The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

19 February 2012
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Week 21: Kitty Builders

Discoveries at TKG
Happy President’s Day!

Park day was full or sprinkles and sunshine.  We spent time in the tree house, exploring the pond, thinking about what makes the water look green, watching ducks, crows, hummingbirds, and others we couldn’t identify.  We counted and spelled names along with the word ‘and’ with each push of the swing.  Our afternoon was spent journal writing, and experimenting with sticks in the waterfall.  When a stick got stuck we used teamwork to solve the problem.  We even inspired another child to test their own collected sticks.  (I’m happy her mother encouraged it.  I often overhear “no, you’ll get wet, hurt, or dirty” on park days from  non TKGers). Thanks MJ for supporting us on yet another beautiful park day and embracing our Gardeners in getting wet and dirty.

Throughout the week we compiled a camping supply list, built campgrounds, discussed animals that lived where we are camping, and touched on manmade habitats.  Thursday students were in the mood for giving.  Their kittens made presents and delivered them to each other.  Each gift was personal to the student receiving.  Greenie even received a twin and broccoli flavored candy among other gifts.  And the (Lego) wrappers and boxes were all recycled!

We continue to work on our clean up procedure.  Students have been excited about checking out materials and we are working on keeping it to the bag minimum.  We have been discussing ways to minimize what needs to be cleaned up.  “Keeping kitty workshop items in their box when other plans are out” was added to our agreements list.  Often the boxes are dumped out, but this way has proven helpful.  It is an ongoing process and students have been coming up with some great ideas on making clean up, check out, and going home smoother.  Thursday was our best clean up/check out day yet.  Spontaneously, “The Claw” came out.  It didn’t know what belonged where.  It often needed to be readjusted at my elbow, guided, and even frozen to allow more time.  Students worked together in getting to items before I did, as well as transporting boxes as a team.  We had a blast playing while transitioning.

I’ve begun meeting with students for conferences this week.  We’ve discussed everything from wanting students to not be sick to personal goals and feeling about our classroom.  I truly valued these meetings and think every school should have teacher student meetings.  In fact, our plans next week came directly from a student!  We both were so energized and excited about it we wished it wasn’t the weekend, let alone a three day weekend.

Our field trip to the Western Museum of Flight was a great success!  We “rode” in the fighter plane, saw a replica of the moon lander, learned about flight suits, studied in the library, examined an actual blast from a fighter’s ammunition and launched planes of our own.  We even got to eat our snack under a plane on the tarmac!

Next week our kittens (beginning Tuesday) will be building their own amusement park.  We will collaborate, plan by making lists and blueprints, compiling supplies, and building and testing our rides along the way.  I’m imagining what fun the kittens will have!  From the rides to the concession stands and kitty money being exchanged for tickets and food, the possibilities are endless.

Because Monday is a holiday, we will begin in the classroom on Tuesday.

Happy Learning,
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson

p.s. Check out even more photos on Flickr!

Growth: Themes & Plans

Week 21 will focus on the following developmental concepts:


Collaborate and cooperate with each other on building an amusement park (capacity building)

alternative approaches to solving problems (co-operative learning)


Planning, drawing, and building an amusement park (divergent thinking, engineering, creativity)

Label rides, games, concessions, and other features (language arts: phonemic awareness, writing skills)

Determine prices of rides and other goods (math: number sense)

Use tools, resources, gravity, force, etc. to power rides (science)

Create safety rules for park (health and well-being)

Plan, describe, produce a show or parade (performing arts)


Gain confidence in trial and error (confidence building)

Develop perseverance to complete a project


Building (fine motor skills)


Next Parent Meeting is scheduled for March 27th.  Guest speaker tbc.  Next TKG Field Trip is scheduled for March 30th.  Details coming soon!

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Please collect childrens, best-sellers, and cooking/gardening books for our upcoming Book Sale.  Possilbe dates: Mar 17 or 24th tbc.
  • 25% Fundraiser contribution can be paid in advance of end of school year
  • Don’t forget to sign-in and check out Parent Binder each morning at drop off.
  • Tuition is due on March 1st.

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


March Board Meeting will be on Monday March 12th.  All are welcome.

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.


No park day this week (no school on Monday).  See you at 321Blastoff on Tuesday!

Resource Of The Week:

Tell, Play, Pretend, Try, Read, Listen, Ask, Show, Take Time, Trust, Delight, Let Go, Give…
100 Ways to be Kind to your Child

Read More…

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