Alphabet Activities

The Owlet class has been familiarizing themselves with the letters of the alphabet. The students have been practicing finding letters around the classroom, brainstorming words that have the same beginning letter sound, and building letters with different materials.

For the letter Aa, the Owlets read the books ABC by Dr. Seuss, Hooray for Amanda and her Alligator by Mo Willems, and Abiyoyo, a South African folk tale by Pete Seeger. The Owlets built the letter Aa using playdough, practiced their cutting skills on a traced Aa, and made their own Abiyoyo monster (like in the story) from torn pieces of construction paper.

For the letter Bb, the class read the book Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite by Ashley Spires, and then created their own bugs with Philippa. The Owlets named their bugs and described their “superpowers” like the bugs in the book. They also read The Bad Seed by Jory John, and then observed some sunflowers and sunflower seeds. Ms. Erin helped the students learn about sequencing and quantifying as they counted the seeds.

The Owlets also read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis and spent a rainy day getting creative with tons of cardboard boxes. The students loved making trains, mountains, cars, robots, and many other fun things!

For the letter Cc, the Owlets read the book Clara Caterpillar by Pamela Duncan Edwards, and then made caterpillars out of egg cartons. They also learned how to play Candy Land! This game helped the Owlets practice many social-emotional skills, including: taking turns, following rules, and being a good sport whether they won or lost the game.

#SaklanSEL #SaklanHandsOn

Festival of Lights

This week, many Saklan students learned about Diwali, which is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs around the world, including some of our students! Diwali is the festival of lights and lasts for 5 days in October or November. The students read books to get a better understanding of the festival, and then participated in some celebratory activities.

The Owlets and Hoot Owls learned about an art form called Rangoli, a geometric design on the floor (or other flat surface) made using colored rice, sand, dry flour, or flower petals. The owls watched a video of someone creating a Rangoli, and then made their own.

The Kindergarteners and first graders made lanterns that they were able to take home. They decorated their lanterns using stickers and markers, and were excited to spread light!

A big thank you to the parents who came in to share their family Diwali traditions with our students!

#SaklanDiversity #SaklanCommunity

Meeting Community Helpers

During the month of October, the Owlet class has had multiple opportunities to meet some community helpers in our own community. The Owlets visited the Saklan Library for the first time last week and met the librarians Ms. Joy and Meredith. The students listened to Meredith read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and then she and Ms. Joy helped each student pick a book to check out.

On Wednesday, the Owlets had some very special guest experts visit their class from Aloha Pediatric Dentistry in Orinda. Hannah and Omar, both dental technicians, demonstrated proper teeth brushing and flossing, showed the class x-rays of teeth, and played a game where students sorted snacks that are good for your teeth and not so good for your teeth.

The class also learned about doctors and how they help our communities. The Owlets read Doctors by Dee Ready and learned about some of the tools doctors use, like x-rays and stethoscopes. The students got to look at some real x-ray pictures of human bones, and use real stethoscopes to listen to each other’s heart beats! After hearing their hearts beat, the class watched this video to learn what happens inside our bodies to produce the thump thump sound.

The Owlets are very grateful for the wonderful community helpers that are all around us!

#SaklanCommunity #SaklanGuestExperts

Getting Ready for Halloween

The Owlets have been getting excited for Halloween! Ms. Erin read a silly, spooky story called Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and the students had fun making their own creepy carrots to hide around the classroom and playground.

The Owlets also got to observe pumpkins of different sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. Philippa opened a small pumpkin to show the Owlets what was inside. She read the book Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson to teach the class about the life cycle of a pumpkin.

Each Owlet got to plant their own pumpkin seed, which they will tend to and (hopefully) watch grow!

#SaklanHandsOnLearning #SaklanCreative

Fall Leaves

The Owlets have welcomed the fall season by making observations about nature. They’ve noticed the weather changing as well as some of the leaves on campus beginning to change color and drop. The class read Wonderfall by Michael Hall and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Elhert. The Owlets strengthened their fine motor skills by using eye droppers to drip fall colored watercolor paint onto giant coffee filters.

