How Can We Help our Apple Tree Thrive?

Before the Thanksgiving Break, the kindergarten class concluded their study about apples and apple trees. After learning about apples, their life cycle, the parts of an apple, taking observations of apple trees at Moraga Gardens and the tree on the ECE playground, and interviewing experts, the students answered their essential question: “How can we help our apple tree thrive?”

Kindergartners learned that they needed to move the wood chips away from the base of the apple tree, so they created kindness rocks and arranged them around the tree to keep the wood chips away.

The class also learned that local wildlife was continually eating the apple tree’s buds, so they put a decoy owl by the tree to try to keep squirrels away!

Since the apple tree is on the playground that the kindergartners share with the Preschool and Pre-K students, the kindergarteners thought it was really important to talk with them about how to keep the apple tree thriving. The kindergartners did an amazing job of sharing their project-based learning with the PS and PK students.


Festival of Lights

This week, many Saklan students learned about Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs around the world, including some of our students! Diwali is the festival of lights and lasts for 5 days in October or November. The students read books to get a better understanding of the festival, and then participated in some celebratory activities.

The Owlets and Hoot Owls learned about an art form called Rangoli, a geometric design on the floor (or other flat surface) made using colored rice, sand, dry flour, or flower petals. The owls watched a video of someone creating a Rangoli, and then made their own.

The Kindergarteners and first graders made lanterns that they were able to take home. They decorated their lanterns using stickers and markers, and were excited to spread light!

A big thank you to the parents who came in to share their family Diwali traditions with our students!

#SaklanDiversity #SaklanCommunity


Last Friday morning there was much excitement on campus as we kicked off our learning buddy program for the year! Learning buddies are a purposeful way to encourage cross-grade friendships, help students develop a sense of responsibility and practice mentorship, and make learning fun!

During the first meeting, the buddies took time to get to know each other and did some reading together.

The older buddies marvelously modeled good reading behaviors by reading with expression and fluency for their younger buddies. Some of the older buddies were also honored to listen to their younger buddies read too.

The younger buddies thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their learning buddies, and are already asking when they get to meet with their buddies again!

#SaklanBuddies #SaklanCommunity

Magical Yets

To encourage a growth mindset throughout the year, the Kindergarten class has been reading The Magical Yet, written by Angela DiTerlizzi. This is an encouraging and uplifting story that reminds us that we all have things we haven’t learned or can’t quite do… yet! It teaches about perseverance and the importance of trying, and about what is yet to come.

Each kindergartner was asked to imagine their Yet. They then sketched and colored their Yet. Next, students used clay to bring their Yet to life. They used paint, and then added feathers, googly eyes and glitter glue to further define their Yets.

All of the Yets are now on display on the windowsill in the classroom. They serve as a reminder to keep trying and you’ll reach your goal because that’s the Power of Yet!

#SaklanCourage #SaklanSEL

Moving Up Day

This morning, all Saklan Preschool – fifth grade students participated in Moving Up Day. The students and teachers alike were buzzing with excitement!

This annual tradition allowed 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, classroom scavenger hunts, and enthusiasm filled the classrooms! If your child “moved up” today, please ask them all about it. They will likely have something enthusiastic to share!


Fun Forces

The Kindergarteners have been studying force and motion. The class began their unit learning about force and motion on the playground. They learned about pushes and pulls, and then had fun pushing and pulling each other on the swings. Next, the class discussed the force of gravity. The students were divided into groups of four and given a large piece of cardboard, a selection of toy vehicles, and told to have fun. That they did!

The noise level went up as students built ramps of various heights, trying out different inclines. During a class discussion afterwards, the consensus amongst the students was that: gravity made the cars go down the ramp, but the incline helped to make the cars go faster, but too much of an incline made the cars fall off the ramp.

The Kindergarteners next learned about different types of force. After a discussion about the power of wind and watching a video about hurricanes, the class had fun using a straw to blow a feather. Eventually, they challenged themselves to blow a feather stuck all the way into the straw. There were many red faces and bulging eyes, but the mission was accomplished!

