“From Under Our Big Tree” NEWSLETTER (Week 21-5 to 7 Class): Spotlight on TKG’s Innovation Lab

All Together - 5 to 7 Class
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Good Morning!

You may have heard that our Innovation Lab/Project Time has a new layer.  We began with role playing in the neighborhood and developing characters and making mini books.  For one of our books, my provocation (definition) was to think about a problem their character has in the neighborhood.  Litter was a problem that many of them encountered.

Our emergent plan continued when, as the Mayor, I asked them to create inventions that would help solve the litter problem.  I introduced two parameters: the plan must fit on a paper I gave them and everyone begins with the same building materials.  In order to access more materials, they would come to the Studio Store (video) and make a proposal – as in, explain to me the details of what items where needed, the quantity or volume, and the projected use.  After each session we regroup and reflect and plan on what they intend to do and experience in the next session.  During the first reflection they all agreed they would like to use money at the store and have more time.   Talk about real world, who doesn’t want money and time?  So the next meeting Mayor Wooly gave them a budget of $10.  With each session I add a layer, such as collaborating and designating one spokesperson from your group to represent your proposal.  I create the opportunity for equity by asking that every group member have an opportunity to visit the store.
Both classrooms have been thinking about the city and the neighborhood, so our upcoming field trip is a way to take this learning out into the world. We are grateful that the City of Redondo is opening up their doors to show us the inner workings of several of the important city services that the City provides its citizens: City Hall, the Police Department and the Library. This insiders’ look at the goings-on at these valuable city services is sure to provide a deeper understanding of how a city functions and how we as citizens can both contribute to and benefit from our city.

Starting with a ten dollar bill customers had to determine the amount of change they should receive (their tools include readily available paper and a math rack).  The money concept not only supported subtraction practice but it revealed some growth edges.  Some groups quickly ran out of money and realized they need to slow down and not buy everything so quickly.  Fortunately Studio Store takes returns if the items are in good condition.  The store also has a security system so if customers try to walk off without paying for an item the alarm will sound.  Knowing that budgets were running low I offered a chance to come work for Wooly during Deep Learning.  I have to admit, I’m having fun right there with them!

Currently Studio Store is having a sale and most items are 25 cents (video).  Yes, this was my way of introducing coin values.  I read Cliques Just Don’t Make Cents which not only supported our understanding of the coins, but helped us dig into some of our social struggles.  We’ve been practicing chanting 25, 50, 75, 100 and are getting comfortable using quarters as currency.

With the excitement of Studio Store I feel they have been finding ways to stretch out their projects, so the mayor will ask them to submit their proposals by a specific deadline.  We look forward to sharing our inventions with you soon!

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
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***100th Day Celebration – Tue 2/24; 1pm
Please join us in celebration of our 100th day of school!  No need to bring anything.  This is a child-led project! Contact Michelle

***Parent Information Night – Thr 2/26; 7pm
Invite one friend to join us for Info Night!  Whether or not they are considering enrollment, they will leave with great information on why a positive learning experience is a great predictor of academic success! Register at KnowingGarden.org Contact Trish

***Field Trip Fri 2/27 – City & The Neighborhood
-Meet at 8:45am at the Civic Center Circle, just outside the Council Chambers (415 Diamond Street, on the northwest corner of PCH. Free parking is available at the underground parking structure which is accessed via the entrance on the south side of the building.)

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, Saundi, Trish
TUESDAY (Erin (AM Breezeway/PM clean up), Saundi (AM set up))
WEDNESDAY – Ellen (1pm + PM Clean Up)  (Jennifer (AM Breezeway), Lori (AM set up))
THURSDAY – Lori, Renee ((Erin (AM Breezeway), Saundi (AM set up))
FRIDAY – Field Trip point people: Jennifer, Shannon

Need to make up work hours?  We need help with PM clean up on Thursday.

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

PT RESOURCE: Nutrition & Hydration
As children grow, their palates continue to be shaped by the food environment they were born into including our school environment and commercial-heavy media.  What can we do as teachers in this health-conscious community?  Here are some tips on encouraging nourishing snack and lunch and drinking plenty of water:
  • At snack, encourage students to sit with community and take their time
  • Check water bottles and offer cups/glasses to students who may not have a water bottle available
  • If a student expresses hunger or thirst at any time, do a quick check in with the nearest teacher if possible and help facilitate an efficient snack in a zone where distraction to others will be low
  • At lunch, encourage students to share in community discourse, celebrate their healthy choices, and refill their water bottles
  • Keep trying new foods!  Park Day community snack was created to give us the opportunity to tickle our palates with new flavors.  If you are a cook, offer a health/snack plan during your next deep learning time (check with Michelle)
Read about breakfast in this article @NYTs
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • Appeal Week 2015 Our week-long fundraising initiative begins tomorrow!  Visit our Giving page and donate online or make a pledge.  We encourage every family to give –installments are available.  We need every gift to continue our mission to establish TKG as a first-choice in a collaborative and innovative school.  Look out for additional e-mail messages and don’t hesitate to contact Trish should you need additional information. Share this link with your friends and family!
  • TKG Yearbooks – Need to catch up on your yearbook archive?  Please check out our Shutterfly Photo page to order (links are posted along the right side of the page, 2014 will be up soon!). Contact Alice
  • Amazon Reports have been printed!!!  Please check the green monster this week.  If you have last month’s report, please return it asap.  We also suggest that you print out your orders report to verify your purchases.  Contact Trish
  • Fundraiser Opportunity – Fri 2/27 @ SmashBurger in Redondo Beach.  Come one, come all!  No flyer needed – just mention TKG when you order.  Offer open all day!Contact Shannon.

Thank you Families! Contact Monica or Trish.  Printable official Calendar is available here (or on Google).

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


You’ve probably noticed: sometimes we get it wrong but we don’t consider it a failure, we turn it in to a step on the way.  You’ve also noticed that sometimes things feel like they move slowly, but you’ve probably also noted that sometimes we move fast – in response to your feedback, anytime.  This article was selected to underscore our commitment to creativity in education, because it fits the business model of the future:

For many in creative fields Pixar is an example of a company that has it all figured out—the innovative animation giant has created 14 No. 1 movies in a row. Clearly they are doing something right. But what? Can other managers learn from their success?

Executive Editor Rick Tetzeli asked Pixar President Ed Catmull to share his secrets to leading a creative company.

His experience in running an artistic powerhouse shouldn’t dissuade those of us in less creative fields. “What I’ve learned running Pixar applies to all businesses, he said. “I apply the term ‘creativity’ broadly … it’s problem solving. READ MORE @FastCo.

Capacity Building - Creativity in Business
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