FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 31 Week 1 (7 to 9 Class)

All Together - 7 to 9 Class
“Let the magic of the guinea pig flow through you.”
― Cassandra Clare
This was a week of grand excitement! At the park, we watched, worried and wondered about the 3 trees being cut down with bulldozers and chainsaws. It was quite a learning experience for all of us as we thought about the gift of trees and community activism to find out facts related to the removal. I am looking forward to going back to find out more information. Also this week, our class pet, Smores, has moved in! Read on to experience our journey.
Notable Notes
  • Monday 5/26 is Memorial Day and TKG is off – three day weekend!
  • Friday 6/6 is a no student day!  Portfolio presentations will be going on and child care will be provided. Please contact Lena if you do not have your meeting time.
  • Friday 6/13 is End of Year Celebration! 9-12 activities galore!
Emerging interests:  A Dream Realized
On Thursday, we reached the most exciting part of our longtime student-initiated project to get a class pet by going to PetSmart to redeem our grant! The morning started off with a brainstorming session to plan our experience and get connected before heading out. Then, we all piled into in the Evangelist “monster” and headed off on our adventure.  It was like our own personal school bus (and with seatbelts!)

Once we arrived, we were paired up with a wonderfully patient and superbly informative sales associate, Drew, who spent almost an hour and a half with us helping us decide between a hamster and a guinea pig. There was unanimous agreement that a guinea pig was the right choice for us and we proceeded to falling in love with the fuzzy adorableness of a guinea pig by taking turns holding it. Then, came the search for the perfect cage. Everyone loved the green and white “peanut” cage we ended up with that is made with recycled bamboo and is actually quite aesthetically pleasing.

During this experience, the students worked on the following skills:

  • Introducing ourselves
  • Gathering facts by asking for information
  • Seeking clarification
  • Comparing and Contrasting
  • Flexible thinking
Math:  Taking “Discovering Digitopolis” on the road
Once we had decided upon a hamster and found the cage, we needed to start determining costs of essentials to see if we had enough for a ball and a harness. The students had the $50 grant money and then $140 fundraised and donated by students and families. So, we walked around and gathered all the supplies we would need. We sat down to determine how much food, litter and hay was going to cost for a month, therefore how many bags we would need to get us through the summer. Students worked in groups to figure out how much that was all going to cost and if there was enough left over for the “goodies”. It turns out we were able to buy enough supplies to take us to September and students are already brainstorming how to raise money to continue buying supplies.
At this point, we must find a way to raise the money as a group so that we have that team experience of organizing fundraising events and work together to bring it to fruition.
During this experience, the students worked on the following skills:
  • Division
  • multiplication
  • subtraction
  • addition
  • quantities (lbs, oz, net weight)
  • percentages
Language topics:  Gratitude in Action
Once we were back in the classroom, students made thank you notes for Drew at PetSmart who took so much time with us. I look forward to delivering them to him to honor all of the time afforded to our group. At home, ask your child what facts Drew gave us that swayed us from a hamster to a guinea pig.

Social Emotional
The students worked on creating a Bill of Rights related to caring for the pet as well as Smores’ Bill of Rights. Every person wants an equal chance to hold the pet and we have decided that since Smores has a right to sleep, he will come out to interact with us at deep learning.
At home, ask your child what is on the Bill of Rights related to the pet and if they want to add or change anything.

Culmination Activities Re-Cap
Thank you for sharing your experiences and feedback on our end of year activities.
The optional parent activities include:

  1. Wed 6/4 Science Fair Open House from 2-3
  2. Mon 6/9 Sports Day beginning at 12pm with Field Games and then at 1pm for Community KickBall
Come visit Smores soon!


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 – Rancho Palos Verdes

Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. Partly Cloudy with a high of 73.  Please wear sunscreen and stay hydrated.

***High School Exploratory Committee – several meetings beginning over Summer
This committee, led by Monica Evangelist, will be researching, touring and building relationships with select high schools in our area in order to help develop curriculum and be ambassadors to the school administration. Click here to sign up for the committee!

***2nd Science Fair Ever 2014 – Parent Open House beginning at 2pm
On 6/4, TKG will have it’s second science fair ever, in the history of the school! Just like our first ever science fair, we are letting the students lead the way.  Last time we had reports, demonstrations, art…our hope for our students is the opportunity to develop their ideas to their highest capacity – no matter what their idea is!

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 Toolbox

PT Schedule
Please sign up to help with PT support on Thursdays.  Please click here to sign up.

MON May 19

THUR May 22

FRI May 23

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions related to PTs and scheduling.

PT RESOURCE: Support the Four Foundational Pillars of Play
When children play, design, explore, learn – they need our support though environmental design and collaboration.  These four pieces help scaffold the constructivist learning model:
  1. open environment – An open environment is not the same as an enriched one: being open does not mean providing more stimuli. Rather, open environments are those in which the child gets to be the author and the medium is open to interpretation.
  2. flexible tools – Part of being open is being flexible. A crayon can be used for drawing anything, but it can also be melted and re-sculpted into something completely different.
  3. modifiable rules – Our children, generally speaking, have gotten really good at following rules, but where will they learn that sometimes it’s best to break them? We can show them how and encourage them when they do it.
  4. superpowers…the physical and mental skills that we develop to adapt and thrive in a complex world while exploring the creative opportunities made possible by global progress. Fundamentally, they are skills reframed as a type of power within the realm of human possibility and reach. Superpowers are the catalysts that maximize the benefits of the other three foundational pillars.
Read the article that inspires this tool, at Fast Co.
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Fri May 23, after 12noon
  • Fundraiser Contributions are due.  Please contact Trish if you need more information.
  • Board Meeting on 5/22, 7pm at TKG

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions or to schedule meeting time.

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 – Whole Child

14 Ways to Keep Your Child from Developing an Eating Disorder
Dr.Laura Markham – Aha! Parenting

In this culture, unfortunately, many of us eat diets that aren’t very healthy, and we don’t get enough exercise. That’s true for our kids, too. In fact, experts suggest that this is the first generation that’s less healthy than their parents.

Unfortunately, when you mix kids’ junk food consumption and lack of exercise with our cultural obsession with thinness, it’s a perfect storm for eating disorders.  Guess how many teens in the US will develop eating disorders?  23% of girls and 6% of boys!

What can you do to prevent your child from developing an eating disorder?  Help your child develop a healthy body AND a healthy body image:

1. Consider your attitude toward your own body.
2. Educate your child about how the media presents thinness as equated with everything positive and perpetuates unrealistic images.
3. Commit yourself to model good eating habits.
4. Don’t talk about dieting.
5. Learn the latest in nutrition.
6. Don’t make your child self-conscious by commenting on it if you notice that she’s becoming a bit pudgy.
7. Throw out the junk food and don’t stock treats except for special occasions.
8. Keep trying to get them to eat their veggies.
9. Get your child involved in sports.
10. Never comment on other people’s bodies.
11 Reduce Stress.
12. Reduce TV use.

Read the complete article at AHAParenting…

Whole Child Resource - Keep your Child from Developing an Eating Disorder

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