People Who Make a Difference

This week, second graders at Saklan have been learning about the lives of two of our most accomplished presidents – George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

These two giants of American history had a significant impact on the lives of all Americans, and are a perfect introduction to looking at ‘People Who Made a Difference,’ the next topic of second grade study.

The class learned about both men’s childhoods, what they achieved in their lives, and the legacies they left behind. They have also been learning a fun, graphical way to takes notes and remember all the incredible facts about these two men in an interesting way.



During January, Saklan students have been focusing on being hardworking. The eighth grade Family Group leaders created a video to explain what hardworking means and how it can help students reach their goals and overcome challenges.

After hearing suggestions from the eighth graders, each of Saklan’s first through seventh graders wrote down one goal, project or activity they want to work hard to accomplish or improve on. Check out the many areas in which our students are working hard!

#SaklanSocialEmotionalLearning #SaklanFamilyGroups

How Many Steps in a Mile?

The students in kindergarten thru eighth grade have been equipped with pedometers while exercising during P.E. lessons. The devices are simple and only measure “steps,” but are equipped with a reset button. P.E. classes have had fun experimenting with what types of activities generate the most movement or steps. Students have had the opportunity to see how dribbling a ball compares to swinging on the swings, and how walking a mile compares to skipping rope. Some of the third graders came to the conclusion that shaking the sensor generates a higher count than spinning it on a finger.  Overall, it appears that students focus on generating a count with their pedometers, and that feedback adds a little extra motivation to continue to exert effort while participating in physical education exercises.

Lucas in kindergarten asked Mr. Crabtree to take a picture of the pedometer he was using in P.E. and send it to his mom, as he was interested in one for home use as well.  For any other parents that have received requests for pedometers, here are the pedometers the students are using at school:


Life Lessons of 2020 in a Zine

What is a zine? A zine is short for Magazine and is a self-made booklet that tells a story, informs about an issue, and is fun to make! It’s origin dates back to 1776, with Thomas Paine’s self-published pamphlet, Common Sense, which advocated for the thirteen colonies to become independent from Great Britain

In returning from Winter Break online and entering into the new year, 1st-8th graders were asked to reflect on what lessons they learned about themselves and the world in 2020 and what they were excited about striving for in 2021. 2020 forced the world to face reality, good or bad, and with so much to learn from, the children triumphed over all of these obstacles to share what they found most rewarding, difficult, and inspiring. In seeing these zines created, we hope it inspires us all to continue to persevere, fight for justice, and take care of each other and ourselves.  

#SaklanCreative #SaklanThoughtful

Collaboration Blocks

Have you heard about Saklan’s collaboration blocks? These large blue blocks have been a favorite recess activity since they were introduced at the beginning of December.

The blocks are manufactured by Imagination Playground, and are designed to allow for open-ended play, giving children the freedom to create and pursue their own play activities. These blocks have produced numerous creations, giving our students the opportunity to not only have fun, but to further develop their logic and mathematical skills, problem solve, use their imaginations, and develop inter and intrapersonal skills.

Working together with classmates to build with the collaboration blocks has provided Saklan’s students with many opportunities for creativity, fun and learning. Check out the pictures below to see some of the creations the students have built.

The collaboration blocks were made possible by gifts to Saklan’s Annual Giving Fund. Saklan relies on the generous support of the community to provide the many extras, like the collaboration blocks, that make Saklan such a vibrant place for children to learn and develop. Thank you to all our generous AGF donors.

#SaklanCreative #MadePossibleByAGFGifts

A Nation of Immigrants

Following their studies of the Mayflower and the first immigrants to come to this land we call America, the second graders have been learning about what it means to be an immigrant. The students learned about why people came here and what it was like to come to America, often with little money, without parents and little knowledge of the language.

After reading Molly’s Pilgrim and taking inspiration from the story, the second graders created their own clothes pin dolls reflecting their family heritage. The students truly came to understand that America is a “nation of immigrants.” Look at all the countries our second graders and their families came from.

In America, we truly are a treasure trove of different cultures and different experiences. Building on this knowledge, the second graders dove deeper into their own family heritage by interviewing a grandparent. This enabled them to reflect on the differences in their lives today compared with life two generations ago, and to appreciate how life has changed.

Next week the second grade class will be reflecting on the names they have been given and the special meanings they have.

#SaklanDiversity #SaklanCompassion

The Mayflower

The second grade students have been learning about the Mayflower. They learned that the ship was 90 feet long and carried 102 people. They also learned who those 102 people were and why they were sailing on the Mayflower. Additionally, the second graders learned about life on the ship, including the sleeping accommodations, what the passengers ate, and how long the journey took. The students each identified and wrote down five key facts about the Mayflower, and then used their facts to write a paragraph about the ship. Finally, the second graders each created a picture of the Mayflower using construction paper and glued it above their Mayflower paragraph. Their work was then hung in their classroom for their classmates to enjoy!


Veterans Day Study

The second graders have been learning about Veterans Day, why we celebrate it and how it is different from Memorial Day. The students learned that it dates back to World War I, and was originally known as Armistice Day, before being renamed to Veterans Day in 1954. Veterans Day is a day to honor all military personnel that have served the country.

The students learned about the 5 branches of the military: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard, and what each branch does. They also discussed what it means to be a hero and wrote about how we can all be heroes every single day. Some ideas the students wrote about included:

Caring for other people.

Telling the truth.

Being nice to people, even if they are being mean.

Saying a nice compliment.

Additionally, the second graders talked and wrote about what it means to be brave. Each student’s ideas on being brave and a hero, as well as the information they learned about veterans and Veterans Day, were assembled into a graphic organizer, and hung in their classroom.


Visiting Moraga Garden Farm

This week, first and second grade classes took the first field experiences of the school year to the Moraga Garden Farm. Field experiences are valuable learning opportunities typically central to education at Saklan. Since March, Saklan has postponed this time-proven ritual, but that did not hamper the kids’ enthusiasm and curiosity while off campus.

The farmers were busy winterizing the farm, and the children saw the community members hard at work. They discussed the many benefits of community farms, such as health and wellbeing, land conservation, shared knowledge, human connection, volunteerism, and being close to the food process. They learned about other types of community gardens worldwide, such as multigenerational allotment gardens in the UK/Europe, market gardens in developing nations, urban gardens and school gardens.

Most trips to the Farm happen during primary growing seasons of late spring and summer, but there was no shortage of exploration and investigation in the winterized version. Students got their hands dirty in the fertile soil while searching for evidence of decomposition and composting. They walked in large composting bins showcasing several stages of organic soil generation. Saklan students learned how organic farming methods can avoid chemicals ending up in the food. Fortunately, the field experience timing was perfect to see the cover crop that had just been planted – fava beans. Fava plants input nitrogen where summer vegetables have depleted the soil, as well as provide weed control, safe harbor for beneficial biodiversity, and reduction in rain erosion.

Lastly, a trip to the Moraga Garden Farm is not complete without a visit with the chickens. Students were extremely curiuos to see chickens during molting season, where old feathers are replaced by new feathers to prepare for winter. This experience was best summed up by a second-grader saying, “you can really see how chickens descended from dinosaurs and maybe aliens too!”


Art of Observation

Earlier this week, the second graders went on a walk along the trail, looking for inspiration for a fall art project about leaves they were working on in class. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to get out of their classroom and into nature to observe the world around them.

The students collected leaves they found on the ground and brought them back to the classroom. The students observed the various colors and shapes of the leaves, and used them as models for leaves they drew and colored. This project was not only fun, but also a great way for the second graders to further develop their observation skills, which are important for being scientists and artists!