Fall is Here!


As part of their fall theme, Hoot Owls began to study leaves. First, Hoot Owls examined real leaves under their class magnifying glasses. Miss Jessica pointed out the leaf’s veins and explained their purpose. Hoot Owls love using magnifying glasses.

Next, the Hoot Owls did leaf rubbings using the flat side of a crayon. It was magical to watch the leaf shape emerge through the paper.

Lastly, the Hoot Owls made leaf prints. Step one: choose a real leaf. Step two: paint the leaf with fall colors. Step three: firmly press a piece of paper over the leaf. Step four: pull off the paper to reveal a beautiful leaf print!


All About Me


As part of their All About Me Theme, Hoot Owls have been learning about different kinds of families. Based on the book, The House That Jill Built by Phyllis Root, the students built their own homes both real and imagined. They were encouraged to draw their family members inside. Many Hoot Owls also constructed a narrative about their families while working on this activity. 

In addition to learning about different kinds of families, Hoot Owls also learned that skin comes in lots of different beautiful colors. They read The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and The Colors Of Us by Karen Katz. Just like in the book, The Colors Of Us, the students mixed red, brown, yellow and white to make their own unique skin colors. Later, they used mirrors to study their facial features. The Hoot Owls paid special attention to their eyes, nose, mouth, ears and hair to create their first self-portraits of the year!


Hoot Owl Agreements


What a fun first few weeks of school! The Hoot Owls are settling in, making new friends and really enjoying being “big kids.” They all worked together to come up with their Hoot Owl agreements. Miss Traci asked the children during group time, “What can we do to stay safe and happy at school?” Almost all of the agreements were their own ideas. Miss Traci and Miss Jessica added a few, but made sure everyone agreed by giving a thumbs up.

Later the Hoot Owls signed their agreements with colorful hand prints. Children have already started to remind their classmates about “our agreements.” Social development is such an important part of the Hoot Owl year. Agreements are a great way to set expectations in a thoughtful and collaborative way.

All About Me

This month’s theme is All About Me and Feelings. They have been reading books about their feelings which has led to a lot of dialogue about how the Hoot Owls feel and when and why they have those feelings. They have begun to play a matching game that involves recognizing a feeling on a cartoon face and then telling a story about a time when they have also felt this way. On Mondays, they practice mindful meditation during group time. They take time to breathe, calm their bodies and do some yoga! At the end of mindful Monday group time, they read a story that is similar to a guided meditation. The stories are designed to encourage calm, confidence and creativity!


Hoot Owls at MOCHA

The Hoot Owls visited the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland. The field experience began with artist, Mr. Z. reading the Hoot Owls Todd Parr’s book It’s Okay to be Different. The Hoot Owls are familiar with this book so they helped Mr. Z out with the words inspiring lots of laughs.

Next, the Hoot Owls were able to visit four different tables set up with art projects that complemented the book. They worked on mixing colors to paint a rainbow zebra. They created silly faces and masks. They also experimented with pastels and watercolor. One of the tables they were most excited about was the clay table!

They tried out many different tools and techniques while working with the clay. The Hoot Owls also were able to explore the museum and experience art made by different children in the community. Many students loved the experience so much they have asked their parents if they can visit the museum again to participate in the museum’s drop-in art classes and other fun community events!


Spinners are Fun!

The Hoot Owls had a very special visit from a real scientist, Sarah Shaffer of Sarah’s Science who is Carson’s grandmother! Carson picked out a super fun “experiment” for his grandmother to share with the class.

The Hoot Owls wired their own battery powered spinners! They connected all the wires by themselves and had a blast turning the spinners on and off. They watched as two colors blurred together to create a new color while the device was turned on. Carson also showed us how to make art by drawing on blank paper while it was spinning.  Thanks, Carson for sharing your super smart grandmother with us!


Hoot Owls Explore Crab Cove

The Hoot Owls visited Crab Cove in Alameda last week! Even though the tides were too high for tide pooling, there was still a ton to learn and see. First the naturalist, Suzy, showed the Hoot Owls an aerial map of the Bay Area pointing out Moraga. She talked about how fresh water mixes with salt water in the Bay. Next, they headed inside to view a life-sized diorama of the Bay above and below the water. They learned about many different sea creatures and sea birds. This was a nice time when the Hoot Owls could share many things they already knew about sea creatures with each other and the naturalist. Some friends even got to try on crab costumes!

The Hoot Owls learned how to tell the difference between a female and male crab. Next, they headed to the beach for some hands-on exploration. The naturalist pointed out many different types of seaweed including something called mermaid’s hair. The Hoot Owls also discovered some tiny sea snails called bubble snails. The highlight of the walk on the beach was finding a real crab shell! The children also helped clean up the beach by collecting any trash they came across. Last but not least, the Hoot Owls observed some exciting living sea creatures in the visitor center. Some favorites were the large crabs and small shark! The Hoot Owls loved exploring, getting dirty and helping the Earth!


Let’s Make Origami!


The Hoot Owls had a blast with their new Japanese friends. The Hoot Owls were surprisingly outgoing and comfortable when it came to introducing themselves and working one on one with the Japanese students!

Hoot Owls picked out a number of different origami designs to make with their new friends. They especially liked the jumping frogs, ninja stars and flowers. Hoot Owls helped with complicated folds and followed multi-step directions. The Hoot Owl room has never been so quiet with concentration. The Hoot Owls are especially into making paper airplanes so they were able to share their own paper folding skills with our visitors.


Inside the Egg

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Hoot Owls learned about the 21 day embryonic development of a chicken. The children took turns opening pretend eggs that show pictures of the changes occurring inside an egg. Hoot Owls shared the picture inside the egg with classmates during circle-time. Together they talked about what specific changes they noticed from egg to egg. The whole class cheered when they opened egg number 21 and a small toy chick popped out!

They explored the eggs a little more closely by choosing four very different stages of egg development to study and draw. Hoot Owls decided that the beginning cluster of cells should be called, “The Little Nothing Stage.” They appropriately named the second transformation, “The Little Blah-Blah Stage.” #SaklanHandsOn

Hoot Owls Grow Crystals


The Hoot Owls tried out a science experiment where they grew crystals on pipe cleaners with laundry detergent. They measured the detergent, just like “real scientists,” into plastic mason jars. Then, they twisted and bent pipe cleaners into interesting shapes that they taped to the inside of the lids. They watched as a grown up carefully added hot water to detergent and mixed it together. The Hoot Owls began creating hypotheses right away when the solution in one of the jars turned pink! They continued to hypothesize as the days went by.


They observed some pipe cleaners grew small crystals while others grew little to none. All the pipe cleaners were supposed to grow crystals…. so they might try this experiment again following a different recipe. Another teachable moment: Sometimes experiments go according to plan and sometimes they don’t, but scientists have to try and try again! #SaklanHandsOn

Gung Hay Fat Choi!

The Hoot Owls learned about Lunar New Year. Happy year of the pig!


Cameron’s mom, Sandy, visited the Hoot Owls and shared with them traditional ways to celebrate Chinese New Year. Cameron passed out red envelopes filled with lucky coins for all the Hoot Owls. Sandy told the Hoot Owls that if they placed the envelope under their pillow and made a wish, it would almost certainly come true! The students also made pretend firecrackers with red paper. They learned that the color red scares off bad spirits and brings good luck. The Hoot Owls were also lucky enough to sample some traditional Chinese New Year treats made with crispy rice and pineapple.

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Thank you so much, Cameron and Sandy, for sharing your family’s traditions with us! #Saklanwellrounded