The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

15 September 2012
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Week 2 Information & Resources

Discoveries at TKG
“Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.”
Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

We embrace this first week of school as this is a special time…there is excitement and anticipation, connections are being made yet separation is fresh, confidence and trust are being nurtured yet insecurities surface, freedom is being explored and rights are being established.  It is a wondrous time!  The world is so very full for our sprouts.

We had a magical week:

The rubber hit the road – vrooom!  We observed parents (part of the trellis) watching their children (fresh vines) blossom; climbing and exploring outside of (maybe) their typical comfort zone, working through challenges, and learning from their sprout and others.

We had multi-age magic emerge in: zip lines, wood building, nailing/screwing/hammering, older students reading to younger students, butterflies and spiders.

Student suggested classroom expansion: we made a student sign in and out, we made a mailbox, we worked with clay.

Some of this week’s provocations: creepy yet fascinating (ask about the polka dot spider), flexible vs. rigid (ask about the zip line), ABC’s of our classroom (ask about our ongoing list)

Academic foci included:

  • word of the week: and
  • word chunk: -ink
  • counting
  • maps
  • environments: spiders, butterflies, butterfly eggs!

“I’m good at the tree.”  “The tree is good at you.”
“Once upon a time, there was an orange.”
“If someone never cried he would be in Ripley’s Believe It or Not?”
“I’m a rock star!”
“tick tock – tick tock, i’m a little cuckoo clock”

This week some of the Gardeners have been interested in creating zip lines. One student mentioned having been on a zip line, and thought that he could recreate a zip line by using some of the materials available.  Other students were very fascinated and asked to join in.
Student A: Well first we need to create a checklist, so that we know what we need.
Student B: Ok, well we need scissors to cut the rope.
A: Got it (Writes down scissors on his journal). Hmmm, What else?
B: OH! I know, we can use these bubble things on the bottom because if we fall it will be soft and it wonʼt hurt if we fall.
A: Yeah. Oh and I almost forgot to write the most important thing, rope!
After writing down the things they needed, they began critically think about where to place the zip lines. While discussing and testing their ideas they found that the tree was the best place to begin attaching the rope.
A: See, you have to put it at the highest branch that way you can zip down and go super fast (points to the rope he knotted on the tree branch). This is going to be the best zip line EVER!
B: Yeah! Can you put this red one up on that branch behind you? Iʼll tie it to the fence.
A: OK, but pull this one tighter, because if itʼs too low its not going to work. (jumps off tree and tries hanging from rope but falls on the floor) See! we have to make it tighter!
B: (tries to hang on the rope herself) OK, Iʼll put it even more tighter.
Once the students felt that they were almost finished with their zip lines, they invited the rest of their friends to come down to test them. Gardeners immediately began pushing and pulling on the ropes, wondering if the ropes were strong enough to hang and zip line off of. They noticed that when some friends pulled on one section of the rope, another section of the rope would either loosen or become rigid. They continued to play with the ropes by hanging, flipping, and going under, over, and in between them.Next Week:
Provocations continue, we will be diving into counting collections, making an ABC book of self, laying our foundation via the Bill of Rights…what is a COUNTING COLLECTION!?  They provide provide children with rich opportunities to practice oral counting, to develop efficient counting strategies, to group objects in strategic ways, to record numbers and to represent their thinking. Research shows that although counting is one of the best ways we know to help children develop number sense and other important mathematical ideas, we don’t do nearly enough of it in elementary schools.  Children need lots of experience with counting to learn which number comes next, how this number sequence is related to the objects in front of them, and how to keep track of which ones have been counted and which still need to be counted (Fuson, 1988a). Experience with counting provides a solid foundation for future experience with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  Stay tuned for the heavy-duty research in next week’s message.

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

CLASSROOM – Yvette Fenton

Tending the Garden
(Important Info)

Our sprouts got together to talk about how to celebrate birthdays at the garden this week…and we have some options (of course!).  We encourage either a healthy shared snack during school (minimal refined sugar) or take-home treats (to be distributed by parent/birthday sprout at check out). Please contact Michelle if you and your birthday girl/boy would like to incorporate additional ideas or activities – we like to share birthday traditions!

