Moving Up Day

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

This annual tradition allows 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, art activities, classroom scavenger hunts, and enthusiasm for next year filled the classrooms! If your child “moved up” on Wednesday, please ask them all about it. They will likely have something enthusiastic to share!


El Mar

In Spanish class, the third graders have been learning about the ocean, sea animals, and how they can help to keep the ocean and beaches clean. They learned vocabulary words related to the ocean, sea animals, cleaning, and recycling. They also learned how to answer the following questions in Spanish:

  • What are the five oceans of the world?
  • What is the difference between oceans and seas?
  • How many seas are in the world?
  • Which one is the biggest mountain in the world?
  • How can we help to keep the oceans and seas clean?

The class got extra practice with the newly learned vocabulary and ocean knowledge by sharing presentations in front of the class about ocean animals (in Spanish of course!). Presentations included questions like:

  • Which is your favorite sea animal?
  • How can you help to keep the oceans clean?


Life in 1888

Saklan’s third graders recently traveled back in time to experience what school and life were like for children in 1888.

They started the day in the classroom with the three R’s: readin’, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.  Students read from McGuffey Readers (published in 1879), practiced writing in cursive using quill feather pens and ink, and practiced math on slate boards with chalk.

The students also learned how to weave with yarn and created some tin punch art, two popular crafts back in 1888. 

In music class, the third graders enjoyed square dancing and singing pioneer songs.

For lunch, the class walked down to the little yellow farmhouse on School Street where they picnicked under the trees, and also played on the swings and with the chickens.

During PE with Mr. Crabtree, the students participated in foot races and sack races, and played tug-o-war.

Finally, they ended the day making delicious butter in mason jars. The third graders really enjoyed their time travel back to 1888!

#SaklanHandson #SaklanFieldExperience

Rube Goldberg Machines

The third graders recently learned about the famous cartoonist Rube Goldberg. He is well known for the elaborate crazy contraptions he drew of complicated chain reactions that, in the end, performed a simple task. Each of the third graders were then inspired to use the engineering design process, together with what they learned about forces and motion in science, to create their own Rube Goldberg Machines. They each came up with their own design for a contraption with at least 4 chain reactions to complete a simple task.  The third graders used great perseverance to keep trying and redesigning until their machine worked! 

The third graders were excited to share their videos with each other and the second graders. Check out some of them below!


Pi Day

On Tuesday, March 14th, Saklan’s third and eighth graders celebrated every mathematician’s favorite holiday: Pi Day! Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference in relation to its diameter. It is celebrated on March 14 because the date format 3-14 are the first three digits of Pi. Third graders worked together with the eighth graders to see if they could find Pi by measuring the circumference and diameter of a cookie.

They also collaborated to write mnemonic devices to help remember the digits of Pi and wrote some original Pi-Ku poetry. The third graders really enjoyed collaborating with the eighth graders in learning about Pi!


Exploring Colors and Feelings

Last week, the second and third graders went on a field experience to the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek. While at the gallery, the students explored an exhibit by artist Erin Fong: The Sensation of Color. They were immersed in colors and connected how different colors can make you feel. They also created some of their own artwork as part of the exhibit!

Back on campus, the students continued their unit on color in art class where they asked the question “can colors make us feel different emotions and help us connect with others?” The second graders learned about color mixing and the different groups of colors on the color wheel. Afterwards students painted hearts as they engaged in an activity where they found their “complementary” (opposite) and “analogous” (neighbor) colors, among other color wheel based discoveries.

The third graders also learned about color mixing and the color wheel, and painted their hands to make the unique color wheel you see below!


Where Spanish is Spoken

Third graders have been learning about the countries where Spanish is spoken in the world. There are a total of 21 countries and more than 500 million people who speak Spanish in the whole world. 

The students did some research on some specific countries about population, typical food, music and dance, favorite sports and two famous people from that country, and then presented their findings to the  class.  

