The sixth grade just finished an in-depth unit on ancient Egypt and its rich culture. One of the most fascinating parts of this culture was the fact that Egyptians would mummify their royalty. Preparing for the Afterlife was more important than actually living their life in the here and now. Part of the requirement for the Egypt unit was that each sixth grader completed a research project on a Egyptian pharaoh, city, and god/goddess. Isabel Darby, being so passionate about studying Egyptian history, decided to make up “mummy” kits and led the class through a mock mummification. As you can see from the photos, the class had a wonderful, hands-on experience.
This week, the seventh grade spent the afternoon focusing on our SEL topic wonder and awe that surrounds us in our world. They learnt how people around the world celebrate those things around us. To do this, and to excite the students about this theme, the 7th grade welcomed in spring by having a small festival of colors, a modified Holi festival, more like a color explosion.
Students welcomed in spring, wished away bad spirits and played by getting all colorful! They were quite beautiful!
In our continuing “Democracy in Action” study of race relations in America, our stellar 8th grade class just wrapped up an immersive project about the Abolitionist Movement. I’m proud of their serious–and fun!–approach to this project.
The assignment first involved researching historical power players in the 19th century struggle to end slavery. Students then created class presentations addressing the various methods of activism (e.g., writing books, giving speeches, educating the public, working within the system, tearing down the system, being a conductor on the Underground Railroad, leading armed rebellions, etc.). Significantly, the kids were challenged to try to dig into the psychology and motivation of major historical figures like Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, and Frederick Douglass. The students also had to work hard to make connections in effort to understand how backgrounds and life-changing experiences shape personality and actions. During their presentations and impromptu role play debates, the kids aimed to embody the distinctive characters of our nation’s preeminent freedom fighters. In this way, the kids gained insight into what it truly means to stand up for your beliefs against all odds and make a difference in the world.
Three weeks ago, the 7th grade ventured to Hawaii, after studying for a good month on the organisms that live there, the Polynesian culture, and the Westerners influence; including both the war and farming. The students visited many sites, where they had to show their understanding of the environment or of the Polynesian culture. They also had some amazing experiences as a class. These included trying to make fire at the Polynesian Cultural Center, racing through one of the world’s largest mazes at the Dole Plantation, taking part in a beach cleanup where they helped prevent plastics from making their way out into the ocean, and swimming under a freezing waterfall at Waimea Falls. When we returned, we asked our students why we take them to Hawaii of all places to study culture and adaptation. Here is one of the great responses we got to this question:
The Hawaiian Islands are a great place for us to go to study evolution and history. Its environment makes for a great place to learn about the evolution of organisms that are unique to Hawaii and to see adaptations of many species. One thing that sets creatures in Hawaii apart from others is that many are unique to just the island of Hawaii. There are a lot of rare plants and animal life that have grown and adapted specifically to the tropical environment of Hawaii. For example, many vines have learned that in order to get enough space and sunlight to grow, they must climb up trees for great support and enough room to flourish. In addition, the animal life on the island is vast and can be seen almost everywhere. This allows for us to get an up close and personal look at the majestic creatures that inhabit this island.
From a historical standpoint, Oahu also holds great importance. This is where the Pearl Harbor bombing took place and took the lives of many brave men. This was important for us to learn about because in order for us to prevent tragic events from happening in the future, we must first be educated on the past. Also, it allows us to see an important day in history up close. We also studied the effects of leaking oil in Pearl Harbor. We were taught about how seven liters of oil leaks from the USS Arizona daily and how that effects the environment around it. This causes damage to the surrounding marine life; Ms. O taught us about the interesting and sad effects. For these reasons and more, I feel Oahu was a fantastic place for us to study and learn. – Olivia
By Sophie Eckstein, 8th grade
The Women’s March last Saturday in Washington, DC, was — and is — a major movement for women’s rights. This movement wants women’s voices to be heard and wants their rights to be respected as human rights. More than three million people around the world last Saturday joined this cause to stand up against President Donald Trump and his prejudiced views. I decided to go to this protest because I am a feminist who is hoping that love will trump hate.
The crowds I saw at the march were ginormous. Everyone was swarming around. The fat line of people stretched all of DC, and the masses of pink hats were a cheerful site everywhere. The signs were all creative with sayings like, “Girls just wanna have FUNdamental rights!” Seeing all the signs made me want to high-five everyone because of all the effort they put into them.
It was an amazing experience, being able to know that thousands of people just like me had come to DC with a similar view and were marching with me. The one downside was that I got anxious because of the massive size of the crowd. It was impossible to go to the restroom without waiting for an hour minimum!
Overall, this incredible experience has now brought out my inner activist.
In preparation for the 7th grade Science and Humanities Hawaiian field trip, Miss Parks asked her students to use a vintage Hawaiian postcard from the 1920s and 30s. The students were supposed to use their Hawaiian history knowledge to interpret the design and purpose of the postcard. Some of the topics featured were: Pan American World Airways, Libby’s Pineapple Company, and artist Frank Warren. This assignment helps the students have a deeper understanding of the culture of the Hawaiian islands.
The Saklan Student Council is sponsoring a Holiday Toy Drive to benefit children who live in the Iron Triangle in Richmond, California. These children range in ages of 5-15. We are asking that Saklan families donate unwrapped new toys between the dates of December 5-14, 2016. Please bring these unwrapped toys to your child’s classroom. After school on December 14, the Saklan Student Council will collect all toys from each classroom and wrap them. Gina Baker, a Saklan parent and Board Trustee, will deliver the toys to the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council. Since we do not want to collect too many toys for one age group, we are asking the following:
Owlets and Hoot Owls: Donate new unwrapped toys for children ages 4-5
Kindergarten-Fifth grade: Donate new unwrapped toys for children ages 6-11
Sixth-Eighth Grade: Donate new unwrapped toys for teens ages 12-15
Thank you in advance for being generous and helping to provide a wonderful holiday experience for a few children!
In late October, the 6th grade took off to Yosemite for a week of hands on science, team building, connecting with nature, learning about themselves and becoming more independent. It was one of our best trips ever. Between hiking below Half Dome, climbing through giant sequoias, dancing in the rain and supporting each other when they needed it, I know they won’t forget their Yosemite trip. Here are some of the thoughts from the week away.
In the solo hike, I felt connected to nature when I saw the waterfall and just looked up at it. It was so peaceful because it was so quiet, and I heard no one scream or anything except for the sound of rain and the waterfall. – Devin
One of my favorite moments was probably when we saw that bobcat. It happened with the whole class on the second day or the first. I learned what they look like and that they were fast. I named him Ernie. – Abby
I felt connected to the group and nature in the spider caves. I really had to depend on my classmates, listen and focus to conquer my fears. I also had to be aware of my surroundings. I definitely will remember that moment of the trip. – Ysabel
I felt really connected to nature when my friends and I were hiking around Boystown in the morning. It was so fun hiking over the rocks and having those memories with my friends. – Harrison
One of the motives for going on these types of trips are to be away from our families. It helps us stay on the overnight trips better! – Hudson
I think the spider and bear caves were a HUGE bonding experience. We had to help each other through big challenges. I want us to be able to support each other like that for the rest of the year. – Isabel