Peace Table
Peace Table is full of resources throughout the day:  empathy books, solution starters, feeling fuzzies, my schedule’s.  Please ask Michelle or Yvette for assistance in exploring this resource.

The 5 Guiding Principals

  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will expand their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT, students are sensory learners, we will honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • CAPACITY BUILDING, supporting the development of creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems
  • CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING, small groups, low ratios, mixed ages and generations

You have got to see these photos on our Flickr Stream!

Shop Our Amazon Store!  We earn a percentage on most purchases but you must purchase via our store.

We love our Gardeners!

(Parent Teachers)


Monday – NL & TV
Tuesday – ME
Thursday – RD
Friday – MJ & TSB

Focus for the coming week: Give students space.  Pause and wait to jump in: allowing students to problem solve first.  Social emotional, Physical and Cognitive are inseparable in this environment.

We would like to share the Parent Jobs you have selected and extend a great big THANK YOU in advance:

If you have not yet provided TB test results or taken your LiveScan appointment, please get to it at your earliest convenience.

Congratulations on your first week Parent Teachers!  We are so lucky to have you…we look forward to watching you grow.

The Seeds (Core Standards)

Some of the “standards” we engaged this week:


Measurement and Geometry – 1st grade

1.0 Students use direct comparison and nonstandard units to describe the measurements of objects:

1.1 Compare the length, weight, and volume of two or more objects by using direct comparison or a nonstandard unit.

2.4 Arrange and describe objects in space by proximity, position, and direction (e.g., near, far, below, above, up, down, behind, in front of, next to, left or right of).

Mathematical Reasoning – 2nd grade

1.0 Students make decisions about how to set up a problem:

1.1 Determine the approach, materials, and strategies to be used.2.0 Students solve problems and justify their reasoning:

2.1 Explain the reasoning used and justify the procedures selected.

3.0 Students note connections between one problem and another.

Investigation and Experimentation – 1st grade
4. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students
should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
b. Record observations and data with pictures, numbers, or written statements.
d. Describe the relative position of objects by using two references (e.g., above and next to, below and left of).

Physical Sciences – 2nd grade
1. The motion of objects can be observed and measured. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know the position of an object can be described by locating it in relation to another object or to the background.
b. Students know an object’s motion can be described by recording the change in position of the object over time.
d. Students know the way to change how something is moving is by giving it a push or a pull. The size of the change is related to the strength, or the amount of force, of the push or pull.


October Parent Meeting: Saturday the 13th at 9am
Michelle and Lena will facilitate our first meeting as a check in and focus on the resources you may be needing.  Location will be confirmed.

Soil Maintenance

(Admin stuff)

Friendly reminders from the TKG Business Office:

  • September Board Meeting: Monday the 17th at 7pm.
  • Community Workshop (OPEN TO INTERESTED FAMILIES), Tuesday October 30th: Blending ECHO Parenting and Hand In Hand with Kathy Gordon – sign up is available here.
  • Board Positions: we are collecting applications for community members interested in serving on the TKG Board.  Please contact Trish for a form.

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


Reminder: First Field Trip is scheduled for Friday September 28th.  Details to be announced!

Resource Of The Week

The Listening Perspective from Reggio Emilia

By Carlina Rinaldi

The meanings of listening:
• Listening should be open and sensitive to the need to listen and be listened to, and the need to listen with all our senses…
• Listening should recognize the many languages, symbols and codes that people use
• listening to ourselves, encourages us to listen to others
• Listening is generated by curiosity, desire, doubt and uncertainty.
• Listening produces questions, not answers
• Listening  is emotion.
• Listening should welcome and be open to differences
• Listening  is not easy. It requires  a deep awareness and a suspension of our judgements and prejudices.
• Listening removes the individual from anonymity (and children cannot bear to be anonymous).
• Listening is the basis for any learning relation­ship.




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