry.

To end their Penguin Unit, Mr. O’Connell visited the first grade class and read a book about the “Lost and Found Penguin.” The book is a profound story about the importance of friendship between a boy and a penguin. Thank you, Mr. O’Connell!

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

A Visit from a Feathered Friend

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.

Invention Exploratorium

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The first grade class learned about Simple Machines. They each invented their own machine using various scraps of recycled materials. During their presentations, they had to explain how this invention would work and why it was helpful. Way to go First Grade!

Robotics

The 1st grade is in the science lab this month learning about robots and coding. Students have taken part in a few challenges. First, with a push button mouse students had to learn how robots think, and how that is different than we do. They moved their mouse through a track to reach food, water and finally shelter after avoiding danger, such as a cat and fire!

Recently, the 1st graders have moved on to Wonder Dashbots. These are app based robots where the students learn to code for different tracks, sounds, lights, etc. They have become awesome little programmers!

Lindsay Wildlife Comes to Saklan

On Wednesday, docents from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum came to school and did a wonderful presentation for the Kindergarten through Second Grade on Animal Habitat. The students discussed and saw many wild animals that live in our neighborhood and found out about their habitats and adaptations.

To help their learning, the students also saw and touched some wild friends: a tarantula, a gopher snake and a guinea pig. They learned so much and had a wonderful time!

First Grade Learns About Space

Star light, Star Bright. Constellations, What a sight!

These creative constellations, fashioned from marshmallows and q-tips, were made by the imaginative first grade class. The first graders presented all the facts and stories behind their individual constellations.

Each first grade kept a ” Moon Log” observing each night the moon and its form.

First Grade Field Trip to Space!

Our class had a field trip at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. We toured some of the exhibits, we saw a movie about the solar system, and learned more about the planets.

Coming soon… Simple Machines! Look forward to some imaginative inventions!