“From under our big tree” Newsletter: #5 – 5 to 7 Class (11 Oct 2015)

All Together - 5 to 7 Class
“I think you cannot mess up art.”
– Harriette Wardwell
What an exciting week!  We have had our first official parent teachers in the classroom, we are becoming more and more independent, our caterpillars arrived, we made our own playdough and then created apples for our backyard plans.

The playdough was such a hit that many wanted to make it again and again.  They were excited that I would be sharing the recipe with you as well.  (click the link for the recipe) Thank you Meghan for this tried and true recipe-it was easy to make with the kids and they loved seeing how the food coloring mixed in.  We mixed the color both before and after cooking, and then Elyse had the idea of mixing two colors of playdough together.  (I love our mixed age environment!)

Now here’s a little context as to how this project began:
A couple weeks ago I asked students to pick an area in our backyard and play in it for a while.  I invited them to make a gift for another area to get them thinking about each area was connected.  After cleaning up our plans we came inside and shared our ideas and experiences.  The lists were long and what stood out for me the most were the food items because I felt they could relate to all areas and apples specifically because it is that season.

I began by bringing their idea back to them and shared that we will be making our own apples and researching them so we have a better understanding of how to make them.  I also tied in some social emotional learning by reading The Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship.

Over the following weeks we tasted apples, observed and described them, sketched them in detail and then Elle introduced us to water color crayons and pencils.  To stretch their creativity and to connect back to the story I asked them to create their own friend or partner for their apple.  Currently the apples and their mates are drying.  We are hoping they will be ready to play with next week and then we will discuss how we want others to play with our art, and where it should be stored.  I am interested in how they implement the apples into their play and if adding homemade items creates more intention and care in our outdoor space, and of course what they want to make next.

In the weeks to come we will explore the relationships we discovered when reading about apples: apple blossoms, bees, and people.  And I’m sure pumpkins will make their way into our conversations and explorations as well.  It may feel like summer, but fall is in the air!


Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Lead Teacher 5 to 7 Classroom/Founding Teacher
Dawn Smith, Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Lena Garcia, School Builder/5-7 Class Mentor and Collaborator
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Google Calendar: Official Events
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Facebook Group: Private Forum for Parent Chatter
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TKG 2011-2012
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

Parent & Teacher Conferences – Oct 15(pick up at noon)/16 (no school) 
Thank you for signing up. I look forward to meeting with you. This is an adult only meeting so childcare will be available for TKG students as well as non-TKG siblings.

Supplies Needed: family photos, outstanding emergency kits and classroom supplies. We no longer need egg cartons.

TKG Health & Safety: On Wednesday, Renee will be spot checking sprouts for lice. We do not have information that anyone has lice; this is a routine hopefully preventative care.

TKG Principles
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM: teachers and parents support relevant learning & creativity
  • WHOLE CHILD + FAMILY: cognitive, physical and social/emotional health is valued – families & caregivers are our partners
  • BRAIN SCIENCE: we are sensory learners with existing neural pathways and we can help develop and practice positive learning experiences
  • CAPACITY BUILDING: nurturing creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems that serve our community
  • COOPERATIVE LEARNING: small groups, low ratios, mixed ages
Parent Teacher Info

Parent Teacher Toolbox

PTs this Week

  • Monday: GS
  • Thursday: SW

Special Event @ TKG – Tues Oct 20, 7pm: MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED Screening Re-invigorate your connection to our mission to return learning to the student. Registration required

Parent Support Group: Wed Oct 14, 9:30am: Get some support on your parenting journey. Facilitated by Renee Dokmanovich, certified ECHO Instructor. Location provided uponrsvp to Renee.

PT RESOURCE: The BEST Play-Dough Recipe
Pour in all ingredients. (No particular order… each time is different for us.. and it always turns out the same.)
Stir until everything is mixed well.
Once the mixture is (mostly) clump free. Heat over MEDIUM heat.
Stir. Don’t stop stirring. After a few minutes it will start to clump up. (I’m magic! Purple to Green. hah. Different dough.. same step!)
Stir, Stir Stir.Just keep stirring until the Play Dough is formed. It will  form one big clump.
Remove from heat, and knead by hand. (This is my favorite part! It’s so warm and squishy! hah) Note: I forgot to add sparkles in the mix at the beginning, so I just kneaded the sparkles in and it turned out just fine. Get the INGREDIENTS…
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

OCT Tuition: Please finalize your tuition payment. Don’t forget to turn in Riviera Nails & Yogurtland receipts this week!

Admin Office Hours, Thrs 9:00am @ TKG: stop by with any operational, PT, bookkeeping, etc questions!

Board Retreat, Sat Oct 24th, 9am: Board will be getting together to review 2014-2015 goals, set this year’s business agenda and plan for 2017 (and beyond) classrooms.

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 – Our School

Unexpected Tools That are Influencing the Future of Education

We know how kids learn. We know what classes should look like. And yet many classes around the South Bay look almost the opposite. Why is that? It is possible that many of us are caught in the middle of this awkward shift, educated for the industrial age but trying to make a living in the information age. The uncertainty can make us nervous about letting our sprouts find their own way forward. TKG is here, building classrooms for the learner and community – it is what the future needs!
*   *   *
By Katrina Schwartz/MindShift

Some big education issues have been making headlines, including how many and what kind of standardized tests should be used in education, implementation of Common Core State Standards and the Vergara ruling in California challenging teacher tenure. But many educators continue to focus on the more personal issues behind these headlines: how to improve their craft, serve students better, nurture well-rounded, emotionally intelligent students and make educational change in more fundamental ways.


Teachers have long known that struggles in the classroom are often a reflection of society as much as of academic ability. And beyond the many challenges related to rising poverty rates, there is the uniquely confusing moment in which society finds itself. Around the globe, economies are shifting away from machine-focused industries and toward human-powered creative industries. Many adults are caught in the middle of this awkward shift, educated for the industrial age but trying to make a living in the information age. In an uncertain moment, they can be nervous about letting young people find their own way forward. READ @MindShift

These Tools are at TKG


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