Fifth Grade State Reports

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The fifth grade class just completed their State Reports and shared their reports with their parents on Wednesday morning. Each student chose a state they wanted to learn more about.  They thoroughly researched their state and created a report including the following information about their state: history, attractions, geography, important people, agriculture and industry, and unique features. They also created a “choice chapter” where they each showed their creativity through models, collages, travel brochures, writing on topics of their choosing, and even an original rap song! The states represented in their reports are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. Please stop by the fifth grade classroom to take a look at their reports and take a virtual tour of some of our great states of the U.S.!

Volleyball Players Wanted

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Fifth thru eighth graders wanted to play in the 2017 Volleyball Season. Games will be played after school.  So far this is the schedule:

2017 Volleyball Season

Saklan Suns Volleyball Team Fifth Grade thru Eighth Grades

Wednesday, April 19th Saklan Suns vs. CCJD

*Tuesday, April 25th @4:15 PM East Bay Waldorf School vs. Saklan Suns

Thursday April 27th Saklan Suns vs. The Berkeley School

Thursday May 4th @4:15 PM Saklan Suns vs. East Bay Waldorf School

*Tuesday May 9th The Berkeley School vs. Saklan Suns

*Thursday May 18th Ecole Bilingue vs. Saklan Suns

Tuesday May 23rd Saklan Suns vs. Ecole Bilingue

*Home Games

Sign-up now!

Head’s Corner

Dear Saklan Community,

For the past two days, Saklan faculty and parents have come together for our second set of parent-teacher conferences. The close connection between teachers, parents and students is a hallmark of Saklan. These meetings which focus on celebrating student growth and setting goals for improvement are critical in forging the bond of collaboration, which will provide each student with an outstanding educational experience. If you have not been able to schedule a parent-teacher conference in these past two days, just ask your homeroom teacher or advisor to schedule a meeting at another time. It is important to us that we have a chance to meet and discuss your child’s growth at Saklan.

For the past few years our middle school students have been doing student-led conferences. This is a process whereby students play an active role in the conference and discuss and reflect upon their own progress and goals. This is a powerful way of having students engage in and show ownership over their own learning. Here are some student thoughts on doing these conferences:

  • Victoria (Grade 8) – A student led conference is a great way to check in on how you are doing and to figure out how to do better.
  • Tyler (Grade 6) – Student led conferences help us to know what we have to work on and take action.
  • Claire (Grade 8) – Student led conferences let you and your parents bring up and share your issues and it’s a nice way to check in with your teachers.
  • Olivia (Grade 7) – Student led conferences allow you to share your perspective on things and if you are in trouble you can create your own action plan.
  • Dhilan (Grade 8) – Student led conferences allow you to be comfortable in talking about your successes and issues in class.

Spanish exam

Next week, our middle school students will be taking the National Spanish Exam offered by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish. The National Spanish Examinations are online, standardized assessment tools for Grades 6 -12, given voluntarily by about 4000 teachers throughout the United States to measure performance (interpretive communication) and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language. The National Spanish Examinations are the most widely used tests of Spanish in the United States and are administered online. In 2016, a total of 169,697 students registered for the National Spanish Examinations. The purpose of the National Spanish Examination is to:

  • recognize achievement in the study of the Spanish language
  • promote proficiency in interpretive communication in the Spanish language
  • assess the national standards as they pertain to learning Spanish
  • stimulate further interest in the teaching and learning of Spanish

The results of the exam come out about a month after they are taken and students can receive a Bronze, Silver or Gold award based on their results.

Next Friday, March 31st we will hold our annual Grandparents and Special Friends Day.  This will start at 10:00AM with grandparents and special friends being greeted by and sharing refreshments with their grandchildren during morning recess. This will be followed by visits to the classroom where grandparents and special friends can see where our students work and participate in a fun collaborative activity. We will end the morning with a flag to celebrate a great day of fun, family and community. Our students are excited and looking forward to spending a fun morning with some of their favorite people. Please RSVP today so that we can be prepared for your visit.

Have a great weekend!

Peter

Abolitionists Project

In our continuing “Democracy in Action” study of race relations in America, our stellar 8th grade class just wrapped up an immersive project about the Abolitionist Movement. I’m proud of their serious–and fun!–approach to this project.

The assignment first involved researching historical power players in the 19th century struggle to end slavery. Students then created class presentations addressing the various methods of activism (e.g., writing books, giving speeches, educating the public, working within the system, tearing down the system, being a conductor on the Underground Railroad, leading armed rebellions, etc.). Significantly, the kids were challenged to try to dig into the psychology and motivation of major historical figures like Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman, and Frederick Douglass. The students also had to work hard to make connections in effort to understand how backgrounds and life-changing experiences shape personality and actions. During their presentations and impromptu role play debates, the kids aimed to embody the distinctive characters of our nation’s preeminent freedom fighters. In this way, the kids gained insight into what it truly means to stand up for your beliefs against all odds and make a difference in the world.

Donation to a Worthy Organization

After learning all about the ear and how we hear the second graders began the study of color and sight. Once again, they did many experiments to see how light travels and how prisms work. They even learned how to write their names in Braille. The highlight of this unit was when members of the Contra Costa Dog Raisers visited our class. They gave us a short lecture about preparing puppies to become guide dogs for the blind. We also presented our donation of $355.00 which we raised from our school bake sale.

Moraga Gardens Farm

As we are in the process of starting a long-term collaboration with our neighbor, Moraga Gardens Farm, please support them in the coming weekends during their annual Plant Starts Sale!

The annual Plant Sale will start Saturday, March 25 (rain or shine) and will continue both Saturdays and Sundays through the following three weekends, ending Saturday April 15th. The hours will be 10AM-3PM. The farm is located at 1290 Moraga Way in Moraga near the Safeway, and just adjacent to the Fire Station.

They will be offering a variety of heirloom and hybrid tomatoes, herbs, peppers and eggplants. All plants are grown locally from seed at the farm by the Moraga Gardens Farm volunteers.

Feel free to forward this to your fellow gardeners, friends, family and co-workers.

Head’s Corner

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Dear Saklan Community,

Our Annual Concert at the Lesher Center for the Arts is truly one of the most exciting events of the school year. Yesterday, a big audience of about 570 parents, relatives, friends, staff, and students were treated to a program that was fun, engaging and instructive. I would like to highly commend our music teacher, Mrs. Grace Chaffey, for another outstanding Annual Concert at the Lesher Center. I would also like to commend Mr. Isaac Narell, whose work with the 4th and 5th graders was superlative. A big thank you to the band which featured Saklan’s own Mr. Sam Prestianni, Mr. Isaac Narell, Ms. Ashley Jennings, Mr. Javier Yacarini, and alumnus James Rokas. The theme of our concert was “Rise Up – Motown, Funk and Soul.” This show was the culmination of a year-long educational exploration of music that has shaped popular culture and left us a rich legacy of tunes that have stood the test of time over the decades. I am certain that the theater full of parents, relatives, and friends were as impressed as I was by the unique talent, energy, and joy that our Saklan students can pack into one show!

Have a great weekend!

Peter

2017 Annual Concert

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Here’s to another inspiring performance by the Saklan students!

Powerful lyrics, beautiful voices, creative dance moves, and talented instrumentalists filled The Lesher Center with positive energy last night during the 2017 Annual Concert. Audience members felt compelled to get up and move to the music of Motown, Soul and Funk. Thank you to all who came out to support our community.