Last Friday morning there was much excitement on campus as we kicked off our learning buddy program for the year! Learning buddies are a purposeful way to encourage cross-grade friendships, help students develop a sense of responsibility and practice mentorship, and make learning fun!

During the first meeting, the buddies took time to get to know each other and did some reading together.

The older buddies marvelously modeled good reading behaviors by reading with expression and fluency for their younger buddies. Some of the older buddies were also honored to listen to their younger buddies read too.

The younger buddies thoroughly enjoyed getting to know their learning buddies, and are already asking when they get to meet with their buddies again!

#SaklanBuddies #SaklanCommunity

Celebrating Creativity, Courage and Collaboration

On September 15th, the third graders celebrated International Dot Day! International Dot Day is a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, inspired by Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot. The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark.” 

The students celebrated dot day by reading and discussing the book together as a class. Then the third graders worked together to create three collaborative dot paintings!  Check out their creations below.


Moving Up Day

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

This annual tradition allowed 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, classroom scavenger hunts, and enthusiasm filled the classrooms! If your child “moved up” today, please ask them all about it. They will likely have something enthusiastic to share!


Time Traveling 3rd Graders

Last week, the third graders traveled back in time to 1888 to experience a bit of what school and life was like for children during that time period. 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 their cursive writing using quill feather pens and ink, and practiced math problems on slate boards with chalk.

During morning recess, students participated in popular games from that time, like walking on can stilts, playing jump rope and hopscotch. After recess, the class went to art where Ms. Lauren taught them how to do circle weaving.

After art, the third graders listened to pioneer stories read aloud by Ms. Meredith in the library. For lunch, they walked down to the little yellow farmhouse on School Street where they picnicked under the trees and then played.

After lunch, the third graders came back to school and made butter in mason jars. The consensus was that the butter was delicious! Next, they had a three-legged race. Finally, they ended the day by learning to square dance with Mrs. Chaffey in music class. 

The third graders really enjoyed their time travel back to 1888!


Pen Pals

The third graders were very excited to receive their first letters back from their pen pals last week! Saklan’s third grade class is paired up with a third grade class from Parkside Elementary School in Lawrenceville, IL through the USPS PEN PAL Project. Saklan’s third graders wrote the first set of letters and mailed them off to Illinois back in early March. Ever since then, the third graders had been anxiously waiting for a reply, and on April 11th their letters finally arrived!

Through this project students learned how to write a friendly letter with an opening and closing, as well as how to address an envelope. The class also tied in some geography as they used a map to see where their pen pals live.

The third graders have already written their second letters back to their pen pals and hope to hear back from them soon!


Service to the Community

Cesar Chavez Day is a commemorative holiday celebrated yearly on March 31st in the U.S. The aim of this holiday is to celebrate the birth and the enduring legacy of the labor and civil rights’ movement that activist Cesar Chavez started while fighting for farm workers’ rights in the 1950s. Chavez gave people a sense of their own power by helping them discover that they could demand dignity and better wages. On March 31st each year, this day is commemorated to promote service to the community in honor of Cesar Chavez’s life, work, and legacy.

At The Saklan School, the kindergarten through seventh grade students supported and provided a service for The Contra Costa Humane Society by making much needed items for dogs and cats in their care, as well as learning about Cesar Chavez’s life and important legacy. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grade were tasked with making catnip sachets. The third and fourth graders made kitty pom poms for cats to play with while in their cages. The fifth grade class made several dog beds and pull toys. And finally, the sixth and seventh grade group made braided pull toys for dogs. The goal of the community service project was to show compassion and make the animals’ lives more comfortable and happy while they wait for their forever homes.

#SaklanCompassion #SaklanServiceLearning

Engineering Design Process

Saklan’s 3rd graders recently learned about the Engineering Design Process: a step-by-step guide that engineers use to solve problems. The engineering design process has six stages: 

1. Ask — Identify a problem, then ask questions to understand it better.  

2. Imagine — Brainstorm ideas on how to solve the problem.  

3. Plan — Choose one idea and plan how to create the solution.  

4. Create — Acquire any necessary materials and create the solution.  

5. Test — See if the solution works by collecting and analyzing data, and evaluating strengthens and weaknesses.  

6. Improve — Make adjustments to improve the solution, then test it again.

The class applied these ideas while completing a STEM challenge of trying to build a bridge made out of only pennies that was at least 3 centimeters tall and wide, and was strong enough to hold a LEGO mini figurine. Check out their creations below!


Using Data to Graph

The third graders recently completed a math unit on data and graphing. They learned about how to complete a survey, how to count votes with a tally chart, and how to display the results with various types of graphs.  In order to demonstrate their understanding of graphs, students worked together in groups to complete a graphing project. First, they came up with a question to ask their classmates, usually asking them to determine their favorite in a certain category. Next, they collected data by surveying their classmates. Finally, they worked together to create a poster with multiple types of graphs (bar graphs, pictographs, and line plot graphs) to display their findings.

Not only did the third graders show their understanding of the math standards, they also practiced the important skills of listening, communication, compromise, and collaboration that comes along with being a good team member. 


Fun with Magnets

Last week, the third graders had fun with magnets, exploring the surprising properties of magnets and experimenting with this invisible force that can act at a distance. They discovered the push and pull of magnets, how magnets attract certain types of metals, and how a magnet’s force can work through other materials like paper and even their hands! 

The third graders thoroughly enjoyed this hands-on learning opportunity!

#SaklanHandsOn #SaklanAcademic

Respectful & Accepting

This week, the 1st through 8th graders met with their families groups to discuss the January Social Emotional Learning themes of being respectful and accepting.

The 8th graders led a discussion of what the words respectful and accepting mean, and then shared the book Where Oliver Fits, by Cale Atkinson, in which Oliver finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought it would be.

Following a discussion of the story, the each student decorated a paper puzzle piece with words that describe them. Check out the puzzle pieces that each family group created below.


%d bloggers like this: