5th Graders Choose Kind

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Fifth graders just finished reading the book, Wonder. This is an amazing story about a fifth grade boy, August, who was born with a severe facial deformity. Up until now, he has been home-schooled by his mother. Now, his parents feel it is important for August to go to school and meet other students. Going to school is filled with many challenges and successes, not only for August, but for many of the other characters. This story has many important themes. One prevalent theme is: Kindness. Fifth graders discussed the many ways they show kindness to others.

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Students chose twelve ways they show kindness and have written them on their “Rainbows of Kindness” art projects. If you are looking for an exciting story, this is the book for you! Fifth graders choose “kind.”

Hopscotch Tournament

The Saklan School’s Third Annual Back to School Hopscotch Tournament has concluded. Back in September over forty contestants started a single elimination tournament playing hopscotch during recess.

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The matches where very close, with a few perfect games. Aaron (7th) finished fourth. Sadie (4th) finished third. The final match was between Niko (3rd) and Harrison (8th). Both finalists played perfect games and another finals match was needed to determine a champion. Harrison pulled it off with Niko close behind!

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Shout out to all the competitors, they all did a great job! The next recess contests will be a hula-hoop competition and the Saklan Cup soccer round-robin.

If I Were Trapped in a Snow Globe

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!

Middle School Art Elective

This Middle School Art Elective focuses on the human form in Sculpture. Students can proportionately sculpt the body or be inspired by artist Alberto Giacometti’s figures. The students create their figures out of foil, pipe cleaners and tape, before using paper mache.

Some of the students are making separate props for their figures such as a skateboard, surf board, book, and a lacrosse stick. The last class will be spent painting the figures.

Head’s Corner

You Say Tomato, I Say Field Study

If you have heard us talk about our students’ “field trips” recently, you may have noticed that we try to exchange the word “trip” with “study” or “experience,” or even used the term “field work.” Words matter, they send specific messages in our educational culture. The phrase field trip is predominately used when describing experiential learning. But “field trip” sounds close to going on a fun excursion as opposed to doing the work of real world learning.

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Today, our kindergartners went “into the field” to do the serious work of researchers. They are currently studying the different aspects of what makes a community and traveled to the Moraga Fire Station. At the station, they interviewed the firemen about the different roles they play in our community. They discovered that a fireman not only puts out fires but helps with medical emergencies, educate citizens, as well as participates in activities that bring our community closer. While I am sure the students had fun (engaged learning is fun), make no doubt about it, the students were doing the work of researchers in the field.

Next week, our 8th graders head to Washington D.C. to do field work. Their objective is to understand how D.C. represents American cultural values. They have been doing research over the past two weeks in order to do a real world investigation of their driving question. To understand their question at a deeper level, they will be examining artifacts, hearing from experts, as well as learning from each other.

In the case of both the 8th graders and the kindergartners, students are doing the serious work of researchers. They are investigating, talking with experts, reflecting and revising their understanding. In other words, they are approaching learning like graduate students. Which is why we prefer the phrase “field experience” or “field study” to field trip as they more accurately describe the serious nature of the work our students do.

Thoughtfulness Is…

 

The Owlets had fun again with their big 6th grade buddies last week. Before they met with their big buddies, the Owlets learnt what thoughtfulness is, and then their big buddy explained it again. Then they made an ornament that said “Thoughtfulness is…”

 

Big and little buddies discussed how they are thoughtful and the big buddy wrote their responses on the ornament. Some of what the Owlets and big buddies said was:

  • “Thinking of others before myself.” – Brooke, 6th grade
  • “Helping with my baby brother.” – Harper, Owlet
  • “Helping others when they get hurt.” – Caroline, Owlet
  • “Treating others how they want to be treated.” – Evy, 6th grade
  • “Sharing toys.” – Catalina
  • “Picking up trash.” – Isabel

Ms. Joy made 2 Christmas trees, one for the Owlets door and one for the middle school area, that has their thoughtfulness ornaments on them.

Robotics

The 1st grade is in the science lab this month learning about robots and coding. Students have taken part in a few challenges. First, with a push button mouse students had to learn how robots think, and how that is different than we do. They moved their mouse through a track to reach food, water and finally shelter after avoiding danger, such as a cat and fire!

Recently, the 1st graders have moved on to Wonder Dashbots. These are app based robots where the students learn to code for different tracks, sounds, lights, etc. They have become awesome little programmers!

Hoot Owls Learn About Nutrition

The Hoot Owls have been learning about nutrition and what better way to do that than help make some healthy and delicious food. Hoot Owls first did an herb taste test to get used to trying new things. We sampled sage, oregano, basil and mint! We recorded whether or not we liked the herbs just like scientists. Hoot Owls also helped chop vegetables for a veggie stir fry. Some Hoot Owls said it was their first time chopping and using a knife. We also made our own stir-fry sauce.

We made flour tortillas from scratch using only flour, olive oil, water and salt. We used the tortillas to make quesadillas!

For Hanukkah, we were visited by Jacob Eddy’s grandmother, Robin, who helped us make potato latkes! We peeled and grated the potatoes, cracked the egg and stirred it all together with flour.

Self-Portraits by Middle School

Each student in the Middle School Green Block (grades 6th-8th) is working on their self-portrait. They are starting the process using the grid method. This is a technique used to accurately draw large scale. The students use their rulers to accurately draw the contour of their face and shoulders. They will finish the portrait in gray scale and learn shading and blending techniques.

Lindsay Wildlife Comes to Saklan

On Wednesday, docents from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum came to school and did a wonderful presentation for the Kindergarten through Second Grade on Animal Habitat. The students discussed and saw many wild animals that live in our neighborhood and found out about their habitats and adaptations.

To help their learning, the students also saw and touched some wild friends: a tarantula, a gopher snake and a guinea pig. They learned so much and had a wonderful time!