Flower Dissection

On Tuesday, 7th graders had a virtual Science Lab with Miss O. The students did a flower dissection using a Stargazer Lily. They identified the different parts of the flower, learned their function, and how each part contributes to its reproduction. Check out the video above to learn more.


Hawaii Final

The 7th graders recently wrapped up their Hawaii field study with an interdisciplinary final involving five brief essays and a poster project covering a range of academic topics in Science, Humanities, and Language Arts. The writing components addressed issues related to the environmental effects of human activity on the islands, adaptations and evolutionary changes of the flora and fauna, and the impact of key historical events, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian people and their culture.

Created by Phoebe K.

Students also wrote about the social-emotional challenges they faced on the trip as they tried to come together as a group and build stronger relationships. All of these essays were rigorously revised, using the step-by-step revision process the kids have been practicing in Language Arts. Finally, the 7th graders designed posters to educate the public about significant issues that affect the evolution of species, the environment, the ocean, or the islands themselves.

Created by Reese K.


Technology In Today’s Spanish Classroom

Learning Spanish in a vibrant and interactive learning community is meaningful. Mrs. Padilla is always looking for ways to reach more students by integrating technology into the classroom. These resources offer students a wide range of useful, creative, and motivating tools to make language real and teach students the grammar needed to accomplish the communicative objective.

In the blue and yellow block, Spanish students created a video to practice the present tense of -AR verbs. This practice lets students manipulate grammatical structure in small and manageable chunks. It is very true that incorporating tasks like doing a video to develop creativity tends to be more interesting and fun for students. Also, making a video helps to make connections to see and use information in new and different ways.  This technique supports students to learn and recall information more effectively as they take risks and are more positive working cooperatively with others. Take a look at some of their work.


White Light, Black Rain

2019 nuclear warhead inventories

After their Hawaiian field experience in February, the 7th graders came back in awe of the beauty of Oahu and learned about the sadness of the trials and tribulations of the Polynesian people and those affected by the Pearl Harbor attack. But, history did not stop after Pearl Harbor. Instead, it launched America into a World War with one of its enemies at the time, Japan.

In Humanities class, they watched an important documentary film called White Light, Black Rain. The film documented the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the United States dropped the first two atomic bombs on these unsuspecting Japanese cities. Fortunately, by August 10, 1945 Japan surrendered, which helped to end World War II. Unfortunately, this launched the world into the nuclear weapons age.

In Humanities class, students will be researching the pros and cons on keeping an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Then, the class will prepare and take part in a live debate to understand the importance of research and preparation of a well-crafted argument, how to present in a dynamic way, how to listen and offer a rebuttal during the debate, and to learn the complexity of the nuclear arms issue in current time.


Professional Cyclocross Is Unequal And What To Do About It


Last year, while in 5th grade, Mac Tomkins was asked to work on a “Passion Project” in class. He chose to focus on gender inequality in cyclocross for the project. With input from several professional racers, he set out to identify potential problem areas and proposed options for addressing them.

In the spring of 2019, when I was in fifth grade, my teacher announced that we were doing a project about a passion of ours that has something we want to change. The first thing that came to my mind was cyclocross. I have been racing cyclocross ever since I was on a balance bike and have always loved it. The aspect of cyclocross that I want to change is gender inequality. You can make as many excuses as you want, but men have always been treated differently than women in this sport.

For my project, I focused on how professional cyclocross is unequal and what to do about it. I did research and contacted several people who are involved in cyclocross. Helen Wyman, Ellen Noble, Tim Johnson, Caroline Nolan, and Mary Maroon shared some facts and their ideas with me. I really appreciate their help and support; I couldn’t have done it without them.   

I started my report by explaining to my classmates what cyclocross is. And then I focused on the ways female professional cyclocross racers are not treated equally. Read more

#SaklanFor Equality

Learning Spanish Vocabulary Using Peardeck


Studying a foreign language can improve your ability to analyze and interpret information and help you succeed in many other subject areas. We start with the basics such as vocabulary, grammar and culture. As with many things you want to learn, starting out can feel slow and unrewarding. When I started teaching Spanish as a foreign language, vocabulary lists and flash cards were almost universal practices among language-learners; however, here at Saklan students are totally engaged in learning their vocabulary using interactive tools like Pear Deck-Flashcard Factory.


Peardeck is designed to transform the way students interact with vocabulary. When you play Flashcard Factory students pair up and work together to create dynamic and engaging flashcards. Students collaborate to illustrate and define terms, making learning vocab an active and social experience. Research tells us that the more social an activity, the faster learning takes place. I am always looking for better ways to have students interact with themselves and each other to enjoy learning the Spanish vocabulary. Using Peardeck technology takes language learning to the next level. I am very excited to be able to provide a way to enhance the learning experience and make it their own.


Aloha Hawaii!

