Community Newsletter-Week #30 Redwoods Class (Ages 9-11)

Community Newsletter-Week #30 Redwoods Class (Ages 9-11)

Community at TKG
Redwoods: Working on their stencil artwork

Deep Learning at TKG

“A party without cake is just a meeting” 

― Julia Child

Layer Cake: When More is More

If you know me, then you know that I am a self-admitted & self-admonished avoider of cooking or baking. It might be because I once dated a sous chef & then later lived with a friend who is an amazing cook, adding up to at least six years of my life in which cooking was taken care of. Yet somehow, I took upon myself one time the challenge of making a birthday cake for my friend. I did it with the guidance of my roommate, & for some reason I still don’t know now, I decided that making a SEVEN-layer cake would be awesome. And, so I did. And I took that cake to the restaurant we’d be having dinner at, & I served up that delicious project, & everyone loved it. Including the wait staff.

And I have never baked another cake again.

Here’s what I learned from my layer cake: More is more. And more is better. And when you go big, you risk big, & you can win big. And afterwards, you can happily move on to something else with great satisfaction.

So my layer cake this year has been teaching our Native American studies curriculum. Normally, this curriculum would take up a few weeks, & teachers move on to California history, Columbus, & the Gold Rush. But what’s the hurry? First Nations have been in North America for 10,000 years. And comparing them to Europeans has taught us a LOT about the evolution of societies, a la Guns, Germs, and Steel, which is college-level reading.

Instead of one layer of Native American studies this year, we’ve gone for more. And the deeper & more often we loop back to different aspects of it, the more I think it becomes significant in a way of learning & studying. I love themes that can be explored from many angles; they become richer & more personally interesting. They become themes that are alive and recognizable throughout our visual, intellectual, & global communities.

There have been so many disciplinary layers to our Native studies this year, & that has made each project stand-alone special:

  • Navajo rugs (culture, art, history, technology) → geometry/symmetry/tessalations (math) → design your own rug (STEAM)
  • Dreamcatchers (culture, folklore, history) → circle/angles (math) → create your own dreamcatcher (handicrafts, STEAM, fine motor)
  • Tribal shields (culture, symbolism, history)
  • Poetry (point of view, simile, metaphor)
  • Art auction stenciling (culture, symbolism, technology, STEAM, design, fine motor)
As the year draws to a close, we’ll be putting the icing on this cake!

xo Alice

Alice Shippee, Redwoods Lead Teacher
Lena Garcia, Head of Education, Teacher Mentor
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Monica Evangelist, Board President
Facebook (private group), Community Forum
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
OFFICIAL CALENDAR: subscribe and never miss an event

Redwoods reveal their stencil work! See more on YouTube!


  • Early Pick Up, THIS THURS. Thank you for giving us a day to plan for the end of year work. There is still much to be done!
  • Teacher Appreciation, FRI 2:30-3pm. Dance party with our favorite teachers, in the courtyard! Jamba Juice will be here too (just like last time, bring cash).
  • Thinker Fair, WED 10 May 9:00am. Can’t wait to see all the projects and plans. Be sure to check in if you have questions or get stuck. Friends & Family are welcome to join.


PTs This Week

  • (schedule is for PT parents only)
  • Passion Project Party, This Sat! There will be childcare at this gathering…check out BiddingForGood to get last chance tickets.
  • Field Trip #6, Mon 15 May. Details forthcoming.
TKG Learn: Addressing Unconscious Bias in Teacher Expectations


  • MAY Tuition/Deferred Tuition is NOW DUE. Please contact Trish with questions.
  • Mother’s Day “Hug,” FRI 12 May @ Drop Off. Join us for a cup of tea to celebrate mom!
  • Handyperson Day, Sat 13 May. Please let us know if you will not be able to attend this day (if your PT hours are allocated to handy work).
TKG Know: See Our Official Calendar


In Education News: Whole Child
TKG Focus: WHOLE CHILD & PARENT. The power of the, pause. What happens in the space between need and response? Integration. We orient. We feel. We are present thus, we can practice self-regulation and creativity. Watch this short video and get inspired by your sprout’s cognitive development.

TEDxAustin – Carrie Contey

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Carrie Contey is a nationally recognized prenatal and perinatal psychologist who reminds us of the power of pause. She explains that there’s a reason that so many ideas seem to materialize when were out of concentrated thinking mode; in the shower, on a walk, upon waking. Carrie urges us to do less to be more – and taking a moment to watch her talk is a great way to start. Visit Carrie’s site~

WATCH on YouTube
© 2016 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families! 2017 The Knowing Garden, All rights reserved.

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