What is Your Heritage


These last two months have been very special in second grade. We have been working on our Family Heritage Unit. The second graders and their parents have completed several projects:  a family tree and discovering where their ancestors came from, making a paper quilt square telling about their family, finding out the origin of their first and middle names, and interviewing a grandparent about what life was like when they were young. In class the children read many stories about families from other countries. 
They made passports and wrote Immigrant Kid stories pretending they were coming to America in the early 1900’s. They also read the book Molly’s Pilgrim and created a clothespin ancestor doll. One of the final activities was to bring in a memory box filled with personal items, but not revealing their identity. There was a lot of excitement trying to guess the owner of each memory box. It has been so fun sharing all our family heritage stories with each other.


Teddy Bears At Saklan, Oh My!

During the first two weeks of November, teddy bears arrived in second grade. They came for a visit, but unfortunately we did have some trouble when we left them overnight in our classroom. They put teddy bear stamps all over our work, hid in the classroom from us, and even escaped to Mr. Metzger’s office. But, most of the time they stayed with us in class. We read many Berenstain Bear books and other bear stories, wrote our own stories about our teddy bears, and had a lot of fun doing teddy bear math using scales and measuring tapes. We also interviewed our teddy bears and worked on comprehension activities. We loved having our special visitors in class. They even surprised us with a pancake breakfast.

Second Grade Monster Stories


The second graders have completed a month long project. First, they read many books from The Monster Series by Ellen Blance. This monster is lovable and kind. The next step was to choose a title for their own monsterstory and map out the plot. They then wrote a rough draft, proofread and revised, recopied, illustrated, and finally designed a cover.

They have enjoyed reading their stories to the Kindergartners, Hoot Owls, and Owlets.

Research Buddies


The second graders have each chosen a mammal to research as part of their Mammal and Classification Unit. They teamed up with their seventh grade buddies for a special project.

They had to gather information about the size, coloring, diet, habitat, and special facts about their mammal. They worked with their buddies to find this information from books and Internet material.

The second graders then transferred this information to note cards as they prepared for an oral report for their parents and classmates. This is a good example of students helping each other learn at Saklan.

Visiting T. Rex


As an extension of the unit on Dinosaurs and Fossils the second graders traveled to the UC Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley. They saw a life-size replica of a T. rex and learned more about fossils. They also had a chance to look for fossils in trays of sediment.

Last week their parents were invited to come to our class and hear dinosaur poems they had memorized. And last Friday they performed two dinosaur poems at our Friday flag. As you can see second grade is a very busy place!

Family Groups This Month

This past month, the students at Saklan have been learning about Self-Regulation. On Tuesday, our 8th graders led their first family group meeting of the year around this topic: helping the students to recognize or identify when they need to help themselves to achieve a goal, task, assignment and being able to get themselves back on track. The students watched a video staring cookie monster, where he must fight his urges to eat his cookie partner in order to save a princess. The students saw that sometimes not one solution is enough.

Each family group was then given one issue that might happen at school, and came up with tools that could help them overcome that, so they can get back to the task at hand.   These included: when a child is stressed, when they can’t stop giggling, when they are angry or upset (at a friend or situation), or when they are having a hard time focusing. Each family group made a poster showing their tools on the cookies, surrounded by their own cookie monster! Come check these out in the breezeway!

Dinosaurs in Second Grade


The second graders have been working on their Dinosaur and Fossil Unit this  month. The students have read many stories about dinosaurs and how fossils are formed.

They have worked on comprehension worksheets and vocabulary, written creative essays about what would happen if the dinosaurs came back, and did a measuring activity comparing themselves to a T. rex. They also searched for fossils in chocolate chip cookies! Lastly they drew a dinosaur scene and painted it with watercolors for their unit folder cover.

New IPads for Elementary Students

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This summer, Saklan purchased new iPads for the lower school. The students use the IXL Learning site to practice math, language arts, science, and social studies online. The students love the interactive problems. It’s a fun way of learning.

Little Miss and Mr. Books

The second graders have been busy reading many Little Miss and Mr. books. The next part of this reading assignment was to create an original character (not one of the 86 already in the series) and plan their own story. After mapping out their ideas, writing a rough copy and editing, rewriting a final draft, and lastly illustrating their book they were finished! A very special part of this project was when Mrs.Mariangela Helgeson and Mrs. Ginelle Mills printed their characters on t-shirts. The younger students at Saklan loved when the second graders came to their class wearing their t-shirts and read their stories.

Lectures On Whales

The culmination of the Whale Unit for the second graders was an oral report. They dressed up as scientists and professors and gave a lecture for their parents on a whale they had researched. This included pointing out the various parts of the whale on a diagram they had drawn and labeled as well asking for questions from the audience at the end of their lecture. They have become very confident public speakers.