The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

Monday 16 January 2012
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Week 16: Sunny Days in the Garden

Discoveries at TKG
I love teaching and learning in an open classroom!  While we blasted off to “Spaceland” and contemplated how water got into space and on comets, and playing comet catch, we also spent time pretending to be kittens, having an impromptu fire drill, moving the classroom into the hallway, and contemplating ways to get rid of pollution.

We often explore mud puddles and snails on park days.  So, to my surprise there was no interest in a gooey paper mâché planet making project.  Instead students took the balloons from the project into another direction.  We batted them around, watched them float and sink, figured out those with less air are harder to pop, and observed the wind from the floor heater vents lift the balloons into the air.

While reading “The Little House” we had some big feelings toward the city that got closer and closer to the house in the country and filled the air with pollution.  Workshop kitties now live in “Pollution City” and they are not happy about it.  What could they do to make it less polluted?  One of the kitties had a plane that dropped clean air to cover the pollution.    And Greenie planted a corn field so now kitties can buy bio-fuel or they drive solar powered vehicles when the pollution doesn’t block the sun.

Problem solving, communication skills, people skills, life skills – or whatever you want to label it – occurs on a daily basis.  The hallway is too small for our big ships but the escape pods were perfect.  However, we all wanted an equal amount of pillows in our pods and we have an odd number.

S1:  How about I get 3, you get 3, and you get 2?
S2:  But I want 3 as well.
S1:  Ok, how about you get 3, you get 2, and I get 3?
S3:  But I want 3 pillows…..
The conversation continued for a bit.  Then a student suggested he would bring his own pillow and donate it to the class and all was right in the world.  I consider this the real learning.

Week 16: Sunny Days 
This week we will stick to the space theme, but focus on the sun and solar power.  Together we will assemble a solar power car and research other ways to use solar power.  We will discuss how we benefit from the sun and make a sun dial.  Vocabulary will include parts of the sun.

Last Friday we read a book called “Yes Day” and wanted ice cream.  So this week we will have a cooking lesson and make our own ice cream!  If you can think of how I can tie this into a space theme let me know…I’m thinking astronaut ice cream comparison?

With the short week I let the students vote on classroom or park day on Tuesday and as predicted we will be meeting at 321 blastoff on Tuesday.   I’m guessing workshop played a big role in that decision making process.  See you soon Gardeners!

Happy Learning,
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson

p.s. Check out our Flickr photostream here!

Growth: Themes & Plans

Week 16 will focus on the following developmental concepts:


Develop self-control and patience (cooking lesson and solar car assembly)

Learn positive ways to release tension

Throw and catch  (comet catch)


Numbers 11-31: January calendar (math, writing, reading)

Concepts about the sun (science, reading)

Alternative fuel/energy (math, science)

Retelling familiar stories (reading, writing)


Consider and listen to different perspectives  (meetings, workshop)

Allow others to work on projects, read, etc. (cooperative learning)


TKG Fundraising: Buy from our Amazon store and help us raise money for future parent workshops.  Thank you! 

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Next Parent Night is Monday Jan 30th.  We will introduce new parents to our school and do a “Shifting Education Paradigms” Workshop.  We have great interest! Our Daily Breeze story created some attention.
  • Please Return Outstanding Forms: physician’s report, Emergency Form, etc.
  • Please bring your family picture (a small 3×5 photo in a simple frame or cover)

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email t.valdez(AT)knowinggarden(DOT)org.

Enrollment Applications are now being accepted.  Share this link with your friends and family!

We love our Parent Volunteers!

MG will be our parent volunteer this week.  If you have some time, please check in with Michelle for any take-home projects.


ECHO PARENTING classes: Upcoming classes in the South Bay include Anger and Co-Parenting.  Click here for more information.

Resource Of The Week:

From last week’s Alfie Kohn Talk: Our practices are at odds with what we want for our children.

“The lecture began with the audience being asked what their long-term goals are for their children. The answers included self-reliant, creative, curious, compassionate, fulfilled, vital members of their community, happy in their own skin and so forth. You get the drift. Mr. Kohn made the observation that one thing all of these ideals had in common was that none of these descriptions had anything to do with what kind of learners our kids would be, but rather what kind of people they will become.”


© 2012 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families!

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