Reptiles and More!

The Hoot Owls were so brave and curious when Owen, a guest expert from the East Bay Vivarium, came to Saklan to share his reptiles with them! During the visit, the students learned about snakes, turtles, tortoises, lizards, geckos, skinks, bearded dragons, legless lizards and a huge monitor lizard that Owen insisted was a “puppy” because it was cuddly.

Owen even surprised the class with some animals that were not reptiles, like a frog, a toad, a scorpion and a tarantula! Some Hoot Owls were extra brave and volunteered to hold a few of these animals.

A huge thank you to Owen and the East Bay Vivarium for sharing their animals and knowledge with the Hoot Owls!

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!


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!

Learning About Ramadan!

The Hoot Owls were excited to learn about the holiday Ramadan from guest expert Nora, a Hoot Owl parent! The class learned that Ramadan starts when there is a crescent moon in the sky. They also learned that during Ramadan grown ups fast when it’s light out and people exchange presents. Nora read the students Ramadan (Celebrate the World) by Hannah Eliot. The class also read The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard.

Thank you so much for sharing your traditions with the Hoot Owls, Nora!

The Gas Giants!

If you joined us for CLAS this morning, then you are well aware that the Hoot Owls have been learning about our solar system. This morning they sang a song about the planets, and then shared their favorite planet and why. Mercury, Venus, Earth and Pluto (because it is a dwarf planet!) all made the list.

Leading up to their presentation, the Hoot owls learned about the gas giants of our solar system. They discovered that Jupiter, the fifth planet from the sun, is the largest planet in our solar system with a huge red spot on it. Scientists think that this is a huge storm that has been raging for hundreds of years! The Pre-K kiddos strengthened their fine motor skills by using an eyedropper to add watercolor to shaving cream, and then made prints of it to hang on the wall.

The Hoot Owls also learned that Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, doesn’t look round because it is spinning so fast. They were fascinated to learn that Saturn’s rings are made of ice and dust! 

Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun, is the coldest planet in our solar system. To remember this the students painted Uranus using bluish green ice cubes! Neptune, the eighth planet from the sun, is the windiest. The Hoot Owls painted Neptune with Q-tips so they could swirl and twirl the wind.

Solar System Exploration

Many Hoot Owls have been excited about space all year long, and so they were very excited to begin to learn about our solar system in class. They started with the center of our solar system, the Sun. The Hoot Owls all worked together to create their favorite star, then put it up in their classroom to help learn about the order of the planets moving away from the Sun.

Next the Hoot Owls started to learn about the rocky planets. They used different painting techniques for each planet to highlight their differences. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun so they started there. The students learned that Mercury is full of craters caused by meteorites, and then painted Mercury with sponges to give it a bumpy look. Hoot Owls also practiced writing, “Mercury.”

Next, they learned about Venus, and discovered that it is very hot and has thousands of volcanoes and poisonous gases and storms. Hoot Owls practiced writing “Venus” before drawing volcanoes, storms and gases with oil pastels. The Hoot Owls’ drawings showed through the watercolor paints that they added at the end. They also reviewed the terms solid, liquid and gas.

Earth was next! The Hoot Owls created clouds with shaving cream, and used eyedroppers to add blue and green paint that represented the oceans and the land. They used paper to make prints of the shaving cream. The class talked about the seven continents and located them on the globe. They also read the book Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years  by Stacy McAnulty.

The last of the rocky planets was Mars. The Hoot Owls painted the ice caps on Mars. The students learned that Mars is red due to iron covering its dusty surface. They also learned about Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system. The Hoot Owls used a Q-tip to “draw” or remove the paint to create the volcano.

Up next, the Hoot Owls are excited to learn about the gas planets!

A Spot of Kindness

The Owlets had so much fun celebrating Valentine’s Day together! In the days leading up to the holiday, they read the books A Little Spot of Kindness and A Little Spot of Love, both by Diane Alber, to give them ideas about how to be loving and kind. The students were excited to put “kindness spots” on their hands to help them remember to be kind.

To further embrace being kind to each other, the Owlets now have a “Little Jar of Kindness” in their classroom that they try to fill every day by doing kind deeds!

The Hoot Owls have also been learning about kindness and what it means to be a good friend. They made a long list of things they can do to be kind, and then added “The Kindness Jar” to their classroom. Whenever a teacher sees or hears about a Hoot Owl doing something kind, they write a little note and put it in the jar. When the jar starts to get full they read all the notes together as a class.


Hoot Owl Scientists

The Hoot Owls have been learning about science and what it means to be a scientist. The class has talked about parts of the scientific method including making hypotheses, doing experiments, collecting data and comparing data, as well as using their senses to learn about the world around them.

The Hoot Owls explored the concept of liquid and solid by making and playing with oobleck (water and cornstarch). The students were surprised to see the liquid thicken and solidify when force was applied to it.

Next, the class experimented with vinegar and baking soda. They were excited to see the reaction the vinegar made in the baking soda!

Finally, the Hoot Owls counted how many drops of water would fit on a penny, nickel and quarter.

#SaklanHandsOn #SaklanScience

Emotion Detectives

The Hoot Owls have been doing some social emotional activities inspired by the book A Little Spot of Feelings by Diane Alber. The book uses child-friendly language to talk about feelings and emotions, which it calls “feeling spots.”

The Hoot Owls have been working to become emotion detectives, practicing naming emotions and spotting their own emotions by paying attention to facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. The class first learned about their calm spot, and how to change from a difficult emotion, like sadness, anger or anxiety, back to their calm spot. They also discussed happiness, love and confidence. 

Next, the Hoot Owls painted some of the feeling spots: sadness, anger, happiness, confidence, peaceful, and loved. The students drew faces on the feeling spots and some of them wrote the names of each spot.

The Hoot Owls also turned the feeling spots into stick puppets. They then practiced role playing with the stick puppets in class.

With Maggie, the Hoot Owls read A Little Scribble Spot, also by Diane Alber. They used wiki sticks to create their own scribble spots, symbolizing when one is mixed up and doesn’t know how they feel. The Hoot Owls will continue to work on identifying their emotions as well as their friends’ emotions by being emotion detectives and looking for clues (like facial expressions, body language and tone of voice) for the rest of the year.


Growing Foods & Treats/Snacks

The Hoot Owls have been learning about health and nutrition! With Maggie, they practiced listing and sorting food into two main categories: growing foods and treats/snacks. They have also been working on identifying foods from different food groups, including: fruits, veggies, dairy, protein and grains.

The class read the book Veggies Don’t Scare Me at All! by Julana Massey to introduce different vegetables and how eating them can help bodies and brains grow. They also played a fun grocery shopping game where each Hoot Owl received a shopping list and shopping cart. The Hoot Owls reinforced their fine motor and early literacy skills by finding everything on their shopping list and placing it in their cart!

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