Reptile Inspired Art

For the month of December, the Hoot Owls studied reptiles and had a lot of fun researching them. A guest expert from East Bay Vivarium came to Saklan yesterday and the children had a chance to see, touch and hold the animals.


Patterning is an important early math skill that is practiced often in the Pre-Kindergarten room. Hoot Owls worked on pattern making by exploring patterns seen in nature. The children compared the patterns of the venomous coral snake and the harmless king snake. Hoot Owls chose to copy the pattern of either snake while also working on their fine motor skills.


Process art focuses on the student’s experience while creating art, not on the end product. Process art allows children to make their own choices, ask questions and experiment. Students have the opportunity to make mistakes, explore materials and gain confidence while using their imagination and their senses. Hoot Owls thought about snakes and how snakes move while painting with thick pieces of yarn!

Hoot Owls strengthened their fine motor skills and sculpting skills while working with air dry clay. They used the information they learned about reptiles to freely create a reptile of their choosing. Careful! They might bite!


Traveling Teddy Bear Coming To Saklan

Traveling Teddy BearArriving this week, you will notice a Teddy Bear on campus! This Teddy Bear is named Matteo and is an international traveler. Matteo is part of the Traveling Teddy Bear Project that connects students around the globe! He will be stopping in some of our classrooms and doing activities with our students.

The Traveling Teddy Bears Project was started in 2014 with the goal of connecting young children in classrooms across the globe. This year each of our bears is supporting one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to help spread awareness in schools around the globe! You can learn more about these goals here:

Matteo is the oldest teddy bear to be a part of the Traveling Teddy group. He was born in New Jersey in 2005.  He loves traveling, learning about cultures, making friends, learning languages, dancing, and reading. He is ready to travel, learn, make friends, and read to many children around the world. Matteo is also very sporty and enjoys  yoga, swimming, baseball, running, and working out.unnamed

Matteo supports Global Goal #4: Quality Education. He believes that everyone deserves to go to school and have opportunities to read, write, and learn!

Matteo is currently in China from there he will be coming to Saklan, then to Ireland, and Canada.


Learning With Pumpkins


Hoot Owls practiced some of the steps from the scientific method this month. First, they created a hypothesis when Miss Traci asked the Hoot Owls, “How many seeds are inside the pumpkin?” guesses ranged from zero to trillions!


The children collected data by counting the seeds into piles of ten. During circle-time, they counted all the seeds by 10’s together. They found that there were 493 seeds inside the pumpkin. Hoot Owls also practiced the concept of more or less when the teacher asked them if their guess was more or less than 493.

Hoot Owls learned about perspective with their first still life project of the year. They were asked to draw only what they could see while working on life-like drawings of three pumpkins. Miss Jessica helped the Hoot Owls pay close attention to small details and differences between the pumpkins. She asked that the Hoot Owls didn’t move the pumpkins because it would change the perspective of their art and their friend’s art. To help the Hoot Owls understand the concept of perspective a little more they read They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel. In this story a cat walks through the world, but the illustrations of the cat look very different depending on which animal is looking at the cat!


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.