FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 20 (7 to 9)

All Together
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Laozi
What a lovely, learning week! Starting with an active day at the park with a gym tree, traveling through a transforming classroom adventure with a new schedule and ending with a connected Valentine’s Day, we are creating the TKG way!

An exciting question guided our experience this week: How can students have increasing ownership over their learning? As an inquiry into this question, we are experimenting with a new way to organize our day.  Before, the day was divided into content-based chunks. Now, students each have a paper copy of an organizer with a list of activities and projects to choose from. Students then decide how they will flow between activities.  In its second iteration, the schedule offers organizing support by encouraging students to pick a certain amount of activities each time block and then complete or consciously modify their plan. The advantage of this new organizing style is that individual students can spend more time in a project that needs more time, changing their schedule accordingly, and other students can move on to the next aspect of their learning. Some of the possibilities are broad, project-based experiences where the learning builds each day and there are multiple content areas imbedded within the experience. There are also more content specific possibilities that address discreet skills in reading, writing and math. Trying to achieve a balanced learning plate, just like a dinner plate, is our goal. At home, talk about how you organize your day both at home and at work.

Social Studies
To get ready for our first Valentine’s Day together, we embarked on a Friendship project. We started by exploring our definitions of a friend which include caring and respectful.  We then pondered other perspectives as we thought about what Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ruby Bridges would call a friend. With these concepts in mind, we found ourselves on Valentine’s Day writing notes to people detailing our gratitude and appreciation for them as a friend.  We enjoyed creating and giving and then ended the day with fresh baked, heart shaped chocolate cookies. A sweet end to a sweet day!  At home, talk about how you know someone is a friend.

Between friends, there is a connection, a current that flows through mutual care and respect. As we explore this concept in social studies, our connection in science is electricity. Our question related to our project-based theme of the city is: How will be bring electricity to our city? In order to embark upon that project, we needed to first uncover and construct our understanding of electricity and electric currents.   Once students documented what they know about electricity they embarked on an adventure of creating a circuit with a battery to turn on a lightbulb. Bing! We have light! The next layer was to add a switch to more elegantly turn off and on their light. Click! Click! On/off has never been so satisfying! We will continue to explore currents and their understanding of electricity as a form of energy. Thank you Trish, Levins and Alice, for helping us get started on this “powerful” experience. At home, discuss and contemplate how electricity enters and is distributed through your house.

Culture of learning
Our end of the day reflection meeting in which each person reflects on what they have learned and experienced in the day is taking hold. We know that when we can stop and reflect, it supports our brain’s ability to categorize the experience of the day into usable data to be used in the future. I always look forward to hearing what is salient for each student and more and more, students are taking this opportunity to learn from each other’s learning, which is what makes us a community of learners.

Friendly reminder that we have Book Club this Thursday!  Our selection for this edition is our resource featured below.  Have a great week.

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

***TKG Book Club: Thursday Feb 20th, 7:00pm
This time, we will be reading  an article referencing Carol Dweck’s work about mindsets: Fixed vs. Growth: the two basic mindsets that shape our lives. This event is open to the greater community so feel free to invite a friend Please register, HERE.

*** Monthly Parent Meeting: Saturday Feb 22, 9:00am

Feel free to bring fruit and bottled water (left overs will stock our pantry).

***Supplies Needed
9 volt batteries
lamp wire
open-ended dress up clothes/fabrics

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

THUR Feb 20
Book Club Night

FRI Feb 21

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: How Electricity Works
“In this article, we’ll try to provide a less slippery answer. We’ll illuminate just what electricity is, where it comes from and how humans bend it to their will. For our first stop, we’ll travel to Greece, where inquisitive ancients puzzled over the same phenomena that zaps you when you touch a metal object after shuffling over the carpet on a cold, dry day.  WANT TO READ MORE?

From the TKG Office

  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Friday Feb 21 from 9:30am to 11:00am  We meet at the round table in the courtyard or at Green Roast Coffee (depending on the weather) – we’re at either spot.
  • SPECIAL EVENT – Wed Feb 26 12:00pm & 7:00pm. Hear about it directly from Larry Cohen!  If you are interested in reading any of his books in preparation for the visit, we recommend “The Opposite of Worry” and “Playful Parenting”
  • TKG FEB Board Meeting – Thu Feb 27 7:00pm  W’s China Bistro.  Guests are welcome from 7:00pm-8:00pm

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

Brain Development Resource Of The Week

Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives
by Maria Popova

How to fine-tune the internal monologue that scores every aspect of our lives, from leadership to love.

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,” Debbie Millman counseled in one of the best commencement speeches ever given, urging: “Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…” Far from Pollyanna platitude, this advice actually reflects what modern psychology knows about how belief systems about our own abilities and potential fuel our behavior and predict our success. Much of that understanding stems from the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, synthesized in her remarkably insightfulMindset: The New Psychology of Success (public library), which explores the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. READ MORE//THIS IS OUR BOOK CLUB SELECTION…

Are the Humanities dead?
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