The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

Sunday 22 January 2012
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Week 17: Kitties Explore Temperature in Space

Kitten role playing continues to play a big role in our day.  Occasionally a kitty needs to go to the hospital and recover.  This time it was due to pollution in the lungs.  Luckily they had a machine that removed the toxic pollution.  Could there be a pollution removing machine for the atmosphere and oceans too?  One of the doctor’s advice really resonated with me; “If they do something wrong, just talk to them.”  Even the kitties are compassionate!

“Kitten’s First Full Moon” by Kevin Henkes and “Higher!  Higher!” by Leslie Patricelli were big hits this week.   And class written books included “Want to Know a Jack Fact?” and “Want to Know a Sun Fact?”  based on an old favorite “Want to know a Bat Fact?”

The freedom of working at our own pace is always a beautiful feeling.  Does it take us a bit longer to make our calendar?  Sure!  As of Friday, January is complete and we are happy with it.  Not only that, a student was inspired to write all the numbers for our February calendar as well.    We are actually ahead of schedule now!

During math workshop students have been sorting shapes into equal sets but not equal amounts of each shape.   Our creations vary each day as do the types of shapes they require:

Student 1: I need more rhombuses.  Does anyone have extra rhombuses?
Student 2:  Here! (passing 3 to S1) I’m pretending that one came from S3, once came from S4, and one came from me.
Hands on activities + real world problem solving = Math Awesomeness! 

Other highlights this week include:

  • Kitties buying bio-fuel from Greenie using handmade cat money
  • Creating ships that run on “good gas” that is “good for pollution.”

We’ve been working on keeping Star Wars (among other branded items) out of the classroom.  But, sometimes we want to share those types of items for show and tell and it can be really frustrating to not be able to do so.   While I prefer you check in with your child before school to discuss their item, I also know that many Gardeners are passionate about Star Wars, and sharing related items is their way of making connections with others.  To allow students to make these connections while still adhering to our guidebook, pre-show and tell has become an option.  It takes place on the playground before we head to the classroom.  (If you know your child will be bringing an item to school that is branded please be prepared to stay the duration of pre-show and tell so that you may keep it safe until pick up time.)

Thank you families for donating more Trash 4 Teaching supplies!  It inspired ships and pods building. Thermometers on board collected data while they explored space.  Expanding on this idea we will do related experiments and predict temperatures in space and then research missions to find more answers about temperatures in space.   We will be asking more questions about space and explore the materials and resources I picked up from JPL/NASA.

Monday is park day.  We are expecting heavy rain tomorrow so we may be meeting at St.Andrew’s hall. Tentatively, we plan on meeting at the Park and taking a rain walk.  Please dress warm and water resistant.  Keep your phones readily available in case an early pick up is requested by your child.

There is no school this Friday as its Teacher Day/Family Field Trip!  Please arrive to our location by 10.15 a.m. and bring $10 per family. The tour consists of a reading, lesson on the locomotive and walking tour. The official program is about one hour long.  Also, if you have any Thomas trains, there is a great table for play (it is not stocked with trains).

Our January parent workshop will be on the 30th at 7pm.  Our topic is ‘Shifting Education Paradigms.’  We will also welcome parents who are interested in learning more about TKG.  Look forward to seeing you!

Happy Learning,
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson

p.s. New photos now on Flickr!

Growth: Themes & Plans

Week 17 will focus on the following developmental concepts:


Learn positive ways to release tension (mindfulness)

Throw and catch (comet/sun/planet catch)

Large motor skills (big exercise ball games)


Temperature (math & science)

Using data from experiments to make predictions(critical thinking, science & language arts, environmental studies)

Retelling familiar stories (language arts)

Book making (language arts)

Formulate personal learning goals about space (capacity building, writing, speaking, divergent thinking)

Sequencing (art, fine motor skills, critical thinking)


Consider and listen to different perspectives (co-operative learning, humane education)


Develop self-control and patience (respect, confidence)

Develop autonomy, initiative, and a sense of competence (confidence, self-regulation)


This Friday is Family Field Trip Day (Teacher Planning Day)!

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly remindersfrom the TKG Office:

  • Next Parent Night is Monday Jan 30th: “Shifting Education Paradigms”  For more information and to share this link with your friends.
  • Please Return Outstanding Forms: physician’s report, Emergency Form, etc.
  • Friendly reminder, TUITION is due on February 1st.

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email t.valdez(at)knowinggarden(dot)org.


BOOK COLLECTION is starting now.  Ask your FRIENDS and FAMILY to donate!  Sale date to be announced soon so start bringing your donations to school!

We love our Parent Volunteers!

TV will be our parent volunteer this week.  If you have some time, please check in with Michelle for any take-home projects.


“Changing Education Paradigms” with Melody Elder.  Monday Jan 30th, 7pm in our Classroom.  No cost to attend.  See you!

Resource Of The Week:

“That’s just language learning. These words have no special status as taboo words,” says Paul Bloom, Ph.D., of Yale University. “Learning they’re taboo words is a later step.”

Why Kids Curse/NPR by

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