This summer, seven Saklan teachers (Mrs. C, Ms. Puno, Ms. Prizeman, Ms. Rokas, Ms. Burton, Ms. Ivonne and Mr. Crabtree) attended a four-day intensive Responsive Classroom training seminar. For those of you who may not be familiar with Responsive Classroom, it is an evidence-based approach to teaching that merges engaging and challenging academics with the social emotional needs of each student. Much of what Responsive Classroom recommends are practices we already do and believe in at Saklan, but the training has enhanced our toolbox and solidified our approach to working with students. To discover more about Responsive Classroom please click here.
The third grade class went to the Blackhawk Museum on Thursday, May 23rd to explore the “Spirit of the Old West” exhibit. This exhibit is dedicated to presenting a balanced narrative of both Native Americans and American Settlers—depicting their challenges, their successes and failures, and their ways of life. Since the two main social studies units in third grade are about Native Americans and Pioneers, this was the perfect field experience to complement their studies.
They saw many of the animals that roamed the plains and mountains, many artifacts from Native Americans and Pioneers, a life size replica of a covered wagon, and a 150 foot long “miniature” diorama that tells the story of the settlement of the western plains. The third graders favorite activity was spinning the “wheel of death” to learn about the many ways the Pioneers might have died since life back then was much harder than it is today.
Last Monday the third graders went back in time to 1888 and experienced life as a pioneer child at the Tassajara OneRoomSchoolhouse. They came dressed in their finest pioneer clothes and brought their lunches in a basket or a kerchief tied to a stick.
They learned that the schoolhouse is over 130 years old and was built when Grover Cleveland was president. The students got to write on slate boards with chalk and also use a quill pen dipped in ink. Some fun recess activities included playing jump rope, walking on cans and walking on stilts. They also sang songs and played instruments popular in the 1800’s. The third graders had a great day and decided that school was fun in 1888!
On Tuesday, March 5th, the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades went out to explore our Bay Area community by traveling to the San Francisco Symphony. They attended a concert called “Play Me a Story,” designed to help students identify different sounds made by each unique instrument, and connect them to characters or events in a story. The students and teachers then heard a program that introduced them to the Overture from “Barber of Seville” by Rossini, “Elephants” by Camille Saint-Saens, and “Scheherezade” and “Flight of the Bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korskov, amongst others.
The musicians in the symphony expertly demonstrated to our students how a flute can be a bird, how and oboe can be a duck, how a group of violins can be a swarm of bumblebees, and how a trombone and trumpet conversation can be a battle! Everybody’s favorite moment was when the percussion section played us the story of a ship crashing against the rocks!
Introducing children to instrumental music at an early age is so important, but amongst the laundry list of reasons, one stands out; helping children experience the Symphony in person helps them understand fully that music is played by humans, not by computers, phones, or Alexa. Going outside our school gates and realizing that it is with our own bodies and brains that we create beauty helps our children realize that they too can create art, music or something beautiful, and that it is not out of their reach. For Saklan students, the experience helped them understand concepts reinforced every day in their classrooms and allows them to make a career connection into the greater community.
After finishing their clay looms, the third graders used watercolor to paint the bisque ware. Using watercolor instead of glaze, the students can blend and overlay multiple colors. Miss Natalie sprayed the looms with a clear glaze overcoat before they started weaving.
Here, the students are learning to set up their warp yarn and begin the center of their circular weaving. The students worked together to help one another when we got a little stuck in the process. It was a great day of teamwork and problem solving. They were surely proud with the progress they made on their weavings! Next week, they will continue weaving with a second color.
Third graders have been learning about Native Americans and got to enhance their classroom studies by visiting the Museum of the American Indian in Novato.
They enjoyed hearing stories about how the Coast Miwok tribe lived harmoniously with the land. The students got to learn how two types of Miwok homes are built (and go inside one of them) and experienced drilling a shell with a pump drill to make a necklace. It was a wonderful experience that really brought their learning to life.
Wednesday was a special day for our elementary campus. All of our PS – 5th grade students got to “move up” to next year’s grade for a portion of the morning. This has been an annual tradition so that the students get a snapshot of what next year could be like. The teachers planned special activities that highlighted their grade and enjoyed getting to know their rising students a little better. If your child “moved up” on Wednesday, please ask them all about it. I’m sure they will have something enthusiastic to share! #SaklanConnected
Tumbling down from the sky and landing in our play yard, our Owlets and Hoot Owls had a special visitor this week. They were deliriously excited, to say the least. A pigeon! Close up and personal! They were amused and had many questions. Their curiosity was uncontainable. Look! He has a green bracelet! What is it? Why is it here? Is it hurt?
Our little Friend was tagged with his “name” and his owner’s information. After a little bit of detective work on the American Racing Pigeon Union site, we were able to find out that he was lost and where he came from.
To make a 2-day story short, our Feathered Friend is at home with Matt from Concord. Matt says “Thank you” to our Owlets and Hoot Owls for showing compassion and concern for the safety and well-being of our Feathered Friend.
The third grade students have been busy working on a creative writing piece titled: “If I Were Trapped in a Snow Globe.” They used the strategies we learned in our personal narrative writing unit to create such fun, original stories!
Their writing, along with a picture of their snow globe, is on display in our classroom. Please come by and take a look!
The third grade has been working on using adjectives in their writing. Last week, they gave a spooky Halloween presentation for their parents where each student shared their original Halloween themed couplet.
Their poetry is on display in the third grade classroom. Please feel free to stop by to read their poems!