Discoveries at TKG
“We are always in a perpetual state of being created and creating ourselves.”
― Daniel J. Siegel

Please read the “Tending the Garden” Section of this newsletter for information on the Parent Meeting/Holiday Celebration, thank you!

Our first rainy day park day of the year was…super!  Students with apprehensions about the rain not only jumped in puddles, some laid in them too!  Some students went on a search for a wolf and found clues all around.  Of course, journaling about this experience soon followed.  Families brought balls, a slack line, and a mini tent.  Thank you, they brought out collaboration in all of us! We created our own games using tennis balls and a big exercise ball.  We also discovered that the balls came in handy for drawing with water. We built trust in ourselves and each other crossing the tightrope.

Back in the classroom we have been using our calendar to calculate the days we have to prepare for our show.   This is an example of how we experience instructional scaffolding in our classroom.  Our students have created a task for themselves and teachers support them in the process of gathering resources, offering guidance/coaching and empowering students to solve their own challenges.  Students have been spending most of their time preparing for the show with a heavy focus on writing.  Math and reading stay in the mix through measuring, designing, building and research.  The social/emotional practice is in the form of collaboration, maintaining independence and navigating challenges.

  • In the studio we have been making sock puppets for a section of our show.  We must envision(internal processing, freedom of creativity, cooperative learning), design (drawing/writing/cooperation), plan (writing/math/cooperation), measure (math), cut (math/writing), glue (writing), sew (writing/math), adjust (self awareness/self-regulation), re-design (independence/collaboration/flexible thinking), persevere
  • In focused writing time: we are making comic books, writing a play and designing costumes (fine motor and procedural thinking).
  • Students have been discussing feelings of nervousness and the unknowns of the audience to come

On Wednesday students continued their planning into Deep Learning and one student reflected that “time flies fast!”

For our daily reflections we have been sharing what we have learned.
“Practicing for a play is hard work.”
“If you jump in a puddle you get very wet.”
“Fog makes rain.”
“I have a lot of energy in my body.  I ran around a lot and didn’t even get tired.”
“I learned about bunnies”

“I always say gray for brown, I don’t say brown very good.  I forget brown.”


What are adjectives (next week we will focus on adjectives through building details and descriptions of our play)?
Who loves you, baby?!
Where will your Holiday show be playing?
What did you make today?
When do you do daily reflections?

Practice/Incorporate some of the park day vocabulary words (these words came from students on park day): Animal friends, clues, revenge, defeat, good, bad, newspaper, surrender, responsible, research, fair, electricity, poop, disgusting, assistant.
Origami Boats (for floating down the Wilderness Park Creek)
Make up or sing a song
Brainstorm ideas for your family’s contribution to the pot luck
Don’t forget your color contributions for the art studio

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

December 15 – Holiday Show & Gathering, 10am In place of our monthly parent meeting, we will have an all family holiday celebration featuring our sprouts Holiday show.  Please bring something delicious to share. (IMPORTANT Reminder: please refrain from bringing or cooking with tree nuts. We also appreciate gluten-free options.)

December Park We are still meeting at our park with pick up at Wilderness, unless otherwise advised.

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

Focus for the coming week – What is constructivism at TKG?  At TKG it is a major influence for the design of our classroom and it is a piece of the greater spectrum of best-practices.
Constructivism is an education philosophy.  It does not encompass social/emotional philosophy.  We acknowledge that there many ways to approach this educational philosphy.  We also acknowledge that we are developing an environment that integrates the philosophies of: constructivism, Reggio-Emilia, the latest in brain science as well as the social/emotional philosophies of non-violent parenting plus the learning philosophies of Sir Ken Robinson and Alfie Kohn.  Watch this space for future information on the aforementioned philosophies and please check out our Parent Handbook for a reading list that may enhance your understanding of these various ideas.
Here is an excerpt from “In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms” by Jacqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks.  Would love to hear your thoughts!

Traditional Classrooms Constructivist Classrooms
Curriculum is presented part to whole, with emphasis on basic skills. Curriculum is presented whole to part with emphasis on big concepts.
Strict adherence to fixed curriculum is highly valued. Pursuit of student questions is highly valued.
Curricular activities rely heavily on textbooks and workbooks. Curricular activities rely heavily on primary sources of data and manipulative materials.
Students are viewed as “blank slates” onto which information is etched by the teacher. Students are viewed as thinkers with emerging theories about the world.
Teachers generally behave in a didactic manner, disseminating information to students. Teachers generally behave in an interactive manner, mediating the environment for students.
Teachers seek the correct answer to validate student learning. Teachers seek the students’ points of view in order to understand students’ present conceptions for use in subsequent lessons.
Assessment of student learning is viewed as separate from teaching and occurs almost entirely through testing. Assessment of student learning is interwoven with teaching and occurs through teacher observations of students at work and through student exhibitions and portfolios.
Students work primarily alone. Students work primarily in groups.

our ratio goal is 1:4 daily
Monday – RD/NL
Tuesday – TV
Wednesday – BW
Thursday – LS
Friday – ME/TS

Please contact Trish if you have any concerns about this week’s schedule

The Seeds (Core Standards)

We are creating intention around these standards:

CCMath Grade 1 Measurement and Data:
2. Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units.
3. Tell and write time to the hour and half hour and a digital and analog clock.

(2) Students describe their physical world using geometric ideas (e.g.,
shape, orientation, spatial relations) and vocabulary.

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.

CC Language
Grade 2.f.Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

CCLS Grade 1 4.a Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or a phrase.
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).

CCLS Grade 1 Reading. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: 9. Compare and contrast the experiences and adventures of characters in stories.
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.

Development of the Vocabulary of Theatre
1.1 Use the vocabulary of the theatre, such as play, plot (beginning, middle, and end), improvisation, pantomime, stage, character, and audience, to describe theatrical experiences.

Creating, Performing, and Participating in Theatre

Students apply processes and skills in acting, directing, designing, and script writing to create formal and informal theatre, film/videos, and electronic media productions and to perform in them.

Apply Vocal and Instrumental Skills
2.1 Sing with accuracy in a developmentally appropriate range.

Parent Study Group for Dads with David Mulliken Build support around the work you do as a parent, reduce your stress level and build support around the work you do as a father by joining this six-week study group.

From the TKG Office:

  • DEC Gifts?  Please order through our Amazon store!
  • Holiday Gift donations: Tomomoi is now collecting donations for Holiday gifts.  Thank you.
  • December 10th, Community Board Meeting 7pm.  Guests are welcome to attend open forum at the beginning of the meeting between 7pm and 8pm.  Thank you!
Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email
An oldie but goodie!…

Resource Of The Week

Symphonies for Youth

Announcing a family day organized by one of our musician parents, Tomomi! Tomomi and Kai have tickets to “The Composer is Dead” an LA Phil performance at Disney Hall.  They have tickets in the Orchestra View and would like to invite you to join them.  All are welcome and any questions, please ask Tomomi.


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

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