The Middle School Orchestra and Choir classes both recently finished a Duet project. For their duets, the students worked on collaborating with a partner on a song chosen to: challenge them in their skills, build confidence in their own musical abilities, and create something they couldn’t on their own. The students practiced together, had individual and class coaching sessions, and then recorded their performances on FlipGrid. Check out a couple of the duets below!
The seventh graders have been learning about cell processes. Before beginning their study of heredity, the students learned the importance of DNA. They began by discovering the double helix design, noting the matching base pairs, and then moved on to understanding how DNA gives us all the information we need to build eyeballs, hair, and every organ in our body.
Next, the students extracted DNA from strawberries, and observed clumps of DNA strands. Realizing that our food has DNA was quite fascinating to the seventh graders!
In the coming weeks, the seventh graders will use all that they have learned about DNA, and how it recombines to give us our traits, to help them understand the processes of mitosis, meiosis and heredity.
Last week, the 6th graders participated in the first overnight field experience we have been able to offer in 18 months. They attended Westminster Woods, an environmental education and character development program, nestled in 200 acres of redwood forest in Sonoma County. Students hiked through the redwood forest, scoured the Dutch Bill Creek, took part in many team building challenges and ventured through an incredible high-ropes challenge course under the redwood canopy.
Students not only learned about ecology, teamwork and the natural environment, but they got to learn more about each other as well. Here are some of highlights from the experience:
“I think Saklan has us go on these field experiences to learn about ourselves and our class. We now feel like we are all friends.”
“I faced some of my biggest fears (heights) on this experience. And trusting my classmates made that easier.”
“I think these trips are important because it makes you try new things. I was scared when I left home about what the week might be like, but then I was so happy I went!”
“I feel like I am more connected to my class after this week. I feel this way because we learned more about each other. So many people have such interesting traits, I thought it was cool to get to know more about them.”
“I felt really connected to my class after the ropes course. We had to work together to get through the activities.”
“Something I will never forget is taking my blindfold off and finding we were at the top of a hill and had an amazing view of a valley, that was cool!”
Miss O and Mr. Zippin joined the students for the week at Westminster Woods. Upon returning to campus, they shared that they loved seeing how the students were are to able bond through the experience and how compassionate they were to each other. The week was filled with moments where the students were lending a hand to each other when they needed it and encouraging people they only met 3 weeks ago as if they had known each other for years.
In chemistry, the eighth graders created hot air balloons to test the ideas of buoyancy and Archimedes’ principle, along with Charles’ law and thermal expansion. Using paper, glue and tape, the students worked in teams to engineer balloons that would create the largest lift when filled with heated air.
In the church parking lot, the students worked together to fill their balloons and create lift. Some balloons went higher than others, but all took off! Some groups had to make alterations on the fly, and some tried adding different amounts of air or waiting for wind gusts, but they finally got lift off!
While flying their hot air balloons, and with the help of the wind, the students noticed how fluids move in and push matter. Additionally, the engineering process was in full effect with the eighth graders as they attempted to fly their balloons. When hitting snags in their designs or having environmental challenges, the students were able to problem solve and determine changes they could make to their designs or process to get their balloons off the ground!
Mr. Isaac has been with The Saklan School since 2014 and has added tremendous value to our Music program. Although he has many talents, including arranging and playing multiple instruments, this year Mr. Isaac is teaching drumming to the third through fifth graders and a Learning by Doing (LBD) class for middle school students.
Mr. Isaac teaches traditional West African drumming from the Anlo-Ewe speaking people of Ghana, Togo and Benin. The drums used by our students were handmade for The Saklan School from Ghana. We are so lucky and grateful to have Isaac here to share his knowledge and help fill our community with rhythm!
In humanities class, the Middle School students have been creatingidentity circles. These circles allow the students to convey aspects of their identity that they might not otherwise get a chance to share with their classmates. The circles also allow the students to see identity traits they share with others. In addition to the personal identity circles, the middle schoolers are also creating class identity circles to post in the language arts/humanities classroom. The goal of the whole class posters is for all middle school students to see the identities of peers in other grades, who they may not have class with on a daily basis.
Classes begin the week of September 13th, and have limited space available. If you are interested in signing your child up for one of the above classes, please click on the class name for additional information about the class and sign up options.
Saklan will also have enrichment opportunities for our Preschool and Pre-K friends that will be announced in the coming weeks. Our youngest students take a little more time to settle into the routines of coming to school, so we want to give them additional time before we introduce new classes into their day.
Last year gave us time to think about some of the things we have done for years and how to do them better. One of those things is Friday Flag- a long tradition that we have held out in front of School every Friday morning. After conversations with parents, teachers and students, we will be moving to a new Friday morning assembly called CLAS (Community, Learning, Appreciation, and Sharing).
The impetus to move to CLAS was to emphasize the aspects of Saklan we sincerely appreciate: our community, that love of learning is central to everything we do, that gratitude and appreciation is our lifeblood, and that sharing is how we all grow as individuals.
CLAS will be held on the Saklan Sports Court every other week. This allows each division to meet on the off weeks and hold assemblies that bring them together as a smaller group; the Saklan Sports Court provides a more protected gathering space.
Parents are invited to join us for CLAS by entering campus through the fire lane near the church right at 8:30 a.m.
Thank you to everyone who joined us this morning for our first CLAS! It was so wonderful to see our entire community in the same space and to hear the words of wisdom and appreciations that the students shared with us. Check out pictures from today’s gathering below.
The return of school musicals to end the year has all of Saklan ready to break out in song! After so many months of uncertainty, Ms. Chaffey went above and beyond to make sure that musicals could happen in some form this year, and we’re so grateful for her creative thinking.
To start off, today the fourth and fifth grade classes performed Seussical KIDS, leaving all their hard work on the outdoor stage. Students, teachers, and the performers’ parents were treated to a spectacular display of singing and dancing, featuring favorite characters such as Horton, the Cat in the Hat, and the Sour Kangaroos.
Next week, the seventh and eighth grade students will have their chance to put their talents on display! Their film version of Into the Woods will be screened on campus for the rest of Saklan to enjoy. Stayed turned for more details on how the rest of the Saklan community can view this film as well.
Congratulations to all of our Saklan performers, and another huge round of applause for Ms. Chaffey for making this happen and to the entire Saklan faculty and staff for their support.
Last Friday, the eighth grade class headed out for a field experience to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, where they put their physics knowledge to the test by riding roller coasters and other amusement rides.
While they were there to have fun, they were also there to determine speed, acceleration, and which forces were acting on them throughout the different rides.
Students applied Newton’s Three Laws of Motion to see how physics plays a key role in the design, fun, and safety of roller roasters. They timed the rides, wore accelerometers to test the amount of g-force the ride exerted on their body, and filled out a packet to record all of their physics observations.
It was a fun day for everyone, and a special final field experience for the eighth grade class.