FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 2/Year 4 – 5 to 7 Class

Week 2 Documentation & Info – 5 to 7 Class

All Together - 7 to 9 Class
“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Hi there!What is school?  As we have done every year from the very beginning of TKG, we discuss this important question as a community in the early weeks of school. Students have been sharing about what school means to them and what they enjoy about school. They have also been sharing their learning goals and their dislikes or fears about school. At TKG, we are growing a school where our children can learn to learn, love and see the world through the eyes of innovators and catalysts.

We also began our Bill of Rights conversation and will continue to revisit this throughout the year. In this process, we give students the opportunity to name their needs and engage discussion on points that are not embraced by the majority. In other classrooms, you might see a list of “rules” that define an ideal for success in that particular classroom.  For some students this can feel powerless (to not have control of their choices) or they may feel like they fall short (in meeting someone else’s needs) and these feelings are reinforced by the punishment or isolation that results in breaking the rules. At TKG, we want to create the opportunity for students to take ownership of their environment and their community while building confidence in communication and collaboration.
Homeschool Opportunity: Continue the discussion about school and rights at home.  You will be practicing collaboration and communication by sharing your values and modeling dialogue.

FIELD DAY – Learning in Nature
What a beautiful first Field Day!  Thank you for staying for the beginning to support our morning meeting, jobs, and group time.  After you said goodbye we spent our day connecting with each other, exploring the park, checking in with teachers, and eating lunch together.  After lunch we had a little more Deep Learning time before transitioning to the top field area for more fun. Some of the things we learned and practiced:

  • Trust Building
  • First Aid
  • Sun Safety
  • Lepidopterology (want to learn more?)
  • Free Climbing
I’m looking forward to an amazing year of M. E. A. P. S. and all around learning in the outdoors.Math
Currently, our math time is after our morning outdoor/snack break. We are working on counting by ones, twos and tens, counting syllables, noting the time on the time timer, and engineering with blocks and sticks!

We will formally begin small group math time this coming week.  This means we will begin the important unit on Counting Collections this week and then our math workshops as guided by our Contexts for Learning curriculum the following week.  If you have questions about what is coming up or how to deepen math work at home, please contact me.

Our caterpillar grows one circle for each day we have been in school.  We clap count to 10 or 20 and have been counting backwards from 10.  Clapping helps us find patterns and we discovered the difference between even and odd numbers.  We read “Ten Mighty Moogies” and used a number line to count backwards by twos and found a pattern there as well.
Homeschool Opportunity: Find math problems in everything you do! Practice real-life math with your sprouts.

Visual/Performing Arts
F.A.C.E. Time Friday! TKG has a new offering to help students integrate Fine Art and Multi-Cultural Experiences through enrichment plans.  Our eager learners had the opportunity to expand upon their existing knowledge or be introduced to either the world of mask making or acting.  These pods will meet one more time to practice skills or complete their projects, and then the groups will switch experiences.  We were fortunate to have Elle Swartz, our downstairs co-teacher join us to facilitate mask making.  You’ve had the chance to meet Elle at summer meet ups, our pillow fight day and on campus but if you haven’t had a chance to meet her yet, click here for more info and please say hello!
Homeschool Opportunity: Visit the AxS Festival 2014. CURIOSITY has commissioned the fascinating LA-based arts collective Machine Project to re-imagine a quintessential Pasadena landmark — the Greene and Greene Arts and Crafts masterpiece — The Gamble House.

Sprouts are continuing to work on their “I am” books. Most have completed the drafting stage and have begun revising. Drafting helps us to organize our ideas on paper, get our creativity flowing, and build our confidence. We challenged ourselves to sound out words we didn’t know and draw to the best of our ability. We have supported each other through our challenges and are enthusiastic to begin revising at our own pace.
Homeschool Opportunity: Create a haven for writers in a quiet spot in your home.  Place a small organizer (a kit) that holds pencils, pens, eraser, stapler and paper in an easily accessible spot where writers can ground themselves in pictures, words, and stories.  Place their stories in a “library” or presentation location where they can see their collection of published stories.

