From Under Our Big Tree: Week 9 at TKG

“Travel & Transportation Continued!

Arrrr week began at Ryan Park.  We heard from each other that pirate ships have masts, sails, hulls, and travel in fleets if there is more than one.  Pirate ships have more than one person on it.  They have a crew and each person has a different job.  Each crew member has a pirate name.  We chose our own pirate names for the day.  Then, our pirate ships were invaded by toddlers.  Just as the toddlers find interest in us, we find them interesting too.  They manipulate sand and climb ladders a bit differently than we do.  The park also had several good climbing trees.  Books were read in the tree.  Our bodies climbed, jumped, swung, ran, rolled, shimmied, and twisted all day.  As a landlubber I look forward to meeting here again, maties!

When building our velocity ( project throughout the week we figured out there are many uncontrolled variables to determine if force played a role.  “The force doesn’t matter, it matters how good your car is.”  Interesting student observation, as I had noticed some wheels rolled easier than others.  Blue prints were designed before, during, and after our model building.  Eight vehicles were brought by a student and handed out so each person (including me, yay!) were given the same amount of cars…this took a few minutes of problem solving and dialogue.   Eventually each person had an equal amount of vehicles to use for our velocity project.  Division in the real world!  These situations have played a continuous role in our daily activities.   (

It seems that the highlight of most days has been workshop so we have moved our plans around and have workshop immediately after morning meeting/message.  As a result morning meeting is becoming more challenging to focus on.  Each day is new so we will see how this schedule change plays out as we continue to work on our transition time and schedule.  The beauty of the Knowing Garden is the flexibility in our day.  “I like this (velocity/building) project!  Let’s cancel the other projects!” resulted in checking in with all students (and the teacher) and having extra time to work on the current project.  Hearing this enthusiasm combined with communicating a solution for needing more time all in one breath was beautiful.  Thank you to parent volunteers for your continued support and flexibility in these moments.

Baking a pumpkin pie as a group contains many more steps and longer time than originally planned.  We read and followed directions, tasted and measured ingredients, resolved how each person can have and use their turn, mixed, and then we ran out of time to bake!  Baking the following day was an option, but who wants to wait a whole day for a pie?  Not us.

Kitty escape pods, aircrafts, and all sorts of transportation devices were built using trash!  That’s right, trash!  Trash 4 Teaching ( supplies were recycled and used in ways I didn’t imagine while picking out items.  I foresee current and future projects really taking off with these materials.

We began a second workshop time on Friday.  We assembled our November calendar, worked with patternables, made a shape list, manipulated clocks, and had a great time together.  I originally called this time math workshop, but considering “math” is not limited to workshop, we will work on a new name together. 

Our interest in transportation has grown and lava has begun taking a role in our play…so Week 9 will continue to build upon last week’s topics.  We will build sailboats and travel to islands all over the world.  We will take a closer look at volcanoes and lava.  We will look at boats from the past, present, and future.  Painting will be introduced as an additional outside activity.

Monday we will meet under our big tree and then walk to Park, please pick up there.

Happy Learning,

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson

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