FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 15 (5 to 7 Class)

All Together
“Welcome those big sticky, complicated problems. In them are the most powerful opportunities. ”
~ Ralph Marston
Our first week back has been filled with LOVE (word of the week), and of course, disconnections. We used our arms to spell it (think Y-M-C-A as L-O-V-E), and talked about ways to show love:

– helping others
– giving hugs
– making a heart with your arms
-making people feel good
– giving gifts
– giving kisses
– listening
-helping somebody out
– check ins
– being yourself
-loving people how they are
– not judging (what IS judging?)
– not saying bad words, but using kind words
-being loved by a parent

Field Day
Those interested in gardening decided to pull out the strawberries as they were turning brown and had a lot of holes from bugs. We removed the straw, amended the soil, counted bugs, and planted already established plants. We are hopeful that these plants will do much better than our seeds.

We are moving to a new park location tomorrow. It is really big and has some great opportunities to observe birds, climb hills and swing, swing, swing!

Please share the following schedule and protocols with your sprout(s):

9:00 Drop off at basketball court

9:10 Meeting in the basketball court

9:20 Move to “home base” (playground area)

9:30 PLAY!

12:00 Lunch bell to remind everyone to check in with their body to pause: eat and reapply sunblock

1:30 Clean up and move to meeting area

1:45 Closing meeting

There may be questions about Rights & Responsibilities and these suggestions may help with discussion:

Shoes: we would like them on whenever a student leaves the playground area.

Community-Mindedness: We are in a shared space (a public park).  Have care for the park and the people and animals who use it.

Personal Care: Keep personal belongings under your care at home base.  Clean up.  Listen to your body’s cues about bathroom, thirst and hunger.

Safety: There is some concern about playing in run-off water because of the contaminants that may be in the water.  Until we can test it for ourselves, we do not recommend playing in the water and will inform sprouts about the how’s and why’s.  Here is some information that may help you discuss: Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when the soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle, and the primary agent in water erosion. Runoff that occur on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source. If a nonpoint source contains man-made contaminants, the runoff is called nonpoint source pollution. A land area which produces runoff that drains to a common point is called a drainage basin. When runoff flows along the ground, it can pick up soil contaminants including, but not limited to petroleum, pesticides, or fertilizers that become discharge or nonpoint source pollution.  Read more…

Meeting Discussions
There has been ongoing side conversations about “Ouches”. Sometimes saying ouch creates an ouch, other times ouch is said when someone is sharing an experience and another wishes they were part of it. We used kimochi dolls to discuss feelings and realized that the word ouch does not give us a lot of information, but specific feelings like “jealous” helps us understand each other better. I introduced “I messages” and we practiced saying “I feel _____ when….” with the kimochi dolls. Next week we will explore more feeling words and the idea of “not making assumptions.”

This week we began investigating ways to make 8 through the book “The Sleepover”. Students used math racks or found their own materials to explore how 4+4=3+5=2+6…..They worked as partners, individuals, and shared with the group. On Thursday we began our own books about sleepovers, we continued these and played a related game on Friday. We will celebrate the midpoint of our unit with pajama day on Tuesday! (I feel this curriculum was written just for TKG! The Sprouts seemed to have enjoyed reading, creating books, problem solving, and playing games.)

Language topics
Students reviewed their current work in their writing folders, as well as started books specifically related to our math unit. Next Thursday we will begin reading Chapter 1 in Charlotte’s Web.

Emerging Interests/Ongoing projects (do any of these inspire you to bring a project or idea to school?)

  • Dress making
  • Tying shoes
  • What is nature?
  • Are humans nature?
  • Yvette’s baby!
  • How should we celebrate the 100th day of school?
Social Emotional
When calm disconnections come up we have been offering mini meetings with peers and an adult so students may voice their feelings, work out problems, or reconnect in a private space with adult support. This has allowed for the rest of the group to keep the flow and minimized outside influences on conversations. So far sprouts have taken this opportunity, and I look forward to encouraging problem solving in the moment as it arises. (I may ask PTs to spontaneously support students when these situations arise. If you are unsure of how to support or what to say in these moments, please mention it in our morning PT check in.)

We’re trying a new park tomorrow!

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton/Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***FIELD/PARK DAY NOTES – New Park in Torrance!

We took great care to pick a park that would match the nature and play experiences we had at Hess and we think this park (a.k.a. Little League park) will fit the bill.  Balls welcome!  Basketball, soccer, kickball, football, frisbees, and sand toys are welcome.  It can get chilly so pack layers and/or sweatshirts (more than just sweaters).  Forecast is Mainly sunny. Warm. High around 80F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.

***Pajama Day – Tuesday Jan 14
We will celebrate the midpoint of our unit on number sense with pajama day on Tuesday!  Sprouts are welcome to wear, bring, improvise pj’s.

***Monthly Parent Meeting – Jan 16th, 7pm
This is a Parent Participation event and one parent must attend. Thank you.

***Enrichment Classes
Classes begin this week.  The schedule is:
Tuesday – Theatre
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – Japanese
Friday – Drumming
Register right from the calendar icon on our home page.

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


We want you to come to the P.E.T. workshop – there are empowering strategies that will complement our communication with students at home, school and with one another.

MON Jan 13

TUE Jan 14
LS(am)/TV (11:30-1:30pm)

WED Jan 15
Please set up for StAndrew’s Meeting Night

THUR Jan 16
Please set up for Monthly Parent Meeting

FRI Jan 17
Please help, If possible, set up for drumming

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: How Boys and Girls Learn Differently

“…there are no differences between boys and girls in terms of what they can learn. But there are,” Leonard Sax, MD, author of Why Gender Matters and Boys Adrift says, “big differences in the way to teach them.”  Get to know your student and your fellow PTs students a little more (click for article)…

The Seeds

We are offering the opportunity to engage:

Mathematics: Operations & Algebraic Thinking

Understand addition, and understand subtraction (K)
CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.1 Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings1, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.3 Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).

Work with addition and subtraction equations (1)
CCSS.Math.Content.1.OA.D.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.

English Language Arts: Reading – Foundational Skills (K)

Print Concepts
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.1 Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
Phonological Awareness
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).
Phonics and Word Recognition
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3a Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.

P.E.T. Workshop at TKG
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 aboutP.E.T. and T.E.T, click here.

From the TKG Office

  • RALPHS Fundraising Once you have a Ralph’s Club Card you can register online to have the store make a contribution to our school, based on your purchases (or the purchases of anyone using your club card/telephone number at check-out). Click Here to Learn More…
  • TKG Office Hours are this Friday from 9am. Monica and Trish are available (weekly) for business and conversation.
  • TKG Holiday – Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. No school on Monday January 20th!  There are parades in Los Angeles and Long Beach.  Check this out!

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

In Brain News

The Effects of Video Games on Children: What Parents Need to Know 

Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D. 

The home video game industry is now over 30 years old. In that time, computer technology has improved at a geometric rate. A high speed elevator now has more computing power than the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the moon. The promise of computers and video games as teachers was clearly recognized in the 1980s when there was a nationwide push to get computers into the classrooms. In the years that have followed, researchers found that educational software and games can indeed have several very positive effects on children’s academic skill. Over the same period, video games also moved into children’s homes. (I define video games broadly here, as including arcade games, computer games, and home console games such as PlayStation.) Children began playing video games for increasing amounts of time, and the games themselves became more graphically violent over time. Parents, educators, physicians, and researchers began to question what the impact of these changes might be. READ MORE…

Check out this multi-perspective paper on‘Brains on Video Games”

Check out the conversation

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