Once the coffee filters were dry, the Owlets practiced using scissors, as they cut the colorful paper into leaves to create a classroom tree.

Buddies

Last Friday morning there was much excitement on campus as we kicked off our learning buddy program for the year! Learning buddies are a purposeful way to encourage cross-grade friendships, help students develop a sense of responsibility and practice mentorship, and make learning fun!

During the first meeting, the buddies took time to get to know each other and did some reading together.

The older buddies marvelously modeled good reading behaviors by reading with expression and fluency for their younger buddies. Some of the older buddies were also honored to listen to their younger buddies read too.

The younger buddies thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their learning buddies, and are already asking when they get to meet with their buddies again!

#SaklanBuddies #SaklanCommunity

How Many Letters?

The Owlets read the book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes about a girl with a very long name – 13 letters! The class honed their letter and name recognition skills while creating name flowers, adding a petal for each letter of their name. During this activity, many of the Owlets used scissors for the first time! When practicing new skills, the teachers use language like “This is tricky, but you can do tricky things” and “The more you practice, the easier it gets.” 

The Owlets also got the opportunity to build their names with letter blocks. They learned that the longest name in their class is 8 letters, while the shortest name is only 3 letters.

These name and letter activities were not only fun, but also provided opportunities for the Owlets to work on their fine motor skills.

Washing Away Germs

The Owlets have been practicing new school routines this week. One of the most important things they practice throughout the day is hand washing! First the Owlets shared what they already know about germs, including that:

  • They make us sick.
  • They are small.
  • We wash them off.

The class then watched a short video to learn a little more about what germs are and how they get into our bodies. Finally the Owlets got to do a messy experiment to practice great hand washing!

The teachers put oil and cinnamon on the students’ hands and told them to pretend the small specks of cinnamon were germs.

The students were then asked to wash their hands to try and get rid of the “germs.” The Owlets learned that they couldn’t get all the germs off with only water; they needed to use soap and scrub all over. They also noticed that sometimes when all the germs on their palms were gone, some were still hiding in between their fingers and on the backs of their hands!

This hands-on activity has really helped the Owlets understand the importance of thorough hand washing to keep themselves and their friends healthy!

Moving Up Day

This morning, all Saklan Preschool – fifth grade students participated in Moving Up Day. The students and teachers alike were buzzing with excitement!

This annual tradition allowed the students to get a snapshot of what next year will hold. The teachers planned special activities that highlighted their grade level and enjoyed getting to know their rising students a little better. Morning meeting activities, questions, stories, classroom scavenger hunts, and enthusiasm filled the classrooms! If your child “moved up” today, please ask them all about it. They will likely have something enthusiastic to share!

#SaklanConnected

Researching Turtles & Sharks

The Owlets have been busy biologists this month! After learning about different animal classes, the Owlets each got to nominate an animal that they wanted to research. Before choosing the first animal to study as a class, they watched a video to learn about Jane Goodall, a real animal researcher who studies chimpanzees by observing them in the wild. They also learned about other ways of doing research including using nonfiction books, internet resources, and talking to experts. 

The Owlets then voted to learn more about turtles! They read nonfiction books from the library that taught them turtle facts, including what turtles eat, where they live, and different types of turtles. The class watched this video to learn more about turtles and tortoises. The Owlets then strengthened their fine motor skills by painting turtle shells and decorating them with hexagon shapes. Lastly, each owl decided if their turtle would have flippers to help it swim or feet to help it walk on land like a tortoise.

The Owlets then got to vote for the next animal they were interested in learning about. The overwhelming winner was sharks! Ms. Jessica checked out books from the library that showcased different types of sharks, from the 30-foot whale shark to the 7-inch dwarf shark. The class read If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams and learned how important sharks are for our oceans and the world as a whole. The Owlets were very excited to cut out shark fins to make shark fin hats! While practicing their cutting skills, the students also discussed what type of shark they would want to be.

#SaklanScience

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