They had a great time and were really excited about this project!


On Thursday afternoon, Saklan’s 1st – 8th graders met with their family groups to discuss this month’s SEL topic: self-discipline.

The groups began by discussing what self-discipline means: recognizing or identifying that you need to help yourself to achieve a goal, task, assignment, etc. and being able to get yourself back on track.

Then the students watched this video of a lovable monster using tools to help stay on task! After the video they discussed the strategies the monster used: counting to 4, singing, imagining a cookie was a grandmother. The students then brainstormed additional strategies that could help them stay on task.

Each family group then used their list of strategies to act out self-disciplined ways to handle the following scenarios:

  • Someone cuts you in line.
  • You are having a hard time raising your hand, and keep calling out.
  • You are sad because you forgot your lunch.
  • You and your friend cannot stop giggling!
  • You are nervous/stressed over a test.
  • You are mad because someone grabbed the ball you were playing with and is now using it without asking.

The family groups ended their time together by creating posters showcasing suggestions to help others practice self-discipline in specific circumstances. Check out their posters below!


The Lion King KIDS Video

Before the Winter Break, we were treated to a wonderful performance of The Lion King KIDS by the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. If you weren’t able to join us for the show, or have been excitedly waiting to watch it again, check out the video of the performance below.

Thank you to our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students for the courage, creativity and dedication they exhibited throughout The Lion King KIDS production cycle.

#SaklanCreative #SaklanCourageous

The Lion King KIDS

For 30 years, The Lion King has been a cultural linchpin. Music and lyrics by Tim Rice and Elton John placed the movie firmly in our collective consciousness. The movie is accessible, and the story loosely based on The Epic of Sundiata-The Lion King of Mali, is well known and loved by Western audiences unfamiliar with African culture and stories. Then when The Lion King came to Broadway in 1997, the designers brought new elements from the story. Costumes, set pieces, makeup, and props all were inspired by elements of African folklore. What is more, The Lion King was one of Broadway’s first shows to openly advocate for conscious casting, and more songs were introduced.

Saklan’s production of The Lion King KIDS attempted to honor the Broadway tradition of the show. Our students’ goal was never to “pretend to be animals” or to hide their humanity, but rather to highlight how connected we, as humans, are to the animals that are portrayed. Their headdresses, designed by the students themselves in art class, took inspiration from real African masks and textures, and the choreography brought in the element of circles over and over again, reminding us that we are all a part of the circle of life, along with every animal on the savanna. Through their performance, our students claimed their place in this world as protectors of that circle of life. They spent hours learning lines, music, and choreography, but also discovered elements of the languages of Xhosa, Zulu, and Swahili. They know about the range of lions in Africa, and what role buzzards serve in the circle of life. They know that hyenas are social and deeply misunderstood, and so much more. They took that knowledge and used it to become advocates for the apex predator of the African grasslands, the African Lion.

Saklan students are remarkable because they care about more than themselves. This show was a vehicle to move forward their environmental advocacy, and their determination to do their best shows through in everything they do.

Thank you to everyone who donated cardboard, made masks, gathered costume pieces, painted faces, joined us for the performance, laughed and applauded.

Special thanks to:

  • Our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students for their courage, creativity and dedication to bring this show to life, to advocate for other people and animals, and for sharing their work with our community.
  • Lauren Haberly for her work with the actors on their masks and headdresses.
  • Javier Yacarini for his work on the set, and always saying “No problem!”
  • Joy Kim, Daisy Colby, Erin Moorhead and Toshie Baba for their ambition and creativity in creating and assembling Rhinos and Elephants.
  • John Miazga for carrying heavy things.
  • Astro Camacho and Jack Zippin for the gorgeous Elephant skeletons.
  • Every middle school student who painted, glued, and carried props.
  • And especially, Grace Chaffey for the vision, organization, confidence, patience, and inspiration she showed in directing the students to bring this wonderful story to life.
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