Have Old or Outgrown Sneakers?

The sixth grade students will be learning about human environmental impact and how they can help in science class this year. As part of their study, they will have the opportunity to participate in service learning projects. Service learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide learning opportunities that help tackle real-world problems that help one’s community.

The sixth grade has partnered with GotSneakers, an organization that helps keep sneakers out of landfills by recycling and reusing them. Each pair donated can earn their class money, which they are going to use to combat the human environmental impact by putting it towards species conservation. Examples may include:

  • Donations to wildlife centers 
  • Symbolic species adoptions
  • Materials to build bird boxes

Please help the sixth graders by donating any size sneakers you no longer want.

A bin will be placed in the breezeway during the last week of every month. Please place your unwanted pair of sneakers in the box during that time. Any size and brand of sneakers are welcome. But, sneaker-style shoes only, please!


Trail Mix Math

The sixth graders started the new school year working on challenging word problems, including one called Trail Mix:

Rowena and Polly are making trail mix. Rowena has 4 cups of raisins and Polly has 4 cups of peanuts. Polly pours exactly one cup of her peanuts into Rowena’s raisins and stirs them up. Then Rowena pours exactly one cup of her new peanut-and-raisin mixture back into Polly’s peanuts.

Mr. Zippin demonstrated this with red and white beans and then asked the 6th graders- “Did Rowena get more of Polly’s peanuts or did Polly get more of Rowena’s raisins?”

The students got a chance to share their ideas, first with their groups, and then with the entire class.

Next, the students had the opportunity to get hands-on with the beans themselves. They took ten white beans and ten red beans and put them in small containers. In teams, the students took turns taking 3 beans out of the white bean cup and putting them in with the red and mixing them up. Then, with their eyes closed, they took three beans out of the mixture and returned them to the white cup with only seven beans in it. They then recorded their results.

After doing the experiment a few times, the groups got another chance to discuss their ideas and possibly develop new conjectures.

What do you think? Did Rowena get more of Polly’s peanuts or did Polly get more of Rowena’s raisins?


Early Humans

Sixth grade has begun their year of studying ancient civilizations in humanities by looking at the artifacts and clues left behind by early humans. Students have been learning from paleoanthropologists on early forms of graphic communication. They have also been exploring what it means to try and interpret an artifact or cave painting when anyone who could give definitive answers about their true meaning and purpose is long gone. 

The class has been using an interactive inquiry wall and question protocols to generate student inquiry.

They moved questions and things they know into groups, and in the coming weeks students will have a chance to research and answer their own questions on early humans before beginning the project-based learning cycle with their next unit. 


Task Party!

This week in art class, students in 4th – 8th grade got in touch with their creative sides by participating in something called a “Task Party,” where students draw and complete random tasks.

Fourth graders worked collaboratively in table groups to “turn a stool into a monster.”

Fifth graders worked collaboratively with their table groups to “design and create a themed Met Gala gown for a member of their group.”

Middle school students independently drew tasks from a box and either completed as many as they could, or chose to spend the entire time on one task. Tasks included: making a treasure map, making a robotic arm, making a musical instrument, making a parrot and wearing it on one’s arm, making puppets and putting on a puppet show, making an octopus garden, making everyone name tags, making a walled fortress, and more!

Task parties originate from contemporary artist Oliver Herring and are meant to build community, inspire creativity, critical thinking, and fun through the arts. Tasks can be building and creating art with crafting and recycled materials or can be performance based and encourage students to step out of their comfort zones. 

The best part about a task party is getting to know the students as makers, artists and creative minds in an open, stakes-free environment. Because there is no right or wrong way to perform a task, everyone is participating and engaged, as there is little judgment or fear of making mistakes. 


Bubble Gum Hypothesis

In preparation for a full year of fun and exciting science, middle school students have been reviewing and practicing the scientific method. The sixth grade students were given the question: “Which bubble gum creates the biggest bubbles; Double Bubble or Big League Chew?”

Students created their hypothesis, were given the same amount of each gum for consistency, and decided on a bubble gum blower for the experiment to keep the ability consistent. After measuring 5 bubbles and averaging their findings, all groups found Big League Chew to be better at consistently blowing large bubbles. They noted that it was the softer of the two gums as well. This and other flavor preferences played into their guess as to why Big League Chew was better. From this fun experiment, the scientific questions and hypotheses started flowing!

