FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 23 Year 1 (7 to 9 Class)

All Together
“Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
― Susan Sontag
Have a great weekend all!  Daylight savings is coming up…note March 9th.

This was a connected week as we started off with pitching in together to create our home base at the park by putting up an Easy-up, gathering gear and folding up our meeting blankets. Such a wonderful feeling of camaraderie! Larry Cohen’s visit on Wednesday was a treat since some students were aware of who he was and made sure to get his autograph! At the end of the week, students got to connect to an important cultural institution, a museum, in order to immerse themselves in the mind of an artist. Then, the opportunity was presented to connect to their own artistic visions. Connections abound!

Meeting discussions
This week was our 3rd week with the student’s self-created schedules. I am so excited to ride this wave of autonomy with the students as they become increasingly more thoughtful about what our goals are as we flow between activities and experiences.  At home, ask your child for their thoughts about their ability to plan their own schedule. What are the wonderful parts? Are there any challenges?

This week we tried out some new math investigations. Thinking about our possible fieldtrip to the Watts Towers, Madison, Zoe and Isabella explored measurement by going outside to visualize how long 99.5 feet actually is. The students measured out the length in 25 feet increments, including using Isabella’s mega-long rainbow loom as a guide. Some realizations emerged from both Zoe and Madison at our reflection meeting, “I thought 99.5 feet was going to be really long, but it’s not as long as I thought it was going to be.” What an important cognitive activity to revise previous perceptions once introduced with new data. At home, using a tape measure, find the measurement in feet and inches of a part of your house. Estimate first then confirm your estimation.

Hayden, Teddy and Bennett were posed with the challenge of interpreting data from a graph within the context of football. The question was to utilize data to determine what most teams do at the 4th down: Punt, field goal or go for it. This required an understanding of how the x and y axis work on a graph and then how to find data by coordinating the two. At our reflection meeting, Bennett exclaimed, “Math is awesome! I loved the football graph and even got to make my own!” Hayden inspired all of us to normalize challenge and develop our growth mindset by reflecting, “Football math was fun, then it got hard, but I stuck with it with the help of my friends.”  At home, look through the newspaper or the internet to find a graph and work together to read the title and both axis to interpret the data.

Language topics
As a new possibility this week, I offered the opportunity for the students to write about their dreams in life. Connecting  to the Watts Towers and the idea of dreaming big, I asked the students what their dreams (goals) are or have been. Students took this in many directions from creating lists to chapter books. At our reflection meeting, Isabella shared her in progress writing about her dreams in life prompting all of us to think deeply and then shared, “It was a challenge to write to this prompt but I’m excited to share it.”  Teddy also prompted us to think deeply by sharing, “I learned a surprising and big quote from my Garfield comics book.” We were all surprised with him at the depth of this text within such a funny context and were glad he pointed it out so we could all be encouraged to be on the look-out for big thinking.

Oh happy rain! The recent weather is a reminder that the cycle of water takes many forms and it has an impact on life – ours and the wildlife that co-exists with us on this magnificent earth.

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

***Field/Park Day – South Park in Hermosa Beach
Forecast calls for Partly Cloudy with a high of 61.  No rain is predicted.

***Supplies Needed

  1. Clean tin cans, no labels please
  2. open-ended dress up fabrics and clothes
  3. pulley design materials: various sizes of rope pulleys, rope to fit, containers or planks to use on the other end


  • Tuesday Theatre class ends this week.  Parents are invited to arrive to class (Fellowship Hall unless otherwise advised) by 2:30pm
  • Drumming resumes this week.
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

MON Mar 3

THUR Mar 6

FRI Mar 7

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: The Second Chicken
Scaffolding for Empathy and Confidence
First step is empathy.  Validation of feelings.  Next, be a calm chicken.  It is OK to guide students toward a stronger feeling of safety.  You might need to tackle your own anxiety first. Remember that children need challenges, repeatedly.  This inevitably means frustration and sometimes pain but with you by their side to help hold space to overcome, they will develop competence and confidence.  Download these handouts from Larry’s visit.  Browse his book, here.

From the TKG Office

  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Tuesday March 4 from 9:00am to 12:00pm We meet at the round table in the courtyard or at Green Roast Coffee (depending on the weather) – we’re at either spot.
  • SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – Erin Levin has joined the Community Board effective immediately.  She will be part of growing our school with her expertise in teaching and community building.  Welcome Erin!
  • SATURDAY SCHOOL DAY Mar 8 – has been officially cancelled.  We are planning to have interested families come on regular school days and will let you know if anything changes.

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

Art Resource Of The Week


CAFAM will offer exhibition-related workshops and events in conjunction with the
exhibition, including CraftLab family workshops on the second Sunday of each month
from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Artist Talk with Timothy Washington
Sunday, March 16 | 3:00 p.m. 

The Craft & Folk Art Museum presents Timothy Washington: Love Thy Neighbor, the first solo museum exhibition of Los Angeles artist Timothy Washington. Born in 1946 and raised in the largely Black communities
of South Los Angeles, Washington is a notable contemporary of Southern California’s canon of Black assemblage artists that broke ground in the 1960s
and 1970s, including David Hammons, Betye Saar, and John Outterbridge.

Timothy Washington: Love Thy Neighbor will be on view from January 26 through April 27, 2014. The exhibition traces the significance of the human form in Washington’s
dynamic aluminum etchings and monumental assemblage sculptures, beginning from the 1960s to present day. Long overdue, this exhibition offers the most complete view to date of this independent voice in the art history of Los
Angeles. This exhibition brings together a rare opportunity to see a large and diverse selection of Washington’s works from private collections, as well as from the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the California African American Museum.

Are the Humanities dead?

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