Name Graphing

Eighth graders in Mr. Zippin’s Geometry Class recently used DESMOS online graphing software to graph their names. The project was part of a unit about relations and functions and was used to illustrate how changes in variables result in transformations of functions. The students practiced using the equations of lines, curves, and circles as well as domain and range to write the letters in their names. Check out two of the name graphs below.


Tectonic Plates and Earthquakes

The sixth graders have been learning about tectonic plates, their movement and the immense power the plates have when they move; causing earthquakes and tsunamis. In doing so, each student researched a historic earthquake and examined the influence the occurrence had on different areas of the world. The students then produced news reports to showcase the facts they learned about the earthquake they studied. Their research, acting and directing skills are quite amazing. Below are a few of the news reports for you to check out!

Report of the Great Kanto Earthquake
Report of the Great Peruvian Earthquake


Student Council 2020-2021

Covid-19 has changed our world in many significant ways since March, including impacting our learning environment on every level imaginable. However, a wonderful change to Student Council has come about and we hope it will revive our community and provide meaning and leadership experience for others.

Saklan has traditionally had students interested in joining the Student Council fill out letters of intent, make campaign posters and stickers, take part in an interview, write and perform a speech, and go through a popular election to earn a place as an officer. Typically, this is a worthy process to go through and teaches life skills to our students. However, experience working with adolescent elected officers has taught us some valuable lessons. One of which is that getting elected is important and meaningful; but it doesn’t mean a student will show up every week to meetings and support fellow officers during the planning, setting, and cleaning up events. It is the weekly commitment and follow through that is an essential part of being a successful and dependable Student Council officer. This important part of the job has been magnified in a virtual learning environment. Officers have to respond and communicate primarily through email, show up to regularly scheduled Zoom meetings, and complete individual tasks on time without teachers reminding them in person. Taking all of this into consideration, Saklan decided to include all candidates who showed up and made an effort during the campaigning process on this year’s Student Council.

These students have lots of previous experience in leadership roles and have proven themselves committed young people that care about their school community. As a collective, the students discussed and decided who should take which positions and are proud of the result. It was a collaborative effort that already has this Student Council working well together. They are excited for a unique, but important, school year. The Student Council is committed to making the Saklan community shine bright not only in person as it usual does, but online as well. Thank you for your support!

Meet the 2020-2021 Student Council Officers

  • Presidents: Evy Anders, Makenna Choi & Levi Kim (8th grade)
  • Treasurer: Lindsay Chan (7th grade)
  • Secretary: Sadie Zippin (6th grade)
  • Co-Activities Chairs: Ellie Moulton-Barrett (7th grade) & Ani Tompkins (6th grade)
  • Co-Publicity Chairs: Danny DiFranco (6th grade) & Ryan Lo (7th grade)
  • Communications Coordinator: Jordan Darby (8th grade)
  • Communications & Technology Director: Noah Mack (8th grade)
  • Faculty Advisors: Kim Parks (MS) & Lisa Rokas (LS)
  • Parent Advisor: Ana Dunnigan (Mikey’s mom-2nd grader)


6th Graders Explore Early Human Evolution

Word Art By Katerina, Ani & Soni

Saklan’s sixth graders have been studying early humans and their evolution process in Humanities class. The students have learned about many different hominins (formerly known as hominids), which are modern man’s most closely related relative. This field of study is constantly being updated because archaeologists and anthropologists are discovering new hominin remains all over the world. Some of the most interesting early humans the students studied were: Homo Habilis (Handy Man), Homo Erectus (Upright Man), Home Floresiensis (nicknamed Hobbit Man), Homo Sapien Neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man), and Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Doubly Wise Man or Modern Man).

Each student learned about several hominins and chose a project to do in order to deepen their knowledge in this topic. Sixth graders were given a choice board and were able to choose from a variety of projects. Katerina, Soni, and Ani chose to make an animated, illustrated timeline. Chase, Katerina, Alex, and Damon made comic strips about early humans online, or in Chase’s case, beautifully hand drawn. Juliet, Sadie, Noah, and Loralyn made A-B-C books, which meant they worked together to find 26 words that described all the things and topics they learned related to early humans, wrote definitions and information about them, and then added an image to each page. Finally, last but not least, Alex and Danny wrote original scripts and filmed a video about interviewing an early human ancestor. The videos are really creative and funny. If you are interested in seeing their beautiful work, it will be featured on a bulletin board in the Humanities classroom next week! 


