Planets Orbiting the Sun
“If you can see yourself as an artist, and you can see that your life is your own creation, then why not create the most beautiful story for yourself?”
― Miguel Ruiz
As we start 2013, Thank You. Thank you for your trust and commitment. Thank you for a great parent meeting, thank you for sharing your ideas and thank you for the delicious snacks. Ready, break!Gardeners have been exploring the world around them in greater detail by using mirrors, magnifying glasses, thermometers, and scales.Transformation is on our minds. We explored it through creating clay sculptures and we told stories relating to change.Throughout the year students have been role playing as animals, families, animals that need to be adopted by a family, and park day many of them were orphans who lived together, were adopted by our teachers, and met each other at the park to play. Teacher’s notice they are constantly transforming into more independent young people and wonder if they are acting out independence and interdependence?

A nature group has naturally formed during deep learning. Each student has a role. Some look for animals to rescue, and others are doctors who care for the injured insects. They have an office, a meeting room, a house, and a pathway that leads to each area. In the meeting room they present their findings, pose questions, and “chat”. The current area of study is butterflies and moths. Others are interested in ants and pill bugs and I see us exploring the world of insects into great detail.

The “Days we have been in school caterpillar” is nervous about turning into a butterfly because its wings will be symmetrical. And he does not know what that is. We used the context of the sentence to cue us to look at butterfly wings to find out what symmetry means…our initial ideas included: beautiful, light, colorful, bumps, thin.  After time in the studio creating symmetric butterflies by painting one side of a folded paper and closing then opening to reveal a full butterfly some suggested symmetry is “the same but different” and “if you split it in half you have 2 of each”.

We are introducing a new math game next week.   This week, we created our own books to document the numbers for the place value game.

There is much discussion about an ant farm.  Are you interested in ‘hosting’ an ant farm for our classroom?  If yes, please contact Michelle or Trish!

We revisited the book “Tomorrow’s Alphabet” (click this link and test our amazon shopping links) and came up some ideas for our own book:

W is for love – tomorrow’s wedding.
F is for tadpole – tomorrow’s frog.
M is for baby- tomorrow’s Madison.
B is for flat – tomorrow’s ball. (felting)
M is for caterpillar- tomorrow’s moth.
B is for eggs- tomorrow’s baby birds.
C is for beans- tomorrow’s coffee.
B is for birth- tomorrow’s baby.
A is for sleeping – tomorrow’s awake.
C is for milk- tomorrow’s cheese.
P is for hamster- tomorrow’s pet.
How, in an alphabet book, can the letter “A” stand for “seed”? Though the “A is for seed” syntax is not logical, Shannon’s (Stories to Solve: Folktales from Around the World) amusing, letter-based word game teaches that a seed is “tomorrow’s apple”; “E” is for campfire (tomorrow’s embers), etc.

Collect items on a nature walk and examine them under a magnifying glass – observe and record.
Make Clay
Clean out some items for our upcoming Garage Sale
Make a Bug Mansion
Make a Tomorrow’s Alphabet

How do you keep a kite up in the air?
How can you tell the difference between and male and female butterfly?
What do you think the temperature is?
What did you build today?
What is symmetry?

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

Our Flickr Stream features even more photos from this week!

Counting Together
Holiday Show Seating

Tending the Garden

Park Day – South Park in Hermosa Beach  Click here for a map.  We may roam into the Green Belt, in the Community Garden, and we have been known to head to the beach…If our pick up location changes, you will receive a text from Michelle by 1pm.  Pack light!

TKG Special Guest: “Raise Emotionally Intelligent Children” with Dr. Laura Markham – The Knowing Garden Community School is happy to welcome trusted advocate for children and parents, Dr. Laura Markham to our community on Jan 22.  Please register…

Classroom Supplies – needed:
index cards (blank- big and small) bulk packs- students enjoy the variety of sizes and it minimizes our big paper consumption
small baskets (no handles)
glass jars (variety of sizes and w or w/o lids

Parent Info Night #2 is on January 15th @ 6pm Please encourage your friends to come visit! Registration Link

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

Teaching Focus: “Does learning about paintings and sculpture help children become better students in other areas?” Read more about how art improves literacy skills…

Teacher Focus: There’s something about smoothies that make them almost irresistible as a meal, a drink, or a snack. Get your blender ready!

