FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 7/Year 2 (7 to 9 Class)


All Together - 7 to 9 Class
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
― Marie Curie
Hi Friend,See you tomorrow all!  Forecast is Partly Cloudy with a high of 75°.   Bennett will be bringing community snack.

Tickets for our first ever Holiday Party and School Fundraiser are now ON SALE.  Click here to buy your tickets and share with your friends and family.  For family who can’t attend the event, there is a donation button.  We are a 501c3, so part of the ticket and 100% of donations are tax deductible.

This week we wrapped up our math unit focusing on double digit addition using an open number line as a model and landmark numbers to easily add. We finished the week off by learning 2 math games, Leap Frog and Fly Capture that gave students the opportunity to try out their addition skills in the context of a super fun game. Everyone enjoyed it and it could be adapted for all levels to be engaged and growing.
TKG At home: play Fly Capture with your child/children. Encourage them to use the spaces on the board (that are highlighted in groups of five) to help them jump without having to count one by one.

This week, our M.E.A.P.S. time at Hess park took the lens of mathematics as the whole group stayed together to focus on “The Story of the Earth,” and the cosmic calendar. Extending the work that the students did with Michelle around geology, we thought that it could be compelling to begin to tell the story of this big rock we call home. Our main primary source is, Older than the Stars.

One of the reasons we thought about introducing this concept at the park was the wide, open space the field (a.k.a. meadow) provides us. It is perfect for running and leaping and imagining that we are in space. It was the perfect place to try to imagine how big a billion is, or more specifically, how to visualize how long ago a billion years is. We tiptoed, stepped, leapt and cartwheeled our way across the field, working on our number sense along the way. We utilized groups of ten to move us forward. The focus was trying to visualize just how long ago the Big Bang happened and to see and hear these big numbers within the context of our planet. It was a big concept for some, who mainly focused on perfecting their cartwheels, but they were hearing and observing their older peers engage in counting into the billions!

Here is what the students saw and heard, stretched out on a line that ran through the field.
10 1’s=10
10 10’s=100 hundred
10 100’s=1,000 thousand
10 1,000’s=10,000 thousand
10 10,000’s=100,000 thousand
10 100,000’s-1,000,000 million
10 1,000,000’s-10,000,000 million
10 10,000,000’s-100,000,000 million
10 100,000,000’s-1,000,000,000 billion

One of the very rich opportunities we will have as we explore this topic is the possibility that different families may believe different things about how life on Earth began and students will bring this knowledge to us to try to figure it out for themselves and with each other. Our approach is to honor that there are many stories, and support that this is the story we are going to focus on now. Our intention is to support children in sharing their opinions, accepting that others may differ, and ensuring the ideology that there doesn’t have to be a wrong or right and that our differences have the potential to bring us closer. On a larger level, we will be exploring how we can find connecting language to use with each other when we have different beliefs. A worthy endeavor!

TKG @ Home: Talk about A BILLION.  Get a sense for your student’s readiness to understand a Billion and share your stories with us.

Artful Learning
F.A.C.E. time

When students were with me for theater, we created our own play based on a book, The Runaway Pancakeby John Lithgow that is an adaptation of the gingerbread boy story. Students had experience thinking about how to use their bodies and their voice to tell a story. We talked about characters and each student picked a role and a set of lines to practice. Then, we thought about where we would put our bodies, blocking, to maximize the experience of the audience. Last, we added simple costumes (using pieces of fabric to establish tone) to transform us into our characters. The students performed it in front of their peers at snack to great applause and many laughs. All of that in only 2 hours of meeting time! Look out Broadway!

Printmaking (special contributor: Elle)
This week in art, students exercised skill in perseverance, focus, and problem solving. Continuing with the printmaking work they started last week, the students were able to revise their designs, sometimes needing to begin again completely, and make prints using multiple colored inks and papers. It was truly remarkable to see the dedication students had to their projects while they continued to work and revise, getting overjoyed when they clearly saw the fruits of their labor in a clean print! We are also building our artist community by learning constructive feedback techniques that build confidence and promote a safe environment for experimentation and discovery.

