Discoveries at TKG
“Children were not born to walk. They were born to run– barefoot, over rocks, through the water, through the mud. We need to give greater recognition to the energy and joy of children.”
— Bev Boss
Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope you have been enjoying a relaxing week.Some of our sprouts have shared:
“Thanksgiving is when we give thanks with our family.”

“Thanksgiving is where you have a big meal and give thanks for the people that work so hard.”

Thanksgiving is really fun because I go to Monterrey to see Grandpa and Grandma.”

“I like playing games with my family for thanksgiving.”

“We have turkey for thanksgiving. I like turkey, but you know you can’t digest it. That’s why you want to sleep when you eat lots of it. Really, it’s true.”

Thinking back to two weeks ago…oh, that’s a challenge!…
We welcomed a new student and a returning student.  We showed them where supplies and activities are located. We shared our Bill of Rights.  Recently, students have requested having their own clipboards.  We want the backs designed and personalized — just like our parent teachers.  Many students enjoyed using them throughout the day.  A student started a drawing of turtles during math and he continued adding to his art work the rest of the day.    The clipboard gave him the freedom to create while participating in other conversations and activities. We are excited to share this, and more, with another new student who will join us next week!

Mo Willems author study is blossoming: we are making observations about how characters interact with each other, how the characters are talking to the reader, use of facial expression and minimal words… some students have offered to bring in a few books they have so we can read more.  One gardener was inspired to write a book called “A Pigeon Wants A Pigeon”.

Next week we will continue to read Black Beauty and compare Anna Sewell’s autobiography of a horse to Mo Willems’ writing about relationships, investigate personification, and clarify the difference between characters in a story and branded characters.  In case you have forgotten (4th grade? perhaps), BLACK BEAUTY is narrated in the first person as an autobiographical memoir told by the titular horse—beginning with his carefree days as a colt on an English farm with his mother, to his difficult life pulling cabs in London, to his happy retirement in the country. Along the way, he meets with many hardships and recounts many tales of cruelty and kindness.  And Mo?  Well, you’ve probably read a few of those recently…who doesn’t know the Pigeon?!

The time timer has helped in visualizing time and increases our manageability  of time and our projects.   A couple students recently started wearing watches and are showing interests in learning more about time.  We will investigate time as well as continue to determine the length and height a curtain for our dance show.  One of our musicians described a song as “a tune that lights up your heart”.

Deep Learning this week ranged from creating dances and songs to engineering “the best play ground ever for our brothers, and us too”.  Our young engineers made swings, a tightrope (with bubble wrap underneath for safety) a rope step to the tree, and a ball toss game.  They made signs, tickets, and a puppet show.  They collaborated, tested, modified, and brought science, math, language, and art together in a meaningful real world experience.

In anticipation of beginning our open flow classroom in December we opened the reading and writing area at the same time.  Everything we have been doing, up to now, has been in preparation to open the classroom even more.  Next week we will introduce new schedules and a modified version of open flow.  In an Open Flow Day, children’s activities are based on what draws their interest and children must have experience in using the classroom space and materials, responsibly.  The design of the environment is a direct result of the what the teachers do, when it is done, and how the teachers guide activities.  It is not “anything goes” and teacher-less learning.

This week, our newsletter features information on Animal Protection. This week’s field trip focus is pet keeping and you can help our intentions by supporting responsible animal care. Let’s begin by thinking about whether all animals have the same rights…


What is the time timer?
Who did you lunch with today?
When did you go outside?
Why are you reading Black Beauty?
Where would you like to Park Day in December?

Watercolor painting over tissue paper collage
Sponsor a Rover Rescue Dog
Visit the Levitated Mass
Cook, Tofu 101: Easy Tofu Recipes for Kids
Make a whiteboard clock

Your feedback and questions are encouraged:
CLASSROOM – Yvette Fenton
CURRICULUM – Lena Garcia Kaufman

Our Flickr Stream features even more photos from this week!

Tending the Garden

November Park We will meet at 9am on Monday…Pick up will be at 2pm, at Park (different location for pick up).

Field Trip is scheduled for Friday November 30th . Details will be sent as soon as possible, plan for 9/9:30am start time.

Animal Legislation, There is a bill before the U.S. Senate with a provision that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting the use of toxic lead shot ammunition, and one other that would allow American hunters to import the heads and hides of polar bears they shot in Canada…Read more.

Welcome New Sprouts! AS will be joining us this week.

Connected Holidays – have a relaxed, fun and connected Holiday season…check out this online course with Patty Wipfler.  Sign Up!


The 5 Guiding Principals at TKG
  • 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

Parent/Teacher Corner


our ratio goal is 1:4 daily
Monday – TV/NL
Tuesday – RD
Wednesday – BW
Thursday – ME/LS
Friday – Fieldtrip!
please contact Trish if you have any concerns about this week’s schedule and check in with Trish at morning drop off to confirm Dec’s schedule.

Focus for the coming week – Mindset.  Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and success—a simple idea that makes all the difference. Based on the general idea that a mindset is a set of assumptions held by one or more people or groups of people that is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools.  What we say and how we are in the classroom, makes all the difference. WATCH THIS…

In support of You – 7 Benefits of Regular physical Activity

  1. weight balance
  2. combats disease
  3. improves mood
  4. boosts energy
  5. promotes healthy sleep
  6. sparks your mojo
  7. fun!

Check Out Food Environment Atlasfor national data on fascinating facts like, “proximity to a grocery store,” “restaurant availability” and “food insecurity.”  How does our relationship to animals affect the data?


What is a playground worth preserving?  While you are traveling for the Holdays…add to this interactive map.
The Seeds (Core Standards)We are creating intention around these standards:

CCLS Grade 1 Reading.   Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:  9. Compare and contrast the experiences and adventures of characters in stories.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3c Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

2.7. (second grade) Use information gained from the illustrations and words in print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.


CCMath  Grade 1 Measurement and Data:
2. Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units.
3. Tell and write time to the hour and half hour and a digital and analog clock.

K.CC- Know number names and the count sequence.
1.  Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
2.  Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).

1NBT Extend the counting sequence.
1.  Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.

WRITING STANDARDS1:  1. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.)

K. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.


CCLS Grade 1  4.a  Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or a phrase.

Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

a. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).


Please shop our Amazon store for dress up plans, school supplies and Holiday Gift Lists!  Access here…

From the TKG Office:

  • Tuition Due, December 1st
  • December Parent Meeting, Saturday the 15th
  • Animal Activism, Browse and sign petitions
  • Parent Workday #2, Friday Dec 21st, we will pack up for the long break

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email


Read this excerpt from “How To Talk So Kids Will Learn…” when in doubt, acknowledge the student’s feelings!
Resource Of The WeekMINDSET by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Mindset explains:
Why brains and talent don’t bring success
How they can stand in the way of it
Why praising brains and talent doesn’t foster self-esteem and accomplishment, but jeopardizes them
How teaching a simple idea about the brain raises grades and productivity.

No parent thinks “I wonder what I can do today to undermine my children, subvert their effort, turn them off learning, and limit their achievement.” Of course not. They think “I would do anything, give anything, to make my children successful.” Yet many of the things they do boomerang. Their helpful judgments, their lessons, their motivating techniques often send the wrong message.

In fact, every word and action sends a message. It tells children – or students or athletes – how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed mindset message that says: “You have permanent traits and I’m judging them.” Or it can be a growth mindset message that says: “You are a developing person and I am interested in your development”…



The Knowing Garden · 4733 Torrance Blvd · Box 324 · Torrance, CA 90503


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