The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

18 May 2012
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Week 32: Highlights & Information
Discoveries at TKG
Hellllllooooo Families!While you review our week, please keep our school tenets in mind:

  • CONSTRUCTIVISM(expanding existing knowledge)
  • WHOLE CHILD (emotional/cognitive/social/physical)
  • BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT (readiness and willingness)
  • CAPACITY BUILDING (critical thinking, skills for the global marketplace)
  • CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING (learning from one another)

Below is an outline of how we built on our tenets and developed “learning how to learn” skills.

This week was all about…


  • Lego letters (COGNITIVE/CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): fine motor skills and language.  Focused on medial vowel a, letter recognition, word reading, and added letters or replaced letters to make new words! Clean up became a part of Lego letters.
  • Library Time: (COGNITIVE, CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): the duckling and the chick! students are tracking, left to right, becoming familiar with sight words (me too, said the) as well as quotations.  Students make predictions about the stories they are hearing. We also enjoyed: a page from the weird book about frogs, The Pigeon finds a Hot Dog and Rhyming Dust Bunnies, but we couldn’t find the book, so we made up our own using the word family flip book.  We read The Little House,Ten Mighty Moggies, Hippo Hop, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Yoko…
  • Sequencing Cards (COGNITIVE, CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): All students are engaged in sequencing.


  • Sidewalk chalk (PHYSICAL, COGNITIVE) : Fine motor skills, Gross motor skills, Art,  Open ended!
  • Book Making (COGNITIVE, CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): When we couldn’t find the book (Rhyming Dust Bunnies), we made up our own using the word family flip book
  • White Board Exploration (CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): Volunteers writing out words and practicing letter sounds while students drew stories via symbols


  • Math Workshop and kitty workshop: (COGNITIVE) students natural focus was on weight…”this weighs 8 cows, this is 400 planes, I’m going to count this way, I’m lining them up in 2 rows to count.”  We also heard stories during math workshop
  • Subtraction (COGINITIVE) read Ten Mighty Moggies and subtracted by 2 using blue rhombuses
  • Greater/Less Concepts (COGNITIVE) bigger/smaller & greater/less than or equal concepts discussed and processed


  • Butterfly observation: (COGNITIVE) science, language arts.  Touched a chrysalis, described, explored information books.
  • Sequencing Cards (COGNITIVE, CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): All students are engaged in sequencing.
  • Craft: making butterflies our of sticks and other materials
  • Conservation/Pollution: Big feelings about the noisy polluted city, as described in,The Little House
  • Life-Cycle Stages (CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): Studying and exploring a real nest!
  • Leaf Studies (CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): Student led unit on leaves


  • Building (COGNITIVE/CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): a bridge across the tables-collaboration. Lots of CO Building!

Emotional Intelligence

  • Leading Meeting (CAPACITY BUILDING, WHOLE CHILD): Some of our meeting books: Richard Scarys Word Book. Meeting are becoming comfortable and more frequent.  Some students want to add meetings so they can lead!
  • Responsibility (CAPACITY BUILDING, WHOLE CHILD): We didn’t want to clean up…so we trained our animals to do it for us! (problem solving)

Physical Development

  • Stairs (WHOLE CHILD): Rolling down and exploring, connections made all around!
  • Kitten Play (WHOLE CHILD, BRAIN FUNCTION/DEVELOPMENT): hugging, cuddeling, pretend cat fight
  • Chasing game (CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING): chasing and taking turns being chased.  (gross motor skills)
  • Pillow Fight! inspired by the noisy polluted city in The Little House
  • Yoga: breathing, stretching

Social Development

  • Taking Turns (CAPACITY BUILDING)
  • Divergent Thinking (CAPACITY BUILDING): looking at things differently, making different versions


  • Personal Schedules (CAPACITY BUILDING): Color coded schedules in full swing!
  • Personal Space: Observation of spatial relation to other students
  • Yoga: meditation, breathing, stretching
  • Physical Needs: Moving outdoors to release physical energy

