Discoveries at TKG
“If I know you’re very good in music, I can predict with just about zero accuracy whether you’re going to be good or bad in other things.”
-Howard Gardner
What is a Tangram?  See if you can find the discover the clues hidden in this week’s message!  Also – please check out the link for the survey.  Your response is very important!

This Tuesday was Election Day – of course. We were curious about the “polling place” that beckoned us.  A parking spot just for voters?  U.S. Flags and lots of different people visiting our school!  We opened our meeting with an election of our own: Vote, for your favorite park.  After we tallied up the votes…Wilderness Park beat out SCBG and Hess. Then, our sprouts decided that we should also vote for President.  They shared information about who the candidates in the real election were and how we should participate.  Students asked, “How do you spell, OBAMA?”  Students asked, “Who is the other President?”  One of our experts said, “Did you know that Barack Obama was the 2nd President of the United States?” We dropped our ballots into the box and shared anonymously and publicly.

Students are in the gift giving spirit and are making each other presents every day. We are sharpening our math, reading and writing skills by practicing our fine motor skills: coloring, cutting, taping, and beading.

Our writing skills are demonstrated through: phonetic spelling, copying names and words, reading bead letters, and drawing pictures.  Imagine:
“I hate writing!  My heart is not the right size.  The names don’t fit. I made a mistake and I hate it.”
“The heart doesn’t have to be as big as mine. Have you tried using the eraser?”
“Oh yah! An eraser…that works.  I can erase the mistakes.”
We had multiple successful transitions between focused learning times this week and writing and reading flow very nicely together!
what do you say when your sprout is discouraged about learning – what do you really say?

We practice math in wonderful places.  We made sound patterns during meeting time. clap – clap – snap – snap – pat – pat. We tell time. We play math games.  We craft patterns. We write and right numbers.

Our reading skills are expanding.  Reading is not just decoding of course…listening helps us in the process.  We have started a chapter book, BLACK BEAUTY.  Sometimes we like to get snuggled up to listen about this, “Suspenseful, deeply moving account of a horse’s experiences at the hands of many owners, written as the animal’s autobiography, and revealing as much about human conduct and the social ills of the time as it does about the treatment of animals.”  Our sprouts are tuned in to their capabilities…this week we heard, “I don’t want to read right now.  I will get better at it when I’m older.”

Our social skills are really blossoming through our present making experience:

  • we are practicing equality by making presents for all (or making an extra present if a student didn’t get very many)
  • we are asking for help
  • we are offering help
  • we are getting to know each other by listening – we ask each other what we really like, or want, in a present

DEEP LEARNING is a wonderful time in our day.  We get to play, freely and authentically…pets, pet stores, owners, cages, habitats.  We are animals that like to be adopted; and it is much more than that – each animal has history.  Each animal is crafted to the finest of details (what they look like, what they like to do, their personalities…)  Next week we will be writing about our personal pet and we will work on our pet store.

Our Kai is back from Japan and he will be joining James and Anna, our newest sprouts in the classroom next week:

  • James’ mum is Brandy and his dad is Ian.  He is 5 years old.  He is curious and wise child.  He’s artistic, athletic and friendly.  Mum loves yoga and cooking and dad loves to build things and play guitar.  James also has a little brother, Liam.  We will, officially, welcome James next Tuesday.
  • Anna’s mum is Lori and her dad is John.  She is 6 years old.  She loves to learn and is a loving child.  Mum has a passion for nutrition and dad has great stories about the JPL lab school!  Anna is  getting used to the idea of transitioning from her immersion program at her current school and will join us after the Thanksgiving Break.
  • A tangram consists of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes (there’s more…keep looking!)

Michelle, Yvette and the sprouts have been talking about new students, what “getting to know each other” means and what our environment means to us.  Which is a natural segway into our Bill Of Rights.  Our living document has been crafted and led by our students.  We don’t have arbitrary “classroom rules” at TKG…this is a very unique and important experience for our sprouts.  They discuss their needs and we guide the development of the common rights of our classroom.  Our TKG Bill of Rights currently states that we support:

  • Kind, loving names
  • Checking in
  • Appreciation and Thank You’s

Booooooook Sale!  By the time you read this, you will be recovering from our busy day.  Our sprouts spent time crafting one-of-a-kind bookmarks to sell at our Book Sale.  We are raising money for a Book Binder and Laminator.


