The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

25 May 2012
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Week 33: Highlights & Information
Discoveries at TKG
Happy Memorial Day! We hope you had a safe and restful weekend.This week was all about…


  • Library Time: Park day we read and explored Butterflies Are Patient and All About Living Thing.  Back in the classroom we read and added sound effects to one of our favorite stories, The Little House.  When reading Madeline students wondered what an appendix was so we researched in our library and learned a bit about our large intestine.  Yoko’s Paper Planes prompted origami making and testing our paper boats.  We also learned Yoko lives in California too, and we were interested in how far we are from Japan (where Yoko’s grandparents live).  We explored our map and globe to find out.


  • Sidewalk chalk: Fine motor skills, Gross motor skills, Art, Open ended!
  • Origami: Fine motor skills, following sequencing directions, coloring and writing
  • Schedules:  Each morning students are excited to hear about our projects and plans.  They either write or draw corresponding colors to create their daily schedule.  On the back students have been writing their names or drawing a picture.
  • Shrinky DinksFine motor skills, writing, drawing, hole punching…lead to beading necklaces!  This plan was requested to continue for the rest of the week.


  • Math Workshop: Students have been trading sorting jobs or assisting in sorting.  Lincoln Logs have become a permanent part of math workshop; students describe them as “one-ers, two-ers, or three-ers.”  Sorters have been honoring that each student comes to math workshop when they are interested and supplies are available to all.
  • Even or odd?:What makes a number even or odd?  And what does even and odd mean anyway?  We explored our definitions, tested, and used manipulatives to visualize these concepts.
  • Measurement: Using a scale we compared the weight of several items; “one-er” and a bear, one hexagon = ________, all my bear or all your Lincoln logs…don’t forget my flip-flop!  This experiment has us giggling with excitement.


  • Butterfly observation: science, language arts. We observed our butterflies drinking with their proboscis.  We released them on park day, and immediately caught them.  Eventually their flying skills improved and we said goodbye.
  • Ball Races: Students took turns releasing balls and watching the wind take over at the bottom of the hill.  Each student wanted a turn releasing the balls and we worked on making sure that happened.
  • Body:When reading Madeline students wondered what an appendix was so we researched in our library and learned a bit about our large intestine.

Social Studies/History

  •  Long Ago versus Today: We were talking about breathing and students had ideas about when you learn to breath.  A student said that doctors help you breath until you are older.  I asked about “long ago” when there were no hospitals or cars.  A student said, “Or toy stores?”  Or toy stores!  Gasp!  Minds were blown.  The conversation shifted as students wanted to hear more about the time before toy stores and what kids played with then.  Student offered toy ideas and we have been thinking about long ago throughout the rest of the week.
  • World Cultures: We learned about Yoko who lives in California and are interested in how far we are from Japan (where Yoko’s grandparents live).  We explored our map and globe to find out.

Emotional Intelligence

  • Leading Meeting: Some of our meeting books: Yoko’s Paper Cranes (x2),Rhyming Dust Bunnies, The Little House, Madeline, Don’t Eat the Teacher…or games, piano playing.
  • Responsibility: Cleaning up crayons after schedule is made, snack pack up, eating at snack table, checking in with the teacher, etc.

Physical Development

  • Kitten Play: hugging, cuddling, pretend cat fight
  • Frisbee:Student have created ways to allow all students to have a turn.  We continue to problem solve around honoring everyone’s turn and not ending the game before all get a chance to be the “referee.”
  • Yoga: breathing, stretching
  • Animal Charades: taking turns, using facial expressions and noises, clues, whole body

Social Development

  • Taking Turns: we’ve problem solved a few times this week with our outdoor activities.
  • Sharing Ideas
  • Divergent Thinking: looking at things differently, making different versions


  • Personal Schedules: 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  beading, shrinky dinks, painting
  • Music humming and adding sound effects to books, rhyming songs
  • Art Yoko’s Paper Planes prompted origami making and testing our paper boats.  We also learned Yoko lives in California too, and we were interested in how far we are from Japan (where Yoko’s grandparents live).  We explored our map and globe to find out.

Overheard in our Classroom/Play Yard:
“I love making my schedule.  What color is schedule making?  I want to put it on my schedule!”
Honoring everyone gets a turn can be hard.  Once inside students wanted space from me, and were a bit playful with this too.  “I’m mad at you (me) I need Private Time!”  Students then picked books and went into the hallway to read.  They read each other books and “snuck” back into the classroom for some water.  Our sprouts are pretty darn cute, even when they are “mad” at me.
“How much time do we have left?  I’m going to do this (beading) for the rest of the day!”
Talk about vacations; driving trips, flying trips, walking trips?!

In Preparation for Next Week, please check in your sprouts on the following:

  • What do you know about farms? Farm animals? People who work on farms?
  • TKG memories:  anything your child may want to revisit in the coming weeks.
  • Comfortable and safe shoes and clothes (sandals and flip flops tend to be slippery and trip us up)
  • Keeping hands and feet at a safe distance from other’s bodies; safety plans for running and ride-on plans in figure eights.
  • Minimizing branded toys, items during school time
  • Comfort in moving to outdoors or play area when physical energy is bubbling up
  • Choosing lesson topics:  frogs (or farts), birds, making t-shirts.  Ask your child what they plan on teaching to spark the creative juices this weekend…

For your reference, below is our key to planning and learning:

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

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


Growth: News, Needs and Important Info


See you on Tuesday at 9am!


Family Field Trip will be on Wednesday. Please meet at The George F Canyon Preserve at 27305 Palos Verdes Drive East, Rolling Hills Estates 90274 at 9am.  Click here for a map.

Please contact MJ Garcia with any questions.


We will begin Ride-On Fridays on June 1st (next Friday).

Please contact Michelle with any questions.


Please STAY TUNED for an upcoming parent work day…we will help Michelle clean up and pack up the classroom for the Summer.  Thank you!

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Fundraiser contribution is DUE on June 1st
  • Tuition Contracts ARE PAST DUE.
  • First Month’s tuition is due on Jun 29th.

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 encourgage students to release energy when they want or need.
  • Agreements: Please become familiar with the agreements.  Safety and freedom are priorities.
Thank you for sharing your time with us.  Our parent volunteers for the coming week:THURSDAY – TV
Resource Of The Week:“Our usual thinking is logical and goal-oriented. Creativity is difficult with this kind of thinking because the conclusion is implicit in the premise. We could think of this kind of thinking as crystalline. It is nicely structured, but the probability of two remotely-associated thoughts or concepts bumping into each other is zero.”

Heating up Your Imagination

Creative thinking technique to provoke different thinking patterns.

Read More…

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