“From Under Our Big Tree” Newsletter #16: Acorns Class (Ages 5 to 7)

Weekly Newsletter #16 – 5 to 7 Class

All Together - 5 to 7 Class
“Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn!
You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak!” 
― George Bernard Shaw

Growing Ideas

Hello, hello, hello,

I’ve made a point to use as little (modern) technology as possible this weekend so I’m going to make this email short and sweet.  Speaking of minimizing technology, your child should have received an old fashioned snail mail letter from me recently.  I think I forgot to stamp my return address on a few, so if they want to write back…just let me know if you need my address!

Speaking of contact list, you should have received (from our room parent James) an updated version to include Rafael’s information.  We have been getting to know him and his family.  He likes to be call Hafa (Rs are said as Hs in Portuguese), enjoys playing with new friends on scooter boards and with the kinetic sand, and being read to.  He’s interested in spiders, which is perfect as we are learning about Charlotte and real spiders.  He also is learning English and now we will be learning some Portuguese and Brazilian culture!

In Charlotte’s Web Charlotte wrote her first words in the web SOME PIG.  Dawn led an activity where students created words that describe our class and used crayon resist and water color to artfully express who we are.  Many were inspired and did one for their family or parent so the next day we made web for our upstairs classes.  Before “spinning” our webs this time we took a closer look at different web types; orb, cob, funnel, and sheet webs.

Our older friends are kind, playful, loving, fun, keep us safe, caring, and so much more.  We have wanted to visit upstairs more and more, so the 9-11 class invited us to do reading time with them on Friday!

It is a very exciting time to be at TKG in the 5-7 class!  After brainstorming sessions, both individually and in small groups, we created a list of possible class names.  Teachers asked that the name be related to nature and relate to who we are as a class.  The later was a bit tricky for us as we often thought of names that we liked but maybe wasn’t related to who we are and what we do in the 5-7 class.  After a few questions and explanations students voted for as many names as they liked.   ACORNS had the most votes with 8 and then 7 when someone retracted their vote.   While they wouldn’t say why they changed their mind, I believe that everyone is happy with the name.

We have also begin thinking deeper about our class pet, coming up with a list of options and then making a pro and con list for some of the critters. Along the way we realized that we need to know more about how to care for many of the options so we will be doing research in the coming weeks.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t as short as I was planning.  I just get so excited thinking about our amazing children and our amazing school!

Hugs and see you soon,


Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Lead Teacher “Acorn” Classroom/Founding Teacher
Dawn Smith, Co-Teacher, “Acorn” Classroom
Lena Garcia, School Builder/5-7 Class Mentor and Collaborator
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Google Calendar: Official Events
Shutterfly: For Photos Only
Facebook Group: Private Forum for Parent Chatter
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pintrest/Youtube
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

Tinkering Lab: We continue to expand our lab materials…do you have anything at home? balsa wood, rubber bands, found objects, craft sand, flat cardboard pieces…bring them to TKG!

Field Trip – Friday 29 January, 9:30am/Bolsa Chica State Beach
Focus: Environmental Stewardship
9:45am     Meet at Bolsa Chica State Beach (see map and directions below)
11:00am   Beach Clean-up after conclusion of group program
12:00pm   Lunch on the beach (bring your own!)
Please contact Jen Ceci with any questions.

Constructivist Learning Workshop – Thur 28 Jan, 9:00am/TKG
Join us for an open discussion on defining constructivism, documenting learning and how we learn in a community at TKG. See you after drop off!

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

First Friday Dance Party – Friday 5 Feb: this is a wonderful opportunity to deepen your connection to the students you work with or see around TKG. When you drop off, head to the lower courtyard and boogie ooogie ooogie! Contact Lena.

Mindful Moment – Thrs 1/28 TIME 2:30pm TBD. Look out for a message from Lori about Mindful Moment time on Thursday, or contact her directly (click to email Lori).

PT RESOURCE: You Are the Essence of Learning, Not a School or University
“There’s this illusion that is created in our classical education system and even at university that someone is teaching it to you. Really they’re creating a context in which you need to pull information and own it yourself. … And when you think online, that becomes that much more important.” READ @BIGTHINK
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

Admin Office Hours, Thrs 10:00am @TKG. We don’t have a specific topic this week but you are invited to come with anything that is on your mind.

TKG Board Meeting, Thrs 7:00pm @TKG. Open forum is from 7 to 7:30pm! Contact Monica.

PT Shift Available: make up some missed hours by working 1/2 day on Monday Feb 1st.

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

Is Medical School a Worthwhile Investment for Women?

Before you jump to conclusions…there are many factors that a person must consider before answering this question. At TKG, we envision a place where students and parents have the space to practice deep analysis of the challenges they face in an environment where facilitators encourage divergent thinking. This article may offer some data but it is only one perspective – dig deeper if you dare!

*   *   *
Over the last quarter century, women have been earning college and professional degrees in record numbers. In 1976, women earned only 45 percent of bachelor’s degrees in the United States; by 2006 that had increased to 58 percent. During that same interval, women have made even larger gains in advanced degrees. For example, in 1976 women constituted only 24 percent of first year medical students. By 2006, that number which doubled to 48 percent.

Despite these gains in education, a number of recent studies find that women’s incomes lag those of men. In a study of MBA students from a top program, Marianne Bertrand, Claudia Goldin, and Larry Katz found that while men and women had similar earnings at the outset of their careers ($115,000 per year for women versus $130,000 per year for men), within ten years of graduation men outearned women by $150,000 per year. Similar income gaps have been found for doctors and lawyers. READ @THEATLANTIC

Why Go to Medical School?

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