FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 26/Year 3 (5 to 7 Class)

All Together 5 to 7 Sprouts
“Hang on to each other”
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band
I did it!  I finished the Zion half-marathon and learned so much along the way.  I shared some pictures, with our sprouts, on Friday…mostly, I hope that I shared that when you accept the “distance” and commit to the finish line, all the possibilities are yours!

Notable notes:

  • Our first ever Science Fair is this Wednesday at 1:00pm!  The TKG way here is: let the students develop and execute their project, demonstration, exhibit, experience, etc
  • PT support is requested on Thursdays before and after school.  Please click here to sign up (siblings are ok).
  • We would like a picture of you as a child (ages 5 to 7 would be super cool – but not necessary to participate). Please print or email the photo (need a scanner?  we have one for those pre-digitized shots).
Some of this week’s offerings include:

Zingo excitement continued and sprouts  are taking turns, conversing when there is a disagreement, working through problems, and have now created a partner layer to this game.

Tuesday and Wednesday we read and created poems about the number 100.  We noticed that some poems rhyme, some are silly, some are long and others are short, one was even an acrostic poem.  We also noticed how the author used text size and format.  We will continue to visit poetry over the next two weeks. Did you know that it is beneficial to read various types of literature and prose?  Besides the exposure to diversity, it offers the opportunity to boost the neurological connections of aesthetic experience“…in which your senses are operating at their peak. When you are present in the current moment. When you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you are experiencing. When you are fully alive.”

School Area is still captivating our interest: The number of the week was 12, next week is 13.  Letters were p and q, next week they will be g and j.  There were also pages for tracing their first and last name, and Mayia added her middle name and shared with the group in meeting.  She called on students and answered questions about her work.  She has been requesting to share more in meetings and students have been working on “giving her voice space” so that all may hear.  Mayia suggested we have tracing the word of the week available as well, and “THAT” will be added this week as well as some of the words we have previously done. (While many of our words of the week are based on ones I’m seeing our children are wanting to learn, some have been coming from the analysis of the Oxford English Corpus of over a billion words)

We are embarking on an author Study of Mo Willems.  You may know him from The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog to The Elephant and Piggie books.  Our readers discovered many things about Mo.  He is an author and illustrator, he writes about animals, the characters talk to the reader, the font colors are consistent with each character, and so much more!  Have a favorite Mo Willems book?  We’d love to read it in class.

We read Charlotte’s Web on Thursday and Friday.  Students continued projects, such as Wilbur’s House out of sticks and hot glue, and spider webs out of collage materials.  PT Renee facilitated a sewing plan where sprouts chose a word to describe Wilbur, drafted a sketch, and began sewing their web.  Thank you Saundi for the wooden hoop donations.  Sewing continued into Deep Learning, where some created pillows or sketched clothing and began picking out cloth.  Next week we will read chapters 15-18 over the course of the week. 

Students revisited ongoing projects with Yvette and were supported at their individual level- from finger spacing to vowel sounds.  In the coming weeks we will begin focusing on other types of writing (nonfiction, poems, informational, persuasive, etc.)

Cartography: Trish continued the map making plans, this time thinking about direction/location.  Key themes included: grid reference (the letters and numbers across the top and side of a map); compass rose, and legends.  Ask to see our classroom map! Thank you Trish, Ellen, and Saundi for the compasses, even those not in the area were inspired by these tools.

Our Peace Table is a tool: it is an open area or free exploration 1-2 times a week where students can experience this area in times of happiness and calm.  Thank you Tomomi for your donation of animal finger puppets and an owl hand puppet.  Many enjoyed playing with them this week and I see them as a beautiful layer of support.


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

***Park Day/Field – Park in Torrance
 Forecast is for Sun with a high of 60° – Don’t forget sunscreen!  (if you did not receive the community snack schedule, please contact Saundi)

***Supplies Needed

  • Recycled math games (favorites like Zingo)
  • Seaweed containers only.
  • Index Cards

***Potential Student Visit – Tuesday April 8th
We will have some student guests on Tuesday April 8th.  Our schedule will not change, just FYI and have a great day!

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 have a PT request for additional support on Thursdays before/after school.  Please visit Shutterfly sign up page to volunteer.

MON Mar 31
We need coverage for  Field/Park day NEXT week, April 7th.  Click here to volunteer!

TUE Apr 1
LS (8:30-11:15am)/AS(11:00-1:30pm) & MS (1:30-2:30pm)

WED Apr 2
Science Fair Day

THUR Apr 3

FRI Apr 4
Please contact John Schwartz with any questions or scheduling needs.

PT TOOLBOX: Daniel Goleman on Cultivating Focus (Videos)

Social-emotional learning pioneer and author of New York Times bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, offers insights on the science of focus. WATCH HERE!

Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Friday April 4th We meet at the round table in the courtyard or at Green Roast Coffee (depending on the weather) – we’re at either spot.
  • Tuition is now DUE, thank you!
  • WorkDay #3 – Friday April 11. Plan for an early pick up (12:30pm) so we can join the sprouts in cleaning up and taking home plants or other items that need care or security.

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.  Click here to see our Google Calendar.

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

Community Resource – Constructivist Learning

Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching and Learning
from PBSThirteen

What is constructivism? Constructivism is basically a theory — based on observation and scientific study — about how people learn. It says that people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experience, maybe changing what we believe, or maybe discarding the new information as irrelevant. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know.

In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real-world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure she understands the students’ preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to address them and then build on them.

Constructivist teachers encourage students to constantly assess how the activity is helping them gain understanding. By questioning themselves and their strategies, students in the constructivist classroom ideally become “expert learners.” This gives them ever-broadening tools to keep learning. With a well-planned classroom environment, the students learn HOW TO LEARN.  VISIT 13 for more…

Capacity Building at TKG

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