Learning Expedition of the Bay

This past Tuesday, the 5th and 6th grade students joined the Marine Science Institute for a four-hour expedition of the San Francisco Bay aboard a 90-foot research vessel, the R.V. Robert G. Brownlee. The students discovered what lives in the estuary and how we are connected to it. They rotated through three stations using scientific methods and equipment to examine different types of life.

First, they went to hydrology to understand the water quality, and then performed a plankton tow to see the basis of the food chain. After, they used a mud grab to collect a benthic mud sample to look for invertebrates. And lastly, they worked together to deploy a 16-foot trawl net to bring fishes on board. In small groups, they studied the fishes using dichotomous keys. Students were inspired to observe and touch the live animals that they collected. Between sharks, crabs, halibut and sting rays, they saw a bunch of cool marine life!


Saklan’s Young Scientists

The young scientists in Saklan’s Owl Class have continued to learn more about science topics with Ms. Jessica and Ms. O! They learned about magnets and how different poles attract while the same ones repel, then conducted an experiment with milk, dish soap, and food coloring. By pouring colored milk into pans of dish soap, the Owls could clearly see that the dish soap repelled the milk right away.

Ms. Jessica’s Owls also got to experience a bit of the “icky” side of being a scientist by observing a squid dissection with Ms. O. The students were able to see all the different parts of the squid, including its beak, tentacles, throat, gills, eyes, and ink sac!

Many of the Owls were not fans of how stinky the squids were, but overall, they did seem to be very interested in biology. We are so proud of the curiosity these budding scientists continue to show!


Third Grade Spanish

In third grade Spanish class, the students are learning about the 21 countries in the world where Spanish is spoken. They also learned that there are more than 500 million people in the world who speak Spanish, a number that continues to grow.

To fully appreciate the diversity of Spanish-speaking countries, each third grader picked a specific country to learn more about. They explored their chosen country’s typical food, music, dance, and sports. They also researched two famous people from their chosen country.

Third graders put together poster boards display all they had learned, so they could share it with their fellow students.


Fifth Grade Spanish Menus

In Spanish class, the fifth graders are working with Maestra Padilla to learn about food and beverages for breakfast (desayuno) and lunch (almuerzo).

The students started their work by designing their own menu full of their favorite foods, including desserts. As they created their menus, students learned food vocabulary words and created a personalized product to use to order food in a “restaurant.”

The next step was to provide students with authentic opportunities to use the Spanish language and expand their speaking skills. Students engaged in a role play set in a restaurant, where they took on the roles of waiters and customers. While acting as the customers, students could order food items off of their custom menus, as if they were in a restaurant designed just for them!

Take a peek at the lesson by watching the videos below!

Hana, Eleanor, and Kori
Lilia, Lilah, and Hailey


Musical Nature Walk

This week, Ms. Chaffey took the first graders to the trail behind campus, and led them on a musical nature walk! The class got to spend time in quiet observation of the sounds we can hear in the world around us.

After quietly walking down the trail, Ms. Chaffey would find a spot for the class to pause, and instructed the students to sit there for a few minutes in silence, listening to the sounds around them. Some of the sounds would be from animals or silent forces in nature, while others came from humans.

The first graders drew what they heard, including birds singing, people talking, and wind blowing. One imaginative first grader heard a “unicorn Pegasus,” while another explained that his “really good hearing” allowed him to hear the sound of the plants growing!

It was a perfect day to connect with nature!


Save the Date for Spring Musicals!

A sure sign–and sound–of Spring at Saklan? Musical rehearsals! Saklan students in fourth-eighth grades have been hard at work preparing for their upcoming musical performances. Like everything, musicals this year will be done differently than in the past, but the hard work and dedication that goes into them remains the same!

The Saklan fourth and fifth graders are busy rehearsing for “Seussical Kids,” which they will perform on Friday, May 28, at 11 a.m. Meanwhile, the seventh and eighth grade classes are working on creating a film version of the Stephen Sondheim classic, “Into the Woods.” Their final movie will be shown on campus on Thursday, June 3, with a simultaneous live stream for at-home audiences. A short, filmed edition of “Guys and Dolls” as performed by the Saklan sixth grade, will be released as well.

More details will be forthcoming on how parents can experience each performance, but we hope you’ll join us in lending your support to each Saklan performer, and extending deep thanks and appreciation to Ms. Chaffey for making the musicals happen no matter what!


Sea Star Dissection

As part of the 7th grade biology unit on animals, the class looked at different phylum found within a particular kingdom. The students talked with Ms. O about the different characteristics and important adaptations each animal has for survival.

As part of the lesson, students take part in multiple dissections in order to learn and compare the anatomies of common organisms. So far in their study of invertebrates, the class has dissected a squid (part of the mollusk phylum), a worm (the annelid phylum) and, this week, a sea start (a member of the echinoderm phylum).

Each organism has a different circulatory system, number of hearts, different sequence of body parts, and some have no brain at all! These dissections are a hands-on way students have been able to see the diversity of all life!


Kindergarten Celebrates Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and Saklan Kindergarteners celebrated with a musical tribute to one of our most noteworthy female signers – jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald!

While her career included many popular songs such as “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” “Cheek to Cheek,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” it was Fitzgerald’s version of the nursery rhyme “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” that first got her noticed and launched her into stardom. Saklan Kindergarteners worked with Ms. Chaffey in music class to learn this classic song, and debuted their performance during Friday Flag.

Enjoy the kindergarten class singing “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” below!


Student Self-Portraits

In art class with Ms. Natalie, all students have completed a self-portrait. Different grades explored different processes to arrive at their completed portrait, allowing students to express their creativity and practice different artistic skills.

Kindergarten and first grade students did exercises in self-exploration, while second graders created a silhouette portrait by collaging drawn images and words that express who they are and what they love.

Third grade started by drawing their classmates, and then used a reference photo of themselves to recognize the symmetry in their face. In fourth grade, students created symmetrical self-portraits by measuring each half of their face and using pencil to create their skin tone. The fifth graders also paid close attention to the symmetry in their face, and created expressive backgrounds for their portraits.

Finally, grades sixth-eighth used the grid method, drawing pencils, shading tools, and watercolor pencils to finish their artwork. Explore just some of the incredible examples below!

To continue their exploration of self, the third-eighth graders all completed poems to accompany their portraits. Third and fourth graders wrote bio poems which shared more about them in connection to their portraits, while fifth-eighth graders wrote haikus that, while short, expressed who they are on a deeper level.

From an artistic perspective, self-portraits are one of the most challenging projects an artist can attempt. Ms. Natalie observed every Saklan artist overcoming moments of frustration and dedicating themselves to developing their skills. Congratulations to every Saklan student on this project – we’re very proud!