“From Under Our Big Tree” Weekly Newsletter #9 – The Acorns (5 to 7)

Weekly Newsletter #7 – 5 to 7 Class
All Together - 5 to 7 Class
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 
― Rumi
It feels like every year about this time some students begin getting silly with the idea of having no teachers.  Usually they talk about how they would mess up the room and then not clean it up, or make me do it for them.  Lots of laughter and even grander ideas follow!  I get it, they are processing that we clean up after ourselves.  I think it also may have to do with the “How come you don’t help us?” question I get occasionally.  They have a better understanding when I explain that I help them learn how to do things by not doing it for them.  Then something amazing happens: they imagine what they would do without an adult.

This year is a tad different as the “no teacher” conversation seems to surface more than in the past, which upon reflecting makes perfect sense with this group of sprouts. The second field day of the year, after seeing the olders walk back to the playground sans teacher but within eyesight, Harriette and Dakota asked to walk ahead to the bridge without me- they found a perfect outlook for me and proceeded to walk to the bridge, the farthest possible point on the bridge.  Many students are comfortable walking upstairs to the older classes to count the number of students, ask for a supply, or grab a forgotten item.  Ami reminded me when it’s our day to clean up the yard.  Sophia helped deliver the key to the bathroom train.  Elyse is the go-to person when they don’t know how to read a word yet.  Ruby is comfortable sharing her feelings when something feels unjust.  Ami and Lana wanted to make spa water and I asked them to make a list of items needed and they took it from there.  They checked with the upstairs classes for ingredients and made a test batch with cucumbers from Jaiden’s lunch and an apple from our fridge.  The following day they had brought their own ingredients in and made us our first official batch of spa water!  And of course all the sprouts want to do every teacher type job there is and now we have a list of several student led jobs…AND they began running the math meeting this week.

What I’m getting at here is that we strive for empowerment and these young people are ready for it!  Wanting to give them even more power and responsibility in their own independence I took the silly “no teacher” conversation and reminded them that it’s not just my classroom. It is their classroom too – it is OUR classroom and as an example, we wondered…by not cleaning up they are not only impacting me. With that understanding I asked if they really wanted to have no teacher in the room sometimes.  Many said yes and some said no, but all agreed that they want one of the teachers to leave the room sometimes.  Several conversations later I discovered that one student who didn’t want teachers to leave because then “who would be in charge.”  I simply said, “well, who’s in charge of your body?” peers replied and helped support the idea that we are all in charge of our own bodies.  Once that was settled, the next question was “What if we have to go to the bathroom?”

Clearly they are really thinking about what it would be like without a teacher and they are developing a goal to become independent from teachers.  We even got to try it out for a bit last Thursday when Trish was our parent teacher. It was a perfect opportunity as I had a whole class math activity planned.  After checking in with students, we decided that she could leave for math meeting so I gave her a walky-talky so I could call her if needed while she worked on campus…we succeeded! I was able to support their goal for independence, help them work through their math project and our flow was comfortable. I will continue to scaffold opportunities for them to feel empowered and I look forward to seeing how they will take ownership of their classroom, their learning, and the responsibilities that foster learning and community in our class.

Thanks for coming to the parent meeting! These meetings are important because we get to present real-time information on how your student is learning, growing, thriving! This month, we had the chance to share our appreciations, our wonderings, get school updates and see thoughtful presentations by each teacher. Your attendance is vital to the culture of connection that makes our classroom, and greater community, click. We look forward to the next gathering…it will be social time – designed to strengthen our relationship with one another.

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
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

Grapes of Gratitude 2015 – Sat 14 Nov, 6pm
Our Goal = $6,000
. Please buy your tickets to our Fundraiser, this Saturday. If you can’t attend, join our online auction(link) . You can also Donate, here. Please invite your friends – our school improves with every dollar we raise. Share this link.

Parent Support Group – Tue 7pm (at TKG) or Wed 9:30am(Private Studio): this month, you have the option to attend an evening or morning session. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to get support for your parenting adventures. Contact Renee.

Gratitude Feast + F.A.C.E. Time Demonstration – Fri 20 Nov (time tbd, approximately 1pm) – Our Gratitude Feast is a time for our community to come together and celebrate the things we are grateful for. Students also make presentations on their work. Friends and family are welcome to join the festivities. Contact your Room Parent (James) for details.

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

Cooperative Learning Workshop – Thr @ drop-off: Open Forum and Q&A on how your PT experience is going.  Tools may include: discussion, role-playing, reflection. Contact: Lena

Community Connection Time – Tue @ drop-off: come join P.E. fun and take the opportunity to connect with the community you learn with!

PT RESOURCE: Veterans Day Activities
On November 11, we honor the wartime service and sacrifice of men and women in the armed forces. Originally proclaimed Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I, it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to include American veterans of all wars. Bring a project to your PT work day this week – get inspiration, here!
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

Admin Office Hours, Thrs 9:00am @ TKG: this Thursday, the first hour will focus on your PT experience – schedule questions, how you are completing your hours, your accomplishments! After that, we’ll be talking BARSHA fundraiser, come join.

TKG Board Meeting – Thr 19 Nov 7pm: Guests are welcome to join the first section of the meeting, for open forum. Contact Monica.

Thanksgiving Holiday Nov 23-27: Enjoy your family time! We look forward to hearing about your un-school adventures.

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

History of Veterans Day

As part of our value of social justice, taking care of our Veterans and service persons seems important because their work protects us, within one of the larger communities we inhabit. This community, our nation, is one of the big circles that ripples outside our immediate context thereby requiring that we bring our Veterans’ experience to our children – in an experience that matches their developmental readiness.
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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Read about the History of Veterans Day
Recently in the news @NPR (Families React to Mustard Gas Testing)

History of Veteran's Day

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