For your Toolbox: “Of course we love our children, and it’s easy to appreciate them when they are playful or cooperative or productive or helpful or any one of those ‘good’ things.  The trick is to appreciate them in the moment of upset, stress, off-track behavior – when they doing those things that drive us mad. Here are some things to practice in those crucial moments:
Practice #1:  As you observe a behavior or situation that bothers you, find the positive!
Practice #2:  On a daily basis, make a list of what you appreciate about your child.
Practice #3:  Choose to think about another time or something that went well”
Read more – sign up for Kathy Gordon’s newletter at mkgstar(at) (Kathy did our talk at the last Parent Info Night)

Tuesday – RD(set up for Parent Info Night)
Wednesday – TV(tour); Set up for St.Andrew’s Meeting night
Thursday – LS/NL
Friday – TV/TSPlease contact Trish if you have any concerns about this week’s schedule

The Seeds (Core Standards)

We are creating intention around these standards:

Number and Operations in Base Ten 
K.NBT Work with numbers 11–19 to gain foundations for place value.
1. Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 18= 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, or nine.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts time (e.g., morning, afternoon, evening, today,yesterday, tomorrow, week, year) and tools that measure time (e.g., clock, calendar). (CAStandard MG 1.2)
1. Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as abovebelowbesidein front ofbehind, and next to.

Work with addition and subtraction equations.
7. Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and determine if equations involving addition and
subtraction are true or false. For example, which of the following equations are true and which are
false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 – 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.

Grade 1, 2. Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
Grade 2, 2. Identify the main topic of a multi paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
Kinder, 3. Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text.
a. Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or many of the most frequent sound for each consonant.

Grade 2 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
Grade 1: b. Use end punctuation for sentences.

Earth Sciences
3.  Weather can be observed, measured, and described. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know how to use simple tools (e.g., thermometer, wind vane) to measure weather conditions and record changes from day to day and across the seasons. b. Students know that the weather changes from day to day but that trends in temperature or of rain (or snow) tend to be predictable during a season.
c. Students know the sun warms the land, air, and water.
Physical Sciences
1.  Materials come in different forms (states), including solids, liquids, and gases. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know solids, liquids, and gases have different properties.
b. Students know the properties of substances can change when the substances are mixed, cooled, or heated.

Grade 1: 4.Describe how location, weather, and physical environment affect the way people live, including the effects on their food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and recreation

ARTS: Music
Listen to, Analyze, and Describe Music
1.2 Identify and describe basic elements in music (e.g., high/low, fast/slow, loud/soft, beat).

Derive Meaning
4.1 Create movements that correspond to specific music.

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).

FEATURED WORKSHOP(s): ECHO PARENTING,especially for the South Bay Community

Renee Dokmanovich is currently working toward an ECHO educator certification and the Schwartz’ are enrolled in the 6 week course.  Please check in with them for updates and support!

From the TKG Office:

  • Parent Information Nights: Please invite your friends to our next General Info Night on January 15th.   Registration is available, here.  We will be touring a prospective family this Wednesday.
  • Community Board Meeting: Monday Jan 14.  Guests are welcome to attend between 7:00pm and 8:00pm.
  • School Holiday, There is no school on Monday, January 21 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email t.valdez(at)
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

― Albert Einstein
Resource Of The WeekEverything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest
by Vandana ShivaToday, at a time of multiple crises, we need to move away from thinking of nature as dead matter to valuing her biodiversity, clean water, and seeds. For this, nature herself is the best teacher.My ecological journey started in the forests of the Himalaya. My father was a forest conservator, and my mother became a farmer after fleeing the tragic partition of India and Pakistan. It is from the Himalayan forests and ecosystems that I learned most of what I know about ecology. The songs and poems our mother composed for us were about trees, forests, and India’s forest civilizations.

My involvement in the contemporary ecology movement began with “Chipko,” a nonviolent response to the large-scale deforestation that was taking place in the Himalayan region.


Vandana Shiva - internationally renowned activist for biodiversity and against corporate globalization, and author of Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply; Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; Soil Not Oil; and Staying Alive.


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