The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

2 June 2012
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Week 34: Highlights & Important Information

Discoveries at TKG
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry JamesThis week was all about…


  • Library Time: Where The Sidewalk Ends is becoming a new favorite.  Throughout the week we took turns choosing poems and acted them out, repeated the words, altered and imagined a different version, or just giggled along with the rhyming silliness.  We continue to enjoy Yoko’s Paper Cranes
  • Park Day:  Students practiced initial letter sounds while they searched sounds and words of plant names.
  • Choice:  The meeting leader chooses the book we will read.  When other students are interested in hearing other books, we discuss and make plans to read all the books that are requested.


  • Sidewalk chalk: We REALLY got into it on Thursday.  Students were telling vivid stories as they mixed chalk with water.  There was a “tsunami” that was “destroying” everything…I wrote the word destroy and then offered it up to be destroyed.  Others were interested and began telling me what verbs (and other words) to write and then acted out.  Chalk learning supports fine and gross motor skills.
  • Origami: Fine motor skills, following sequencing directions, coloring and writing.  We followed two sets of directions and even pulled up a video…
  • Schedules:  We have mastered creating our schedules.  In the following weeks we will be working on checking back in with our schedules and altering them as needed. Here is a tip on managing the “getting out of the house” routine at home.


  • Math Workshop: From ships to rides and stores, students’ creations evolved.  We used an abacus as we built and two students (who were parallel building) used 67 shapes in each ship!  Stores had everything from freezer aisles to music playing.  (cross-curricular learning at its finest)   Singing while building has been occurring more and more.
  • Time:  How long does it take to brush your teeth?  When does school start?  We practiced skip counting by 5s to tell time.
  • Counting: Counting and visualizing numbers continues to be part of many of our projects.


  • Farms:  What makes a farm?  Who lives on a farm and why?  We made clay animals and people while discussing animals, roles and jobs.  We experimented with using material scraps for animal parts like beaks and feathers.

Social Studies/History

  • Farms Long Ago and Now:  We briefly touched upon and will dive into more next week.
  • Scooter City:  Students, teacher, and parent volunteer collaborated and created a city.  Highlights included safety guidelines, directions, symbols, houses, prices, Fun Zone, gas stations, homes, house warming block party, police, and so much more!

Emotional Intelligence

  • Leading Meeting meetings are happening regularly
  • Responsibility:  Cleaning up crayons after schedule is made, snack pack up, eating at snack table, checking in with the teacher, etc.

Physical Development 

  • Dance: A student added “modern ballet” to her schedule…she held a captive audience.
  • Yoga: breathing, stretching
  • Ride-On Plan:  a blend of gross motor skills and fine motor skills, safety concepts, problem solving, and cross-curricular goodness!

Social Development

  • Taking Turns:  Can I go next?  Are you still using this?  I’m almost done.  I need one more time….
  • Sharing Ideas: clay animal creations, math workshop, Scooter City
  • Divergent Thinking:  looking at things differently, making different versions is encouraged


  • Personal Schedules: While we are working on autonomy, we have also been coming together as a group more often and flowing through our day as a whole while still expressing different ideas.
  • Personal Space: Observation of spatial relation to other students, safe distance for ride on plan.
  • Yoga: meditation, breathing, stretching
  • Physical Needs: Moving outdoors to release physical energy

Creative Arts

  • Crafts:  Clay animals, painting, origami and beading support fine motor skills. We attempted making paper cranes too.  We followed two sets of directions and even pulled up a video…we made it pretty far considering the complexity of some of the folds. We made clay animals and experimented with using material scraps for animal parts like beaks and feathers.  We are also painting our portfolio boxes.
  • Music:  The stores (math workshop) needed music to play for shopping customers.  I put on some music and they said it was TOO classical and wanted more rock, so I switched to my jazz/gypsy station…perfect for shoppers looking for veggies and toys!
  • Play: we took turns choosing poems from Where The Sidewalk Ends and acted them out, repeated the words, altered and imagined different versions.  Check out this Summer Lesson Idea Here!