Community Building
Thursday we had our first Café TKG Restaurant of the year.  Students created their very own place card and waited for their reserved spot.  They enjoyed their meal on plates and used silverware.  We had candles as centerpieces and the teachers served spa water (fresh water infused with strawberries and mint) handmade by the downstairs class.  We focused on eating our nutritious food, and talked about what it is like to eat at a restaurant and the different types of restaurants.  After, those who were interested or remembered the offer, stopped by a table to write a thank you card to the downstairs class before heading to reading.
Homeschool Opportunity: Help your sprout handwrite a thank you note to someone they’d like to thank. Walk through the process of getting a stamp and mailing it!Body & Health
We have a body area in our classroom. During project time sprouts furthered their research on hands by sharing their own background knowledge and through book exploration. They investigated their handprints with magnifying glasses and discussed their unique fingerprints.  We also began collecting questions that we have about how are bodies work. We can’t wait to learn more about our amazing bodies!

This Year’s Guiding Theme – Our “Big Question”
Who Am I?  Who are We?  This week we completed our first class book, it’s about HANDS. Yvette read this book to us and everyone was excited to see their page in a book!  We will share the book on the Green Monster (the drop off/pick up announcements board) this week so you learn more about hands through the eyes of our sprouts, as well as read the questions they have about their body.

Why have a Guiding Theme?  What is a Guiding Theme?  Drawing from the Reggio Emilia approach to education, TKG supports an emergent curriculum –   a living, thinking, child-inspired way of learning that intrigues children.  Our theme gives us a grounding and framework to build upon the inspirations to hold the attention of the learner and build on their a-ha moments with a focused direction.

Don’t forget, our High School committee will be meeting this Wednesday night.  Contact Monica for more details.

Michelle and Yvette

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson
, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton, Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Field Day – 
In the past, we have switched to South Park but we will not be switching this year.   Forecast for tomorrow is: Partly Cloudy with a high of 76F.  Don’t forget to sunscreen at home – thank you!

***Classroom Request – Physical Education
Please provide access to shoes that support running/jumping/balancing for P.E. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Students are welcome to change their shoes after PE. Choose cushion, good support and protection for the care of developing feet. You may find helpful information at or contact your doctor or shoe specialist.***Mindful Moment with Lisette Bodmer – Every Other Thursday, approx 9:15 (after drop off)
We are so happy that we have the opportunity to create a regular mindful moment for our community. Thank you Lisette, for your time and guidance.  Like we experienced at PT training, we will make space for 10-15 minutes of connecting to your truth and creating a practice to care for your self. As you become more comfortable with the practice you will be able to support sprouts in developing their own practice, too.  BEGINS this Thursday! Meeting spot will be in the play yard or the narthex – tba each morning based on weather/comfort.

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 for the week*
FRIDAY (Fieldtrip) – JC,TV
*Names in parentheses are working on-campus, outside the classroom on that day.

Please contact Trish Valdez with any questions related to PTs and scheduling. 

“Play is the mechanism by which children process their new experiences. Play moves sights, sounds, fears, anxieties, excitements, and curiosities to a place of understanding. Play is the vehicle by which new learning roots firmly into the brain. Play is the maker of meaning.”  Deep learning at TKG reveals clues about what our students are processing. The themes they incorporate into their scripts are the pieces of their days that they are trying to understand and as teacher facilitators this is when we take our most copious notes, reserve judgement and collaborate with Michelle on bringing their curiosities to open flow or the peace table.READ Abundant Life’s perspective on PLAY, here.

Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • TUITION IS PAST DUE – please pay your invoice as soon as possible.
  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Thr 9/25 @ 1pm Green Roast Coffee
  • CONTACT LIST has been updated

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 – Brain Function

Study: Sleeping less than 5 hours, or more than 9, can lead to cognitive decline
Howard LeWine, M.D., Chief Medical Editor
Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications/Harvard Health Blog

When it comes to memory, sleep is a Goldilocks issue: both too much and too little aren’t good. Aim for “just right,” says a new report from the Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study.

“Our findings suggest that getting an ‘average’ amount of sleep, seven hours per day, may help maintain memory in later life and that clinical interventions based on sleep therapy should be examined for the prevention of [mental] impairment,” said study leader Elizabeth Devore, an instructor in medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, in a news release.


Capacity Building Resource - How video games are getting in your head and wallet
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