“From Under Our Big Tree” Newsletter #14: School-Wide

All Together - Community
“If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead.
Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it.
Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”
Roald Dahl
We are looking forward to seeing you again this week! Hopefully, you had a restful and wonderful holiday – we are ready to dive in to the learning that will close out 2015 – TKG’s 5th year!

This Monday marks a NEW PARK LOCATION! We are now meeting at (park info omitted) until further notice.

Remember the Holiday Celebration?! We do…and we don’t want to forget the learning, collaboration and joy we experienced as the whole school worked so diligently the last couple of weeks of 2015; and we were so excited to be able to share our individual, small group and whole class passions with you. Our 5-7 year olds brought us the first part of their Charlotte’s Web play. As you saw (video link forthcoming), there were many opportunities for mathematical and literacy learning as well as learning about the dramatic arts. And as a foundation for it all- how to collaborate with a team, persevere and keep the process joyful and enticing.

Our 5-7 year olds demonstrated a teacher- initiated project, which you will have a chance to check out from each classroom throughout the year. That work happens either in our Open Flow part of the day (morning) or in our Community Project time at the end of the day. The middle part of the day is dedicated to our Personal Project Time. Back in November, our 9-11 class spearheaded the sharing of the passion projects they came up with during this time. The experience left a lasting impression on the 7-9 class. Many of our sprouts began asking if they could also share their passion projects this year. The thought of public presentation daunted none as our wonderfully nurtured and supported sprouts were eager to share with all of our community.

Below are a few comments from each of the 7-9 presenters during the creation of their project. We can read between the lines to hear students developing important life skills of leadership, grit, creativity, precision, time management, critical thinking, investigation, problem solving, conflict resolution and collaboration.

“I don’t think I will have time to make all four of my animal drawings for the holiday show. It takes a lot of time and I don’t want to rush. I think I’m going to focus on finishing the background of my horse drawing. I want to add more trees and houses, with a little chimney. I still have lots of space on my paper for background detail.” Anna

“I can use pencil in so many ways.  I don’t even need to add color. Like I can make lines thick or skinny, or shape in, and it gives the drawing lots of different texture.” Aiel

“I never knew there were so many different types of rainbows. Did you know that there’s even a rainbow named Alexander’s rainbow? Crazy right?” Sydney

“Ok guys here’s your script, I’ll sit in front and tell you how it’s going. I’ll let you know if something needs to be changed.” Mia

“We have to be committed to this, if we’re really passionate about it, like every day we need to work on this.” Alex

“This is so frustrating, as soon as I’m about to finish they fall and I have to start all over!” Lucas (although he never gave up)

“Hey guys how about we work together, so we could connect them, and then it would be even more amazing!” Zara

“If we spend all our time arguing about what song or what costume, we are never going to have time to actually do it and practice.” Tillie

“Everyone should be able to choose their own costume, because we all have our own ideas.  Even if we all are Mrs. Claus. So whatever you guys want to be is okay.” Jaiden

“We should all just do the same move so that way it can be fair. But it has to be something that we can all agree to.” Maiya

I look forward to seeing where these passion projects will go, and what new passions will emerge this New Year. Hope 2016 year brings joy, creativity and new found passions to you and yours!

Con Amor,
Yvette, Michelle and Lena

Lena Garcia, School Builder, 9-11 Teacher, Teacher Mentor and Collaborator
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, 5-7 Lead Teacher, Founding Teacher
Yvette Fenton, 7 to 9 Lead Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Google Calendar: Official Events
Shutterfly: Photos only
Facebook Group: Private forum for parent chatter
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pintrest/Youtube
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

  • First Friday Dance Party – Jan 8 @ Drop Off – Join the fun! Prolong the goodbye! Move some of the good stuff. Contact your teacher with any questions.
  • Maker School Project – TKG is going to LACOE Maker Day! If you are interested in being a co-Presenter (Design and lead hands-on sessions), Exhibitor (Teachers and students will informally present their classroom maker experiences in an exhibit hall) or collaborator – please contact Trish right away!
  • Teacher Planning Day – Wed 13 Jan @ 12pm – early pick up!
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 – M(am), M, J, Sub needed(pm)
to receive full tuition credit, download begins at 8:30am and includes 30 minutes post work day debrief or as pre-arranged with your teacher.

Mindful Moment: Monday @ Drop-Off: Please take a moment to quiet your mind and be present. Facilitated by Lori, rsvp directly

Self-Care Opportunity – Wed 6 Jan @Riviera Nails: All Day! Stop by our favorite nail spa and take a few moments to recharge your self’s batteries (and earn tuition credit)!

PT RESOURCE: Inspiring Reading
There’s a big difference between teaching kids to read and teaching them to love reading.As a PT, we encourage you to support a love of reading. Here are some tips:
  1. Play rhyming games, reading aloud books that have a lot of rhyme in them and other types of wordplay, like alliteration. 
  2. Model reading
  3. Boredom is OK – it is the edge of innovation
  4. Have the expectation that students love to read
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

Admin Office Hours, this Thursday from 9 to 11am – All are welcome!

Work Day #2 – Sat 9 Jan @ 8:30am – This is a parent participation event. Please contact Trish if you need to schedule a make up work day.

Monthly Parent Meeting – Thr 14 Jan – Save the Date!

Visit Shutterfly and check out more of your class’ photos! You may need to be added, so just request permission and we will take care of it asap.

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

Scientists Want to Turn Your Old Sandwich Into an Indestructible Wonder Material
One of TKG’s tenets is CAPACITY BUILDING. What exactly do we mean? That means we plan projects to create opportunities for our students to experience developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that organizations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in the fast-changing world. We strive to let our students SOLVE THEIR OWN PROBLEMS and COLLABORATE to INNOVATE…like these scientists:

*   *   *
By Suzanne Jacobs/Grist!
Hold on to your food scraps, people! Anaerobic digestion is very in right now, and you know what that means — your self-righteous compost bins might not be the only game in town anymore when it comes to reducing food waste.

What’s anaerobic digestion, you ask? Simple — let a bunch of bacteria feast on your unwanted food (or any organic matter, really) in an oxygen-free environment and out comes biogas, a mixture of mostly carbon dioxide and methane. That biogas can be used to generate heat and electricity; people have already used it to power cars, supermarkets, and even Disney World! READ MORE @Grist.Org

Capacity Building - Solving Our Problems

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