DNA Extraction

The seventh grade currently has been learning about cell processes. Before jumping into cell division, the students learned the importance of DNA. From discovering the double helix design, the matching base pairs to understanding how DNA gives us all the information we need to build eyeballs, hair, and every organ in our body. 

Students extracted DNA from strawberries in their Saklan Connect day and saw some clumped up strands. Realizing our food has DNA was quite interesting as well to our students. We will next be moving on to mitosis, meiosis and heredity. Understanding how our DNA recombines to give us our traits will lead us through all of these topics.


Accept Yourself and Others As They Are

Yesterday, the 1st – 8th grade students met in their first family group lesson to discuss the importance of being accepting. 

Students introduced themselves, heard a story called The Crayon Box that Talked, and then discussed the story to understand that sometimes getting to know someone or learning how unique they are can help breakdown misconceptions. While everyone of us is unique here at Saklan, it is our similarities and our differences that make us such a special school. From soccer players to cat lovers, artists and passionate young scientists; the more we listen to others, respect our differences, are kind with our words and think of others, the more accepted everyone will feel.

Students then colored their own crayon with a picture of themselves, and listed something they feel makes them special! These self-drawn crayons are to be returned to Saklan, either by the next connect day or the next swap and drop so they can be inlcuded in the Family Group posters that will be put on display in the breezeway. 

***We deeply apologize for any technical issues you suffered that may have caused stress during the Family Group time. Ms. O was not able to get into meeting rooms either as she was trying to help people. Zoom locked her out! 😦 We can only assume others were just as frustrated. If that is the case, please know your student can still draw their crayon and return them to Saklan to be included on the Family Group poster. Their teacher can help them with any instructions they need.


8th Grade Chemistry

8th grade is in the middle of their chemistry unit. They have been learning about state changes of matter. By adding and taking away heat, matter can change from a solid, liquid, to a gas. But sometimes, we can actually heat up a solid so fast, it changes to a gas immediately, skipping the liquid state. It’s hard to imagine a liquid oxygen molecule or a solid gas since we are used to living at a comfortable climate, so to understand this, students investigated dry ice or frozen carbon dioxide. At a cool -109 degrees F (approximately) and the outdoor temperature of approximately 80 degrees F, this drastic temperature change creates a sublimation state change for the dry ice; it changes straight from a solid to a gaseous form.  

Students began to understand how the quick change creates a dense gas or fog coming off the dry ice. This dense air sank and created a bubble of air the students could use to float the block on top of the tables. They pushed pennies into the block to see how matter responds at that temperature and how solid gases react to warmer solids colliding into them. By adding water to the block, they saw the water bubble (boil) with white gas filled bubbles and then freeze the water they had once put over the dry ice.

They then related their understanding of what was happening in our solar system back in class on Zoom today. As frozen gases orbit through space, when they come close to stars, they melt, much like our dry ice was doing on the table, and produce a gaseous tail. We recognize these orbiting frozen gas balls as comets.


Communications Best Practices: Accountability & Self-Advocacy

Mr. P and Ms. Natalie combined both 8th grade Advisories for a couple weeks to give the students the opportunity to have some fun while flexing their communications skills and learning personal accountability and self-advocacy.

The central idea in middle school and in the activity booklet (linked below) is student empowerment. As you can see in the diagrams in the booklet, when the student is in the driver’s seat on the communications highway of students, parents, and teachers, well… that’s where the money is!

During this exercise, small student groups brainstormed then acted out scenarios for various common types of communications that happen in middle school. For example, taking responsibility in class or self-advocating in interactions with teachers at school or with parents at home. We then recorded the student roleplays, and we’re now watching and reflecting on them as an 8th grade community while celebrating the kids’ creativity, compassion, and courage in making these videos — first thing in the morning, no less.

Evy, Elena and Isabel

The video presented here is one of a number of very sweet snapshots illustrating respectful, responsible student-to-student communications in social situations. We’re super proud of our 8th graders and their enthusiastic embrace of these essential life skills.


Saklan Happy

In an effort to do a little something fun with our Friday Flag, we asked families to create their own version of Happy by Pharrell Williams. This video certainly made everyone smile and happy this morning!

Special thanks to Noah M. (8th grade) for putting the video together!