Solar Ovens

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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 provide different kinds of energy. The students then looked at the suns potential. First, they saw how solar power works to excite electrons on a solar panel by racing solar panel race cars. Next, they learned how photos can be used to heat up water in solar farms to create steam to turn a turbine. And lastly, they created solar ovens where they used the suns energy and a mirrored cone to cook some cookies!

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Lastly, as summer is quickly approaching, the students learned how to keep themselves safe from the sun. Wearing sunscreen, taking breaks in the shade, wearing sunglasses, and keeping hydrated and moisturized will keep everyone happier this summer and beyond!

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Andy Goldsworthy Natural Sculptures

With the end of the year around the corner and the sunshine peaking out of the clouds, the 5th grade is doing art class outside. Students learned about the British artist Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is famous for his site specific sculptures made up of natural materials such as rocks, leaves, and ice.

They discussed the concept of ephemeral art because most of Goldsworthy’s work does not physically exist in the present because of natural conditions destroying the work, but is documented by his photography. The students then went out and about the campus to gather twigs, leaves, and pine cones to arrange their nature sculptures throughout Saklan.

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Science of Roller Coasters

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The 8th graders culminating physics project was to design and create a roller coaster for a marble that utilized the forces the students learned about in class, had enough momentum to fulfill a loop, and had a slow down stop. Each group used their creativity, math skills and the scientific method to design, redesign, start over, and eventually create their coasters.

The students also 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! You can see their amazing designs on the pictures. Our Science Teacher, Miss O, is extremely impressed with their efforts in this project. They are a great class and they are ready for high school!

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Saklan at Moraga Rotary Field Day

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Last Wednesday, the Twenty-Eighth Annual Moraga Rotary Field Day took place at the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School. Third, fourth, and fifth graders from all the Moraga schools participated in a variety of fun field activities. The Saklan School had twelve athletes compete in this year’s contest.

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Field activities included: a sack race, softball toss, basketball toss, long jumps, steeple race, 50 yard dash, and a 4×50 yard shuttle relay. As always, this was a very fun event.

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This year, Thomas (5th grade) won third place medals in the sack race and 50 yard dash. Sadie (4th grade) won the silver in the long jump (10’3″). The fifth grade finished fifth in the shuttle relay. Good job to all the students who participated this year! Thank you very much for showing up and representing Saklan!

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All About the Digestive System

The first graders spent the last 3 weeks in the science lab learning about the Human Body. They discovered the digestive system, the muscular system, the skeletal system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the nervous system, and the excretory system and how each of these different systems play a key role in their health. It was a jam packed unit! The students got to see what happens to the food they eat and how the bones and muscles work together to help them move. They also learned how the blood circulates oxygen and that the nervous system helps them react to their environment. Lastly, and always one of the more memorable discussions, they learned how the excretory system rids the body of wastes.

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Here are the first graders showing off the organs in the digestive system!

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The Spring Arts Festival Was a Success!

Last Friday, students participated in a schoolwide Scavenger Hunt before the start of the festival. The students partnered up to find the answers in the artwork that was displayed throughout the entire campus.

Following the Scavenger Hunt, the West African drumming with Mr. Isaac kicked off the start of the Festival. Before checking out all the art, families got to peruse the Book Fair while enjoying the West African music and dance. The Parent Association put on a mighty fine Barbecue to feed all the hungry people. The overall vibe of the event was wonderful and all the hard work the students put into their artwork through the year was apparent and admired.

Thank you to all the parent, student and teacher volunteers on the day of the event. You made it extra special and it is much appreciated! The winners of the Scavenger Hunt will be announced at Friday’s Flag.

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“There’s a Place for Us…”

On May 17th and 18th, the Middle School students will be performing West Side Story – School Edition at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette. They have been exploring costumes, dance, vocal music, and acting skills, but have also been doing the vital work of connecting a great work of art to their everyday lives.

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West Side Story has become such a vital thread of American pop culture, and the issues that it brings to light exist in current events. Our students spent time this week connecting West Side Story to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, discussing tragedy and comedy, and making historical connections through the way characters dress, speak, and behave. Each student actor was challenged to think about how they would create a world with no hatred or violence, and what the lyrics in the song “Somewhere” mean to them on a personal level.

In one week, they will take these connections and bring their characters to life on the stage. You won’t want to miss it.

Click here for tickets.

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Storytelling Through Music

Storytelling is a vital part of the human condition. It is how we know our history, and how we learn from that history; how we begin to connect with others, and how we start to create a world that could be. The first stories were not written, they were told and shown; chanted and sung. Theater takes us back to the very roots of our evolution as humans, and allows us to be a part of great stories that have shaped our world.

Saklan’s Middle School students have been exploring those concepts by creating a production of West Side Story-School Edition. They began with self-identification exercises, and then connected the mental portraits of themselves to the characters in the play. They auditioned and were assigned roles, and began the process of telling this beautiful story.

West Side Story is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and takes place in New York City in the 1950’s. The themes of this show tie in with the 8th grade Humanities curriculum, and involve Immigration and race relations, as well as generational gap issues; themes that are incredibly relevant in our students world.

While creating the show, we have formed a relationship with the dance studio Joy In Motion and our Middle School students have been exploring storytelling through dance firsthand. We would like to invite you into our rehearsal process by viewing the video above. And then would like to invite you to share this story by clicking this link, which will allow you to purchase tickets.

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5th Grade Life Size Keith Haring Paintings

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Learning about the significance and lasting impression Keith Haring had in communities all around the world, the students found inspiration in his animated, whimsical, and political work. Working life size can be intimidating, so they started drawing outside using chalk. The students had no boundaries using the ground as their canvas and the energy was high and full of excitement!

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Exercise two was moving the body to recreate the expressive poses Haring’s characters have. After striking many poses, the students helped trace each other to keep the drawing life size. They then stylized the hands and feet with Haring’s signature style and painted in the figure. This project will be showcased among others completed throughout the year at the Spring Arts Festival next Friday, May 3rd from 3-6PM.

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Here Comes the Sun

Singing is such an important part of any school. It is a way to be loud when often we are told to be quiet, to join in with our peers and elders and those who look up to us. It is a quick way to become a community, a way to be silly, to celebrate, and to just live in the moment and create something beautiful that comes from the inside.

The pitches don’t have to be perfect, and not everyone will sound the same, but when we sing we enjoy the uniqueness of every person who joins in. At Saklan, we love to sing!

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