Fourth Grade Writes for Their Future

This week, the fourth graders in Ms. Ashley’s class used their voices to stand up for something they believe in. For the past few weeks, the class has been discussing environmental issues, investigating the effects of emissions, and thinking about how we can all reduce our carbon footprint.

As part of this learning, the class watched Greta Thunberg’s TED Talk from November 2018, where the then 16-year-old climate activist made the case for humanity to take urgent action to combat climate change. The message resonated with Saklan fourth graders.

To continue their exploration of climate change, the students then watched the TedEd video “Lifecycle of a T-shirt,” which presents a stark picture of where most t-shirts come from and how they are made. The process explained in the video left the students in disbelief, and wondering where their Saklan uniform shirts came from.

Saklan uniform shirts are made by Land’s End, but a review of the company’s sustainability webpage left the fourth graders dissatisfied. There were plenty of promises for what the company would do in the future, but very little information on what they are doing now.

The fourth graders came up with the idea to write a letter to the Land’s End School Uniform Department, detailing what they had learned and explaining what changes they would like the company to make. Their final letter, which will be sent to the company, is not only well-written and respectful, but also full of passion and heart.

You can read the full text of the letter here. We are so proud of this class for taking a stand for their future!


Fourth Grade Missions

The fourth graders recently completed their Missions projects. Each student focused on a specific California mission, and used many skills to create a model and informational brochure.

As the students explored their chosen mission, the class engaged in discussions designed to build understanding of how the missions oppressed Native American communities. Incorporating the perspective of minorities and their treatment throughout history has been a focus of each Social Studies unit in the fourth grade class this year.

To complete their mission projects, each student put their engineering skills to the test by designing, planning, and creating a model of a mission. They expressed their creativity through their choice of materials, including cardboard, sand, legos, and even lasagna noodles.


Dodging Rain Drops

In physical education class, Saklan students are learning how to dodge rain drops! The outside gymnasium gets wet during the winter and spring, and an umbrella and galoshes go a long way toward ensuring that all students can fully participate in outdoor activities. Parents can help by keeping an eye on the weather forecast and sending their student to school prepared with any wet weather outerwear or accessories students may need.

We are lucky to have redwood trees and a creek trail to explore during outdoor P.E. time, and the proper attire allows students to fully take advantage of the wonderful surroundings!

Fourth graders walk along the creek trail and back to Saklan during P.E. class.



During January, Saklan students have been focusing on being hardworking. The eighth grade Family Group leaders created a video to explain what hardworking means and how it can help students reach their goals and overcome challenges.

After hearing suggestions from the eighth graders, each of Saklan’s first through seventh graders wrote down one goal, project or activity they want to work hard to accomplish or improve on. Check out the many areas in which our students are working hard!

#SaklanSocialEmotionalLearning #SaklanFamilyGroups

How Many Steps in a Mile?

The students in kindergarten thru eighth grade have been equipped with pedometers while exercising during P.E. lessons. The devices are simple and only measure “steps,” but are equipped with a reset button. P.E. classes have had fun experimenting with what types of activities generate the most movement or steps. Students have had the opportunity to see how dribbling a ball compares to swinging on the swings, and how walking a mile compares to skipping rope. Some of the third graders came to the conclusion that shaking the sensor generates a higher count than spinning it on a finger.  Overall, it appears that students focus on generating a count with their pedometers, and that feedback adds a little extra motivation to continue to exert effort while participating in physical education exercises.

Lucas in kindergarten asked Mr. Crabtree to take a picture of the pedometer he was using in P.E. and send it to his mom, as he was interested in one for home use as well.  For any other parents that have received requests for pedometers, here are the pedometers the students are using at school:


Absolutely Revolting

This week in California History, the fourth graders finished learning about the Mexican American War. Students analyzed factors that led the U.S. to declare war on Mexico, and focused on the impact to California specifically. The students then learned about the Bear Flag Revolt, in which a small band of rebels overthrew the Mexican government in Sonoma and took California in the name of the United States. The students learned more details about the Bear Flag Revolt as they rehearsed, performed, and recorded a short, humorous play called, “Absolutely Revolting.”

Take a look at the video to see the fourth grade in action!


Life Lessons of 2020 in a Zine

What is a zine? A zine is short for Magazine and is a self-made booklet that tells a story, informs about an issue, and is fun to make! It’s origin dates back to 1776, with Thomas Paine’s self-published pamphlet, Common Sense, which advocated for the thirteen colonies to become independent from Great Britain

In returning from Winter Break online and entering into the new year, 1st-8th graders were asked to reflect on what lessons they learned about themselves and the world in 2020 and what they were excited about striving for in 2021. 2020 forced the world to face reality, good or bad, and with so much to learn from, the children triumphed over all of these obstacles to share what they found most rewarding, difficult, and inspiring. In seeing these zines created, we hope it inspires us all to continue to persevere, fight for justice, and take care of each other and ourselves.  

#SaklanCreative #SaklanThoughtful

California Explorers

In fourth grade, students focus on California history. After learning about many early California explorers, students chose one of their favorites to research in more detail. The fourth graders used books to research, as well as primary and secondary sources found on the Internet. Once students felt like they really “knew” their explorer, they designed and created a poster in which they wrote a “recruitment” advertisement for potential crew members. The posters combined many skills that the fourth graders have been practicing including persuasive writing, technology, art, mapping, public speaking, and design. When their posters were finished, students spoke to the class as if they were townspeople and they themselves were their chosen explorer. As their explorers, students tried to convince people to join their expedition, told them information about “themselves,” and warned them of the real-life dangers that they might encounter on their journey. Check out a few of their presentations below!

The students came away from the presentations laughing and smiling, discussing explorers, and with a greater understanding of the early days of their own state of California!


Behind My Mask Poetry

The fourth grade class shared a poetry presentation at Friday Flag last week in which they presented poems called “Behind My Mask.” In the poems, students expressed some of the relatable thoughts and feelings they had been having “behind their masks” during this challenging time. One student expressed his “awe at the world and what is has become,” while others hoped for world peace and safety for their families. One poet noted that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and another dreamed of teaching his own children how to “be kind” one day. As they shared, the students realized that not only were they experiencing similar emotions, but that the rest of the world was as well. Sharing their poetry both in class and at Flag gave the students an opportunity to connect with each other and the Saklan community, and enabled them to view the world from a more global perspective. 

Click here to watch the fourth graders share their “Behind My Mask” poems.


Accept Yourself and Others As They Are

Yesterday, the 1st – 8th grade students met in their first family group lesson to discuss the importance of being accepting. 

Students introduced themselves, heard a story called The Crayon Box that Talked, and then discussed the story to understand that sometimes getting to know someone or learning how unique they are can help breakdown misconceptions. While everyone of us is unique here at Saklan, it is our similarities and our differences that make us such a special school. From soccer players to cat lovers, artists and passionate young scientists; the more we listen to others, respect our differences, are kind with our words and think of others, the more accepted everyone will feel.

Students then colored their own crayon with a picture of themselves, and listed something they feel makes them special! These self-drawn crayons are to be returned to Saklan, either by the next connect day or the next swap and drop so they can be inlcuded in the Family Group posters that will be put on display in the breezeway. 

***We deeply apologize for any technical issues you suffered that may have caused stress during the Family Group time. Ms. O was not able to get into meeting rooms either as she was trying to help people. Zoom locked her out! 😦 We can only assume others were just as frustrated. If that is the case, please know your student can still draw their crayon and return them to Saklan to be included on the Family Group poster. Their teacher can help them with any instructions they need.