Congratulations are in order, and thank you to Monica, we were awarded a PetSmart grant in the amount of $50 to help us continue to care for our sweet Smores. We are still planning to raise more money and you will be hearing more details in the near future.

Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Elle Schwarz, Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***TKG Book Club – Wed Oct 29th, 7.00pm
We are reading: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Chapter: Whole-hearted Parenting. Please REGISTER and INVITE your friends!

***Classroom Materials Needed
Please donate clean tin cans for our outdoor classroom; to Erin or Trish at drop-off.

***First Friday Dance Party – MasqueRave Edition, This Friday at Drop Off in Fellowship Hall
Get ready for some dancing!  Send your requests.  Carnival games are welcome, please drop them off to Erin or Saundi by Thursday.

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM: teachers and parents provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD + FAMILY, cognitive, physical and social/emotional capacities are connected – families & caregivers are our partners
  • BRAIN SCIENCE,we are sensory learners with existing neural pathways and we can help develop and practice new learning
  • 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*
WEDNESDAY – ME (EL, LS) NEED AN AM set up volunteer
THURSDAY – (EL) NEED AN AM set up volunteer
FRIDAY – (EL, ME, TV) NEED AN AM Breezeway volunteer

PRINT the most current PT Calendar, here. Please make your November changes asap and contact Trish with questions.

PT RESOURCE: Be True to Who You Are and Where You Are
Don’t try and teach all of our sprouts the same every time you work in the classroom or at field day.  It is more effective to adjust your intervention based on your state of mind in the moment.Let’s take a look at the 3 general states we exist in:  Reactive, Responsive, Intuitive

When you are in an intuitive state, trust your instincts and your intuitions. When you are in a responsive state, continue to listen to your gut instincts and intuitions, but also use mental reflection to help evaluate what is working and what is not. When you are in a reactive state, there are two likely outcomes. The first, and most ideal situation, is that you recognize that you are in a “red alert” state and ask for someone to step in for you. You may have to say something like, “I need a glass of water” or Lena may ask you to take a pause to help you transition away. This is a great time to use your grounding techniques or deep breathing.

The other possible outcome of being in the reactive state is to find yourself in that oh-so-fun swampland of messiness and mis-takes. On one hand, do what you can to keep it from happening. On the other hand, it will happen — that’s life.

Experiences of messiness and mistakes are necessary for growth. Through them we prepare our children for a world in which they and other people are messy and make mistakes, and we will make our best effort to repair and scaffold the practice of moving through the rupture.  READ the article that supports this tool at ESSENTIAL PARENTING…

Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • Office Hours 10/31, after Dance Party ’til 11am
  • Fundraiser Opportunity Week of Oct 27th @ The Counter (applies to Deferred Tuition) – Don’t forget the FLYER (print outs available on Info Board)!
  • Early Day 10/29 @ 12pm Pick up will be early for teacher planning time

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions or to schedule meeting time.  The most updated calendar is online. PRINT the latest Official Calendar, here. 

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 – Capacity Building

Redefining ‘rigor’
@Dangerously Irrelevant

We’ve always defined, as an educational community, rigor as being a lot of hard drudgery, what we consider really hard work, taking engagement and interests completely out of the equation and saying, ‘If we see kids who are sitting at their desks and they’re just writing a ton or they’re doing a bunch of research, if they just look kind of upset, if they look like they are not enjoying themselves, then there is rigorous things going on in that classroom.’ That’s a real problem.

We need to stop defining rigor as busywork, as kids knuckling down to the pressure and the drudgery of school. At the end of the year, there is this huge binder of notes and diagrams from PowerPoint exhibits, stuff that kids worked all year on. I’ve talked to kids here who have produced an artifact like that. To the outside community, even in many ways to the inside community, that looks rigorous because, look at what you produced.

But when we talk to those kids, when we ask, ‘What are your retaining from this? What do you feel…READ ON.

Redefining Rigor


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