In first grade Science, the students learned all about weathering by water, wind, temperature, and chemicals. They did experiments with erosion. The first graders used graham crackers (pretend dirt) and answered questions such as “What happens to rocks?”.
They have been learning so much about rocks. First, the students learned how 3 types of rocks are formed: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. Then, they discussed the “properties” of their rocks and learned the difference between rocks and minerals.
In my letter on Wednesday of this week I mentioned that while the closing of the campus was a remote possibility, it was less remote than the week before. I did not foresee that I would be writing this particular letter two days later, but here I am.
As of Monday, March 16th, the campus will be closed in order to keep our students safe as well as help slow the spread of Coronavirus. On Monday and Tuesday, teachers and staff will be training and working to get ready to use distance learning tools. By Wednesday we will begin to deliver our curriculum remotely. While it will look different at each grade level, we will be holding classes remotely and will be expecting students to engage and participate in classes online. We are planning on returning to campus on April 6th after Spring Break.
I realize that keeping students home during the school year is disruptive and can be difficult for families. As a community, I am hoping we can help each other. If you find yourself in a situation regarding child care or anything else, please use our PA Facebook page to reach out for help.
More information from teachers about distance learning will be sent out by Monday. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me.
A couple of weeks ago, the third grade class went to the Blackhawk Museum 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 our studies.
The students 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. One of the third graders favorite activities was spinning the “wheel of death” to learn about the many ways the Native Americans or Pioneers might have died since life back then was much harder than it is today. They also got to briefly explore the other exhibits of the museum including the auto collection, the African art exhibit and the China exhibit.
Chilean born artist and educator, Indira Urrutia, visited the Art Room last week. Both the 4th and 5th grade have been introduced to weaving, but only using traditional materials like yarn or raffia. Miss Natalie thought it would be very interesting for the students to learn about the journey of an artist, how an artist is inspired, and how that translates to their own artwork. The process of weaving with thin wire has its form of challenges, but the Saklan artists persevered through those moments because they were so excited to weave! Lots of the students enjoyed working with a new material and process, not to mention some of the parent volunteers were just as excited! The 5th grade is to start an abstract wire sculpture project following this activity and the 4th grade will work with on a recycled weaving project.
The 7th graders recently wrapped up their Hawaii field study with an interdisciplinary final involving five brief essays and a poster project covering a range of academic topics in Science, Humanities, and Language Arts. The writing components addressed issues related to the environmental effects of human activity on the islands, adaptations and evolutionary changes of the flora and fauna, and the impact of key historical events, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, on the Hawaiian people and their culture.
Students also wrote about the social-emotional challenges they faced on the trip as they tried to come together as a group and build stronger relationships. All of these essays were rigorously revised, using the step-by-step revision process the kids have been practicing in Language Arts. Finally, the 7th graders designed posters to educate the public about significant issues that affect the evolution of species, the environment, the ocean, or the islands themselves.
Learning Spanish in a vibrant and interactive learning community is meaningful. Mrs. Padilla is always looking for ways to reach more students by integrating technology into the classroom. These resources offer students a wide range of useful, creative, and motivating tools to make language real and teach students the grammar needed to accomplish the communicative objective.
In the blue and yellow block, Spanish students created a video to practice the present tense of -AR verbs. This practice lets students manipulate grammatical structure in small and manageable chunks. It is very true that incorporating tasks like doing a video to develop creativity tends to be more interesting and fun for students. Also, making a video helps to make connections to see and use information in new and different ways. This technique supports students to learn and recall information more effectively as they take risks and are more positive working cooperatively with others. Take a look at some of their work.
Saklan is proud to announce that Hoot Owl Teacher, Traci McMillan, has been appointed as our Early Childhood Director. She fills some pretty big shoes as Mrs. C has stepped aside after 11 years of exceptional leadership.
Traci became interested in teaching while working with three Bay Area art based non-profits. MOCHA (Museum of Children’s Art), San Francisco Children’s Art Center and Precita Eyes Muralists. She enjoyed how free and uninhibited children became when creating art and was inspired by their creativity, fearlessness, and originality. It was working with those nonprofits that she began to view art as a means for children to learn self-expression and build community.
Traci is not only inspired by children, but by two educational giants, Aristotle and Maria Montessori. Aristotle’s famous quote, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” This is Traci’s guiding principle of the importance of balancing the social-emotional with the academic. From Montessori, Traci takes to heart the fact that when students have a hand in directing their own learning they become independent and collaborative.
Saklan is lucky to have found in Traci an educational leader that is both talented and inspiring. We look forward to many years of her guidance and inspiration.
After their Hawaiian field experience in February, the 7th graders came back in awe of the beauty of Oahu and learned about the sadness of the trials and tribulations of the Polynesian people and those affected by the Pearl Harbor attack. But, history did not stop after Pearl Harbor. Instead, it launched America into a World War with one of its enemies at the time, Japan.
In Humanities class, they watched an important documentary film called White Light, Black Rain. The film documented the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the United States dropped the first two atomic bombs on these unsuspecting Japanese cities. Fortunately, by August 10, 1945 Japan surrendered, which helped to end World War II. Unfortunately, this launched the world into the nuclear weapons age.
In Humanities class, students will be researching the pros and cons on keeping an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Then, the class will prepare and take part in a live debate to understand the importance of research and preparation of a well-crafted argument, how to present in a dynamic way, how to listen and offer a rebuttal during the debate, and to learn the complexity of the nuclear arms issue in current time.
Each color block of middle school students has been working with clay for the month of February. Learning to hand build with coils, slabs, and pinch pots is an essential part of understanding 3D artworks.
Green block has been working with the figure. ArEach work of art has a story to tell.tists could take inspiration from Ancient Greek, African, and contemporary figurative sculpture. Next, Orange block has been working on creative teapots. They are developing functional design while creating a one of a kind teapot. Artists made their own teacup set as well for when they test their designs. Finally, Blue Block has been working on animal sculptures. They chose an animal they love and/or want to learn more about to report on.
Figuring out how to make your artwork stand, function, keeping it hollow, and making your idea from start to finish, is a process of perseverance, problem-solving, and creativity. We are finishing up projects by glazing their artwork and firing for a second time in our kiln.
The Hoot Owls spent the month of February learning about pond life. They learned about the life cycles of different pond creatures. They also talked about how plants and animals work together to create healthy environments. The Hoot Owls were able to study plants, bugs and pollen up close when they visited Ms. O in the Science Lab! The students looked at these specimen under real microscopes! The Hoot Owls were also excited to see Ms. O’s fish tanks and lego wall!