Overheard in our Classroom/Play Yard:

  • A student was painting and asking my favorite colors.  I replied green, yellow, and pink.  (I’m not a pink girl, but I’ve overheard “pink” ideas in the past and wanted to open the door for conversation.)  Student:  Pink is a girl’s color.  Me:  I know some boys who like pink.  Student:  Who?  Me:  My former students (listed a couple).  Student:  Oh, look, I used pink.  Me:  I see!
  • “I have 8 and you have 6.  If I give you 1, we will both have 7!”
  • Parent Volunteer: “At 9:45, Student A has 39 shapes…(little while later)…At 10:00am, Student B has 31 shapes…”  Student: “Hey, I have 8 more shapes!”  PV: “8 more shapes than what?” Student: “8 more shapes than Student B!”
  • “We EAT pigs?!”
  • “Does anyone want to help prune roses?” “I do!”

Things to reflect onover the weekend– in preparation for next week:

  • If your child is interested in painting/stamping a T-shirt (old or new) bring one in this week.  This is for a student led lesson; I will have extra fabric on hand if needed.
  • What do you know about farms? Farm animals? People who work on farms?
  • TKG memories:  anything your child may want to revisit in the coming weeks.
  • Minimizing branded toys, items during school time
  • Practice moving to outdoors or play area when physical energy is bubbling up, even at home

For your reference, below is our key to planning lessons and scaffolding emergent plans:

  • CONSTRUCTIVISM(expanding existing knowledge)
  • WHOLE CHILD (emotional/cognitive/social/physical)
  • BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT (developmental readiness and willingness)
  • CAPACITY BUILDING (critical thinking, skills for the global marketplace)
  • CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING (learning from one another)

If you have any questions, please reach us as follows:


Growth: News, Needs and Important Info


We will meet at Hesse Park this coming Monday.  See you at 9am!

Please contact Michelle with any questions.


Ride On plan continues next Friday, June 8th.  Don’t forget: scooters, helmets, sunscreen and sturdy shoes.

Please contact Michelle with any questions.


As Summer sun is peeking out sooner in the day…please lather up before school begins.


Also, we’ve been getting a bit wet here and there, from sidewalk chalk to testing origami boats it’s bound to happen…you may want to pack a change of clothes or leave a set in the classroom.Please contact Michelle with any questions.


We will publish a schedule of Summer meet-ups (regular park days and an occassional beach day or picnic) very soon.  We look forward to seeing you this Summer!

Please contact MJ with any questions.


We need your help on Saturday 6/9 (10am) and/or Wednesday 6/13 (4pm) for pack and clean up days.  Please do not plan to bring students or siblings.

Please contact Trish with any questions.


Save the Date: Wednesday September 5th…play workshop to be announced!

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Work Days coming Up: Please sign up for one – Saturday June 9 and Wednesday June 13.  Email Trish to confirm your work day.
  • Fundraiser contribution is PAST DUE
  • First Month’s tuition is due on Jan 29th.
  • Don’t forget to sign up for FARM FRESH TO YOU and enjoy fresh Summer produce!  Sign Up here.

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email


Don’t forget to shop our store for great deals!  A small fee is raised for each purchase.

We love our Parent Volunteers!

Tips for the Classroom:

  • Meeting: goal is to meet within the first hour of class and after clean up.  Attendance is requested.
  • Schedule: Students are crafting their own schedules.  Support them by checking in on their plans and progress.
  • Bathrooms: Sink or Sanitizer!  Please do not use the bathroom if children are present.
  • Body Check In: Bathroom anyone?  Snack anyone?
  • Snack Table/Restaurant: In keeping floors clean, we have a snack table and gathering place. Volunteers, please feel free to bring a snack to share with all of the students.
  • Outside Time: Always available, please check in with Michelle.  We encourgage students to release energy when they want or need.
  • Agreements: Please become familiar with the agreements.  Safety and freedom are priorities.
Thank you for sharing your time with us.  Our parent volunteers for the coming week:
Resource Of The Week:30 DAYS OF CREATIVITY

“30 Days of Creativity is a global social initiative encouraging people to create stuff (anything) every day for 30 days in June. 2012 is our 3rd year. We hope to make it a big one.

Your brain is like a muscle. When you exercise it, it gets stronger.”

Read More…


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