About ten years ago, Miss Obenchain and Miss Parks created a seventh-grade field experience that would bring together both their subject areas: Humanities and Science. What better place to study adaptations of plants, animals, and people than on the island of Oahu! This trip allows our students to explore how many plants and animals have adapted to live on an island that was formed about five million years ago, which consisted of hardened lava. But over time, Polynesian settlers traveled there and brought life-sustaining plants and animals to the eight Hawaiian Islands. As transportation improved and man’s curiosity peaked, several groups of English and American settlers arrived to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, bountiful resources, and generous Native Hawaiians. Unfortunately, these settlers had a devastating effect on the land and people. After 1,000 years of relative peace among the Native Hawaiians, the Caucasian settlers brought smallpox, measles, and other contagious diseases. Additionally, these settlers saw the economic potential in the islands and bought land, created businesses, took over the government, commandeered Pearl Harbor for U.S. military use, spread Christianity, encouraged speaking English only, and many other monumental cultural changes. Because of these changes, there is a projection that there will be no Native Hawaiians left by the year 2040. This means that most Hawaiians are mixed with other races. Hawaii has truly become a cultural melting pot whether it wanted to be or not.

Another important topic that the seventh graders studied in preparation of their trip is the United States and Japan’s role in World War II. They looked at how Japan was changing in the 1930s and 1940s, and how these economic and government goals led them to take other countries’ resources. Then, they examined the attack on Pearl Harbor which happened on Dec. 7, 1941. The students looked at the reasons why Japan attacked the United States, the day’s events, and its aftermath. After their Hawaii trip this week, the seventh graders will be researching and learning about the atomic bomb dropping by the United States on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They will examine the events, as well as the short- and long-term consequences of these two choices. Although the seventh graders has spent this week on an island paradise, we want our Saklan students to understand, respect, and have compassion for the Hawaiian people and their environment.


Join Team Saklan Suns For Clean Air

fight for air climb

The Saklan School is participating in the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb on Saturday, March 7th. We are calling all parent and student climbers to join Team Saklan Suns for Clean Air led by Team Captain Ryan Lo (6th grade). If you are interested, please sign up here. Our goal is to have at least 12 climbers to show our strong support for cleaner air and healthier environment.

Here is one student’s take on why he is climbing: “I’m climbing because I don’t think there are enough young people making a difference and showing that they care about air pollution. I want to help raise money for programs and research that will help lessen pollutants including vaping pollutants, chemical pollutants, and industrial pollutants.”Ryan Lo

Please consider joining Team Saklan Suns for Clean Air on Saturday, March 7th in San Francisco to show your support for a cleaner environment!  Thank you.


Free Writing

The seventh graders recently shifted their Language Arts focus from expository writing to “free writing.” For the purpose of the class, free writing simply means to write without stopping for an extended period of time (approx. 20 minutes). That said, this is not just a write whatevahhh exercise. While that kind of activity does have its merits, the students are currently being challenged to dig into all the possible meanings of a provocative or inspirational quote, such as “Truth is the first casualty of war,” or “Gratitude can make you happier.” And while they should write thoughtfully, even introspectively, they also are supposed to try to write without “thinking” (i.e., knowing in advance, self-judging, second-guessing, erasing, revising, rereading, etc.).


They are learning to FLOW from one word, phrase, or sentence, one idea, image, or story to the next. Questions beget more questions. Untethered creativity is encouraged. Tangents are also acceptable, as long as you stay in the realm of the initial prompt. The upshot? Fearlessness, confidence, invaluable brainstorm/first draft technique, and the potential for powerful revelatory moments when unexpected writing and ideas never imagined in your wildest Language Arts fantasies come to life on the page. Tuh-ruth!


Age Of Sail

Last week, the 5th and 6th grade stepped back into the past. The year is 1906; there has been a devastating earthquake and fire, and San Francisco lies in smoldering ruins. Much of the population is sheltered in tent cities, and doubts are being expressed about the city’s survival. Balclutha’s regular crew has jumped ship, either to escape the smoldering city, or to fight fires and help in the rescue operations. The Captain, looking to make a quick profit, needs a crew to sail to Oregon for lumber that will be in high demand. The students, or “lads,” arrived at Hyde Street Pier to sign aboard as the replacement crew.

Our Captain would not sail with inexperienced green-hands, though. The lads had to prove to the Captain, through the completion of tasks, that they were capable of sailing the ship. Activities, such as reeving a block and tackle, rigging a Bosun’s chair, rowing a longboat, preparing meals, and raising sails were vital to the safe and efficient running of the ship. Under the watchful eye of the Captain, officers worked with the “lads” to transform them from green-hands into tarry-handed “salts.” This taught them teamwork, grit and empathy for the past. Us tall sailors were truly proud of their hard work!

“One task we did well working as a team was raising and lowering the small boat. We did this by communicating clearly and giving our mate, Carlito, help when he needed it.” – Mia

“When I was positive my crew was positive, and when I wanted to do things, they wanted to do things. I saw my actions affect others positively in my crew.” – Gabe

“I felt like I was part of a team when we worked together to hoist a sail. Another time this happened was when I was giving orders and my team listened and we all did the work.” – Dillon

“This trip helped me see the importance of doing things right the first time. If not we got disciplined.” – Sadie M.

“I think Saklan asks us to do experiences like this trip so we grow and challenge ourselves in different ways.” – Milla