Another force learned about was magnets. Using large magnets the children walked around the classroom finding objects their magnet was attracted to. They were challenged to move a paperclip without it touching the magnet. It was magic!

Finally, there was the discovery of the force of water. The class watched a video of water going over Niagara Falls. Then they screamed with delight as Mrs. C moved foam pieces down a ramp using water from a hose. The screams may have been more from the surprise of getting wet, but it was still a lot of fun!


Frog Pond Subtraction

What does a song about frogs and a ruler have to do with subtraction? The Kindergarten students recently enjoyed hearing a song and watching a video about frogs jumping one by one, into a pond. Then using a paper cut out, the class acted out the song. Next, the children worked with a partner. One child set up markers and told their partner how many to take away. The other child knocked over that many markers to get the answer. The Kindergarteners used a ruler to knock over the markers. Using a ruler, which looks like a minus sign, helped give the students a concrete experience of subtracting. Finally, the cut out was used to solve equations. The Kindergartners practiced using different paper cut outs to help them gain experience with subtraction.

If you walked by the Kindergarten room recently and it sounded like the students were being loud and having fun, it was probably math time!


Service to the Community

Cesar Chavez Day is a commemorative holiday celebrated yearly on March 31st in the U.S. The aim of this holiday is to celebrate the birth and the enduring legacy of the labor and civil rights’ movement that activist Cesar Chavez started while fighting for farm workers’ rights in the 1950s. Chavez gave people a sense of their own power by helping them discover that they could demand dignity and better wages. On March 31st each year, this day is commemorated to promote service to the community in honor of Cesar Chavez’s life, work, and legacy.

At The Saklan School, the kindergarten through seventh grade students supported and provided a service for The Contra Costa Humane Society by making much needed items for dogs and cats in their care, as well as learning about Cesar Chavez’s life and important legacy. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grade were tasked with making catnip sachets. The third and fourth graders made kitty pom poms for cats to play with while in their cages. The fifth grade class made several dog beds and pull toys. And finally, the sixth and seventh grade group made braided pull toys for dogs. The goal of the community service project was to show compassion and make the animals’ lives more comfortable and happy while they wait for their forever homes.

#SaklanCompassion #SaklanServiceLearning

Leprechauns on Campus

On Thursday, March 17th, many of our students noticed signs of mischievous leprechauns having visited campus overnight. Yarn wrapped around toys, messages left on classroom white boards and gold coins in classrooms were some of the clues the leprechauns left!

Knowing they might be coming, the Kindergarteners built a trap for the leprechauns. While there were no leprechauns in the trap in the morning, the trap definitely looked different on Thursday morning than when the students had built it on Wednesday!

Owlets, Hoot Owls, and Kindergarteners set out on a scavenger hunt on their play yard, looking for signs of leprechauns there too! Students searched for:

  • Pots of Gold
  • Four Leaf Clovers
  • Rainbows
  • Gold Coins
  • Green Top Hats
  • Images of Leprechauns

The students were very successful in finding items left behind by the leprechauns!

100 Days Smarter

Saklan celebrated the 100th day of the 2021-2022 school year on Thursday, February 10th. To mark the occasion, the Hoot Owls made “100” crowns, participated in several counting activities and had a celebratory lunch.

The Kindergartners celebrated the 100th day of school by rotating through a series of activities focusing on the number 100. Students had the opportunity to build with 100 cups, match numbers 1 – 100 on the bottom of kisses to a hundreds chart, hear the story 100th Day Worries by Margery Cuyler, draw themselves when they are 100 years old, and make a necklace with 100 loops on it.

To get the 100th day started, the first graders each created a poster that contained 100 of something of their choosing. The posters were very unique and creative!

During the school day, the first graders commemorated the day by answering writing prompts such as, “What would you do with 100 dollars?” and “What would you do if you were 100 years old?” They practiced counting to 100 by 10s, drew 100 decorations on cupcake drawings, made necklaces using 100 circular cereal pieces and yarn and read The 100th Day of School by Angela Shelf Medearis.

The students had a wonderful day celebrating the 100th day of school and noting that they are now 100 days smarter.

#SaklanAcademic #100daysSmarter

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