Creative Arts

  • Crafts (WHOLE CHILD, BRAIN FUNCTION, CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING) Nurturing fine motor skills by making butterflies out of sticks, yarn, and pipe cleaners.
  • Music (WHOLE CHILD) Making up songs about chrysalis, days of the week

Overheard in our Classroom/Play Yard:
“Do you want to copy mine? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“This looks hard.  I’m going to try. I did it!”
Conversations about different fun places: adventure city, soak city, art class, etc.  As well as red-eye flights.
A little piano playing and teacher checking in to see if tinkling was ok or not…
Creating/Singing “Potion Everyday” during chalking (about days of the week)
Ninjago Play!

Things to reflect on over the weekend– in preparation for next week:

  • What is origami?  Have you made origami? (Will read Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells and make some origami.)
  • Keeping hands and feet a safe distance from other’s bodies
  • Minimizing branded toys, items during school time
  • Comfort in moving to outdoors or play area when physical energy is bubbling up
  • Thinking about what to teach next week (students want to have opportunity to teach something to their peers, please give us advanced notice so we can fully support your student’s plans)
  • What is a chapter book?  Have you heard/read a chapter book? (We will try out our first chapter book, Carlotta’s Kittens and the Club of Mysteries by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

If you have any questions, please reach us as follows:


Growth: News, Needs and Important Info



We will meet at the Park In RHE.  See you at 9am!

Please contact Michelle with any questions.


Dolls – We need dolls of genders, shapes, styles (non branded) for dressing and story telling

Costumes – We need costumes for immersion in (non branded) role playing

Stuffed Animals/Pillows – We like to play and check out animals.

Please package donations and deliver directly to Michelle.


This Friday, May 25th is a Family Field Trip (a teacher day off)!  We will meet at  at 10am.

Please contact MJ Garcia with any questions.


Our sprouts have indicated that they would like to do Ride-On plans every Friday for the rest of the year.  Michelle is comfortable with it so, unless we hear objections by Tuesday May 22nd, we will begin Ride-On Fridays on June 1st.

Please contact Michelle with any questions.


Katie Schluntz has joined our family as teacher on Wednesday afternoons.  Welcome to our family Katie!


MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY (No School) is on May 28th.  With FIELD TRIP FRIDAY coming up…we hope you enjoy the time off!

Garden Maintenance:


Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Fundraiser contribution is DUE on June 1st
  • TKG is now a 501c3 Organization
  • 3-Day Weekend coming up.  NO SCHOOL on Monday May 28th
  • Tuition Contracts ARE DUE in the next couple of weeks.  Please confirm your 2012/2013 status asap.

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


Don’t forget to shop our store for great deals!  A small fee is raised for each purchase.

We love our Parent Volunteers!


Tips for the Classroom:

  • Meeting: goal is to meet within the first hour of class and after clean up.  Attendance is requested.
  • Schedule: Students are crafting their own schedules.  Support them by checking in on their plans and progress.
  • Bathrooms: Sink or Sanitizer!  Please do not use the bathroom if children are present.
  • Body Check In: Bathroom anyone?  Snack anyone?
  • Snack Table/Restaurant: In keeping floors clean, we have a snack table and gathering place. Volunteers, please feel free to bring a snack to share with all of the students.
  • Outside Time: Always available, please check in with Michelle.  We encourage students to release energy when they want or need.
  • Agreements: Please become familiar with the agreements.  Safety and personal rights are priorities.
Thank you for sharing your time with us.  Our parent volunteers for the coming week:MONDAY – MJ G

Resource Of The Week:

“…help me understand my kids’ brains and how I can facilitate learning, growth, and creativity…Are they parenting books? Maybe…Read liberally. Ponder. Apply as needed.”

10 Best Books for Thinking Parents,

Read More…

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