WEEK 19 “From Under Our Big Tree” NEWSLETTER: 5 to 7 Class (Spotlight on Supporting Self-Discovery)

All Together - 5 to 7 Class
“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
― May Sarton
By now, you’ve heard us talk about growth edges.  In our context, it is the space just outside what a student can do autonomously, with help from a teacher or parent – the Zone of Proximal Development.  This zone, by nature of change, can be difficult but we persist because we know “the plasticity of the brain gives facilitators and children a chance to do the hard work to change it,” (see Joanne Deak, Fantastic Elastic Brain).  In these moments that are hard, your student’s brain is growing like a muscle – they are changing and their brains are becoming “robust.”

What topics are in our collective growth edge currently?

  • Friendships
  • Inclusion
  • Authenticity (being true to themselves)
  • Ownership of Learning
We are supporting this self-discovery with books with many different points of view and cultural diversity. Books are a powerful way to communicate with children:
  • While reading about Martin Luther King Jr.  a few weeks ago  we started thinking about how we are all the same and should be treated the same. While reading Stripes and Spots by Dahlov Ipcarsome students began connecting our thinking about MLK to the animals in the book.
  • The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger helped us understand that we are all ready at different times and sometimes a friend is helpful.  (The book also uses collage and motion lines, and is not as wide as most books.)
  • Leo The Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus is about a Tiger who’s fathers worried that his son wasn’t blooming.  He didn’t speak, draw, read, or write.  By the end the little tiger was blooming, and he spoke not just a word, but a whole sentence.  I covered what he said and offered our bloomers to write in their journal what they would have the little Tiger say.  It’s a great book that reminds us we are all at different stages and that’s wonderful.
  • I Wish I Were A Butterfly by James Howe paints the story of a cricket who wishes he were a butterfly, because the frog at the edge of the pond called him ugly.  Throughout this story we thought about what it means to comfortable with yourself, not take things personally, and how friends can help you realize that you ARE beautiful.
  • Flabbersmashed About You by Rachel Vail is a book donated by Yvette a couple years ago.  The main character Katie is rather upset that her best friend is playing with someone else at recess.  This opened up conversations about friendships and if her friend was actually leaving her out or if Katie wasn’t interested or ready to play a different kind of game.  Can you have more than one friend?
  • Stand In My Shoes: Kids Leaning About Empathy by Bob Sornson is a captivating book we will read again.  The illustrations were very realistic and unlike anything we’ve seen before.  Most of us were engrossed in the pictures and our conversation revolved around the pictures.  It is a story of a girl who learns about empathy from her older sister and spends the day thinking about other’s feelings and perspectives.  Like in How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath, she realizes that helping others makes her feel good too!
Have a book you think we would love?  Your child is welcome to bring it in!

We also support this journey of self-discovery with dialogue. Throughout the week our meeting topics have been about Friendship, and what it means to each of them.  With the Day of Friendship coming this Thursday we will continue to visit this meaningful discussion.  We have started making gifts and cards at Deep Learning and will have other opportunities to make thoughtful gifts for our friends to celebrate. I shared with them that we are encouraging them to make their own cards and not buy them. Check in with your child to see if they want to create at home. Please do not pressure them to participate, encourage dialogue by sharing your values around friendship.  Also, do a check in on gender biases.   Girls tend to want to give/receive presents.  Boys seem to show less interest.  What can we introduce to the conversation to offer other perspectives and experiences to the one that is present in your home environment? At TKG we strive to minimize commercialism as well as support student creativity and connection to peers by making something meaningful.

Happy Learning,
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson
, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton, Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Dawn Smith, Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Lena Garcia, School Builder/5-7 Class Mentor and Collaborator
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
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TKG Info
Tending the Garden

***Day of Friendship – Thr Feb 12
Students who want to bring cards or gifts (not required and we encourage the decision to be child-led), are welcome to bring home-made creations.  Please no candy or treats unless they are homemade. Contact Michelle.  

***Book Club Series Meeting #3 – Thursday 2/12, 7pm @ TKG
If you and your sprout have been working on an exclusionary play project, come join an open-ended forum about friendship and exploration through play as we dive in to BEST FRIENDS, WORST ENEMIES. We would like to review the entire book with a focus on Chapter 12.  Other chapters to review: 3, 5 and 6. Contact Michelle.

***Community Workshop – An Ounce of Prevention – Tue 2/17, 9:30am @ TKG
Pattie Fitzgerald will be at The Knowing Garden to share one of her innovative and non-fearful safety programs, An Ounce Of Prevention, designed to teach parents and caregivers vital strategies and skills designed to keep children safe from predators, including 10 Family Safety Rules, 10 Red Flags and Warning Signs, 20 Prevention Tips and Guidelines for teaching children.  REGISTRATION REQUIRED – Click here! Contact Trish.

TKG Principles
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

MONDAY Erin (Jennifer (PM))
TUESDAY (Erin (AM set up/PM clean up), Saundi (AM Breezeway))
WEDNESDAY – (Erin (AM set up/PM clean up), Saundi (AM Breezeway))
THURSDAY – Saundi (Erin (AM set up/PM clean up), Schwartz (AM Breezeway))

Download the most current PT Calendar – here!  Please make changes directly with available PTs.  Missed shifts are billed at $20 per hour.  Make-ups encouraged! Contact Trish with any questions.

PT RESOURCE: Can Perseverance Be Taught?
“This question is motivated by two everyday intuitions, both of which have been confirmed in empirical research: First, some people are, in general, more persistent and passionate about long-term goals. Second, grit predicts success. Grit is not the only determinant of success – opportunity and talent matter, too. But on average, grittier individuals are more successful than others, particularly in very challenging situations”.  Read Dr. Duckworth’s article, here.
How can you implement this in your Parent Teaching?
  1. Maintain high expectations (relative to the student)
  2. Don’t loosen your expectation to make things easier/speed things up.
  3. Share your value of working through the challenge; model determination.
  4. Encourage absolutely.  Words like “you can,” “look at what you are doing,” and “i will be here while you work on this,” make the goal feasible in the face of adversity.
  5. Empower a child to practice the things they are just able to do for themselves without intervention.
Admin Announcements
From the TKG Office
  • Enrollment Information Night Feb 26th, 7pm @ TKGInvite your friends to come learn about TKG. Even if they think they don’t/can’t/won’t – our educational philosophies will inspire parents to continue advocacy for their children, no matter their environment.  Share this link with your friends!
  • Office Hours – Feb 2/12 1pm Join us @GreenRoast – no business needed, come have tea!
  • School Holiday Feb 13 & 16 In honor of Presidents’ Day and we will begin preparations for upcoming Teacher Conferences.  Enjoy some unschooling and connection time with your sprouts!

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions or to schedule meeting time. PRINT the official Calendar (updated weekly).   The google calendar, online, is the most up to date calendar (reflects daily changes).

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 – Constructivist Learning

The Dark Origins Of Valentine’s Day

Today’s post was selected to help us turn our current take on Valentine’s day upside down.  The practice of seeing things from a different angle promotes self-reflection and innovation.  In turn, offering new angles to your sprouts will promote self-discovery and sense of community.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romance and love and kissy-face fealty. But the origins of this festival of candy and cupids are actually dark, bloody — and a bit muddled. Though no one has pinpointed the exact origin of the holiday, one good place to start is ancient Rome, where men hit on women by, well, hitting them.

Those Wild And Crazy Romans

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

The brutal fete included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar…READ ON @NPR

Constructivist Learning - Valentine's Day

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