Did you check a book out today?
What would you like to learn at school?
Where should we field trip?
Do you have any books to return to school today?
Do you like to be a pet?

Read with your sprouts
Talk about the founders of the United States and our 1st and 2nd Presidents
Practice intentional transition times or note successful transition times with your sprout
Write a story about your pet or one you’d like to have
Collect and count fallen leaves (they make great art items too!)

Your feedback and questions are encouraged:
CLASSROOM – Yvette Fenton
CURRICULUM – Lena Garcia Kaufman

Our Flickr Stream features even more photos from this week!

Tending the Garden

Welcome New Sprouts! James and Kai will join our class on Tuesday November 13th.

Monthly Parent Meeting – We’ll see you November 15th at 6:30pm – our focus will be curriculum and we need your feedback by Tuesday Nov 13th.

Willows School Workshop – Michael Thompson, Internationally Acclaimed Author, Psychologist and Parenting Expert (Homesick & Happy, Raising Cain) will be speaking at The Willows Community School on Tuesday, January 15th at 7:00pm.  Register Here…

Lesson Seed: TANGRAMS were originally invented in China at some unknown point in history, and then carried over to Europe by trading ships in the early 19th century. It became very popular in Europe for a time then, and then again during World War I. Watch!

Upcoming Field Trip is scheduled for Friday November 30th.  Please stay tuned for details.


The 5 Guiding Principals at TKG
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will expand their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT, students are sensory learners, we will honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • CAPACITY BUILDING, supporting the development of creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems
  • CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING, small groups, low ratios, mixed ages and generations

Parent/Teacher Corner


Monday – No School – Veteran’s Day
Tuesday – 
Thursday – TV
Friday – NL

Focus for the coming week – Independence: Do you feel like you can’t disconnect from your own sprout and make time with other students?  Consider some of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey) that focus on independence:

  • Be Proactive = Take initiative by realizing that your decisions are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.
  • Begin with the End in Mind = Create a Mission Statement. Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.
  • Put First Things First = Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that are in your ‘mission statement’

In support of You – How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea…

Another tangram Clue – The objective of a TANGRAM puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

The Seeds (Core Standards)

We are creating intention around these standards:


Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

a. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).

b. Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges


Life Cycles



CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3a Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3c Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

2.7. (second grade) Use information gained from the illustrations and words in print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.


K.CC- Know number names and the count sequence.
1.  Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
2.  Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).

1NBT Extend the counting sequence.
1.  Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.


1:  1. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.)

K. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

Please shop our Amazon store for dress up plans, school supplies and Holiday Gift Lists!  Access here…

From the TKG Office:

  • Nov Board Meeting, Tuesday November 13th. 7pm, Cheesecake Factory
  • Enrollment.  Our first Parent Information Night was wonderful.  We had a lot of interest and positive feedback and another applicant family!
  • Veteran’s Day Holiday – There is no school on November 12th in observance of the national holiday.
  • last Tangram Fun – caution, may be addictive…GO!

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email


Read this excerpt from “How To Talk So Kids Will Learn…” when in doubt, acknowledge the student’s feelings!

Resource of the Week

How to Raise a Persistent Child
by Dr. Laura Markham

I’m willing to bet that many geniuses have gone to their graves unaccomplished because of their inability to persist in the face of adversity.  All of us have days when things look bleak, when it’s hard to find the energy to persevere.  But persevering may determine our chances of success more than any other single characteristic.

If you read about Nobel Prize winners, they all have different stories.  But they share one thing: the people who know them always describe how that person never gave up.  A two year scientific experiment can fizzle, and that scientist will be back in the lab the next morning, figuring out what they can learn from whatever went wrong.

Some parents wish their child was less persistent, especially during the toddler years.  But persistence is a wonderful trait in a human being.  It’s essential to accomplishing what you want to in life. READ MORE…


The Knowing Garden · 4733 Torrance Blvd · Box 324 · Torrance, CA 90503

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