#SaklanScience #SaklanHandsOn

Advancing Into the New Year

A long tradition of the Saklan Middle School has been to start the year with a three-day, two-night field experience called the “Advance.” We call it the Advance because we want to advance into the new school year in a positive, proactive way that helps these young adolescents flourish into self-confident young adults.  

During the Advance, students engage in different activities that build relationships between students and their teachers. Navigating ropes courses, completing blindfolded trust walks, and playing team-building games facilitate positive interactions and friendships. Students are asked to take risks together, creating bonds that will carry them through the school year. Not only does this help solidify their sense of belonging, but it also allows for better collaboration, trust, and academic focus. 

This afternoon,  the students and teachers will return from the Advance. They will come back as a slightly different group than when they left Wednesday morning. They will have formed or solidified friendships, built a new community, and have a renewed sense of confidence (as well as be a bit tired from all the fun and activities). But most importantly, students will return ready to thrive and grow during their middle school experience. 

#SaklanConnected #SaklanConfident

Congratulations, Class of 2022!

On Wednesday morning, we honored and celebrated The Saklan School’s Graduating Class of 2022. It was a heartfelt ceremony, in which the middle school teachers introduced the graduates, and the graduates shared short speeches with their parents, teachers and fellow students. 

One of the highlights of the ceremony was a speech by Saklan Alumna, Kylie Choi. Kylie graduated from Saklan in 2017, and just completed her first year at University of San Diego. The wisdom Kylie shared with the graduates on making the most of their path forward while remembering that Saklan is always here for them was inspiring. 

If you were not able to join us for the ceremony, you can view the graduation here.

Each year we create a slideshow that highlights the memories of our graduates from their first years all the way through the last week of 8th grade. Take a moment to watch this video and relive their journey.

There are several people that made the graduation events possible this year. We would like to extend a special thank you to Geri Buhl and Katy Debasa for helping to organize the graduation dinner. It takes a lot of planning and coordination, but the dinner was beautifully orchestrated. Additionally, a special shout-out goes to Kim Parks, Shay Sager, Emoke Veres, Emily Williamson and Javier Yacarini for all their behind-the-scenes work handling the logistics of the graduation dinner and ceremony.

#SaklanClassof2022 #SaklanCourageous

Solar Oven Cooking

The 6th grade has been learning about heat transfer around our planet, especially in regards to radiant energy from the sun. They spent time learning about the different types of wavelengths the sun gives off (the electromagnetic spectrum) and how each provides a different kind of energy. The students then looked at the sun’s potential. They saw how solar power works to excite electrons on a solar panel by creating solar panel wave machines.  And then they created solar ovens, where they used the sun’s energy and a mirrored cone to cook cookies!

The solar ovens worked so well that a few cookies got a little too done!


Legally Blonde Jr.

On Thursday, May 19th, the Saklan Middle School students presented Legally Blonde Jr., their final collaborative project of the year for Music class. The show was fun and funny while dealing with serious topics, including: stereotypes, snap judgements, and what it truly means to be yourself without fear.

The middle schoolers had multiple conversations about the play, coming to understand the material on the deepest level and performing it in a way that allowed both themselves and the audience to experience the joy of Elle’s story.

A big thank you to Mrs. Chaffey for helping the students to gain a deeper understanding of the show’s material and providing them with a safe space to explore who they are, or even who they might want to become. Her caring guidance of the students through the production process allowed the students to truly understand the message that Elle gives us: “even if I crash and burn ten times a day, I’m going to find my way.”

Thank you to Mr. Javier for getting the stage and set pieces together and to Ms. Christina, Mr. E, and Ms. Lauren for serving as stagehands.

Additionally, thank you to all of the parents and teachers who made the production possible.

And of course, thank you to all the middle school students. Their hard work to bring Legally Blonde Jr. to the stage was evident. The show came together well and was so much fun!

#SaklanCourageous #SaklanCreative

Marble Roller Coasters

The eighth grade’s culminating physics project was to design and create a roller coaster for a marble. Each coaster needed to: utilize the forces the students learned about in class, have enough momentum to fulfill a loop, and have a slow-down stop.

Students got inspiration for their coasters by going to Physics Day at Great America, where they experienced the need for gravitational pull to power the coasters, centripetal force and air resistance to provide thrills, and of course friction to stop safely! 

Working together in groups, the students used their creativity, math skills and knowledge of the scientific method to design, redesign, and eventually create their coasters. You can see their amazing designs below! 

Ms. O was extremely impressed with their efforts on this project!”

#SaklanHandsOn #SaklanFieldExperience

%d bloggers like this: