FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 12/Year 1 (7 to 9 Students)


All Together
“Name the greatest of all inventors: Accident.”
― Mark Twain
For this newsletter, I will break from the traditional relating of subject specific learning to let you know about some of the shifts in our culture of relating to each other and how our learning space and time has transformed in response to student and teacher needs and interests.

Our environment
Students have settled into a new meeting space, where it feels easier to stay connected as a group. Ask your sprout about how they feel in their new meeting spot.

Purposeful learning (by students and facilitators), through focused lessons, is now happening joyfully in the “laboratory.”  In this special area, we have all agreed to enter with the mindset of “dissecting ideas” in order to advance our thinking.  Ask your student to describe laboratory.

Students have been trying out some “private” spots in the room – for when they need to be alone or focus. Guess what?! 2 of these special spots are behind the curtain (wee!) Ask your child if s/he has an idea for another personal space that might work for them.

Our schedule
The overall schedule hasn’t changed but how we visualize it on our planning board has.  We have arranged our project cards so that the day looks actionable (so we focus on the general, big-picture activities). Every day will be a consistent, predictable routine, so that the students will be confident of the flow of the day. Every day, for each of the learning times, I will note on the planning board which individual or small groups I will meet with in the laboratory to address academic interests/ needs.  See what your sprout things about changes to the schedule of the day and what they learned in Lab this week.

Now we know that after every working time, we come back together to reflect, present and debrief.  Ask your child if they have presented at a reflection meeting.

During deep learning, specific enrichment activities will be offered in the laboratory. Do you, as a parent, have something you love that you want to share with us?  Poetry, chemistry, filmmaking?  All  topics will be explored.

Our relationships
Our new meeting space is cozy with all of us in it! In this new space, I capitalized on our friendly game of winning and losing at the park when we had a student vs. adults race. That was fun because we all agreed to have “winners” and” losers”, but in the classroom, we all agreed that it doesn’t feel right to have the same concept around student-teacher and student-student interactions related to learning.  I shared that my goal is to be a part of a community of learners in which we all, teachers and students, “win” in all circumstances. In order for this to happen, everyone in the community has a right to share their needs and work together to create a culture of everyone’s needs being met. I have been modeling I- messaging for sharing my needs and will continue supporting the students to do the same for themselves. Then we can take those needs and problem solve toward a solution where we have consensus on how we will proceed. This is a process that takes time and as we have begun to commit to this process, we are relating to each other in more trusting, authentic ways.  Ask your child what consensus means to them.

Thank you families.  Your support and our ongoing dialogue about how to serve our students and the community have paved the way for what is already a transformative and adventurous time at TKG!

Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Jaclyn Epstein-Calvert/Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

We are at Park tomorrow…one of our final visits before we change locations. Please pack layers so your sprout stays warm. Please remind them to stay hydrated and stay checked-in with teachers and parents. Forecast calls for Sunny  and Wind with a high of 62°F.


  • old sheets (bedding)
  • milk cartons
  • old cardboard boxes

***Dec 20th Clean Up
Please make plans to spend a couple of hours at TKG after 12pm to help your sprouts pack up their classroom.

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • CAPACITY BUILDING, nurturing creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems that serve our community
  • COOPERATIVE LEARNING, small groups, low ratios, mixed ages and generations
Parent Teacher Info

Parent/Teacher Corner

Teacher wonderings for the week:
How can we really can make sure everyone gets what they need all of the time?  There are 6 steps: READ ON…

MON Dec 9

THUR Dec 12

FRI Dec 13

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: Using I-messages
“I” messages support: Letting Them Know The Real You, Self-Disclosure, stopping trouble Before It Starts and Enhancing and Strengthening Relationships – GET SOME TOOLS, Here!

The Seeds

We are offering the opportunity to engage:

Mathematics – Standards for Practice
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Mathematically proficient students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution.

CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Mathematically proficient students understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments.

English Language Arts – Anchor Standards for Language
Conventions of Standard English
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Knowledge of Language
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Jan 28th at 7:00pm
Learn about P.E.T., highly recommended by Jennifer Lehr of “Good Job and Other Things.”  TKG is happy to announce that Meike Lemmens will facilitate this Intro Workshop and we hope to begin a workshop series for Teachers and Parents, soon after.  To learn more about P.E.T. and T.E.T, click here.

From the TKG Office

  • DEC Tuition is DUE!
  • Spanish Class tuition is due
  • Drum Circle, is on for this Friday.  Please give $15 to Trish by Thursday morning to confirm you attendance.
  • TKG Office Hours are this Friday from 9 to 12. Monica and Trish are available (weekly) for business and conversation.
  • Monthly Board Meeting is tomorrow night from 7 to 9 at China W’s Bistro.  Guests are welcome from 7 to 8p

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.

The Four Agreements
1. Be Impeccable with your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best


Resource Of The Week

2013 Holiday Toy Drive begins November 25th! 
Boxes are located at the Torrance Police Department and Fire Stations

The Torrance Police Department is once again teaming up with the Torrance Fire Department and holding a holiday toy drive for those less fortunate. We are looking for new unwrapped toys and gift cards for older kids. All of the toys will be given to needy children here in the city of Torrance.

The drop-off boxes will be located at the following locations:
– Torrance Police Department front lobby , located at 3300 Civic Center Dr
– Torrance Fire Station #1, located at 1701 Crenshaw
– Torrance Fire Station #2, located at 25135 Robinson Way
– Torrance Fire Station #3, located at 3535 182nd St
– Torrance Fire Station #4, located at 5205 Calle Mayor
– Torrance Fire Station #5, located at 3940 Del Amo Blvd
– Torrance Fire Station #6, located at 21401 Del Amo Circle Dr
The drop-off boxes will be at the locations from November 25th to December 24th.
For more information regarding drop-off locations, click here

Are the Humanities dead?

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