Discoveries at TKG
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss
This week at The Knowing Garden” “The Holiday Show”You’ve heard it…maybe from your parents, a neighbor, your friends…”I don’t get it.  So, how exactly do they learn at this school?”  Read on for how it works in our classroom – in this case around the Holiday Show:

Constructivism: Teachers observed students creating sock puppets, dance choreography, and songs during deep learning play time. Then, our teacher created intention and plans around core standards for students to explore in open flow.  The writing area became a space for writing scripts. Fabric and needles were added to the studio for costumes and character creation.  Reading focused on different holiday traditions and personification.  We calculated the size of our curtain in the math area.  Before you could say, “Snowflakes in the air,” The Holiday Show was in full production!
Whole Child:  Knowing that students use play as a way of working through social and emotional projects, teachers are noting how the plot develops and cue into their needs.  One child’s character has evolved from being a nine year old, to being an eighteen year old.  He cares for his pets and then leaves for work.  Some days he exclaims,
“Working on movies is cool!”
and other times he states,
“I have to work all night and working on movies sucks.”
Each practice his “time at work” is different and his peers and teachers honor his ideas, allowing him to play out missing his dad.Brain Function:  Students are sensory learners and have unique developmental maps.  Using a variety of skills based on their development they created a storyline; drawing pictures, verbalizing, using phonetic spelling, and acting. Teachers documented the process (with the emphasis on student-led discovery, minimal input/influence) allowing ideas to flow.  Teachers then supported students in reflection, revision, and editing based on the students Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, L. S. (1978))*.  A student was particularly fascinated by frogs and the story included her frog character that lives in “the biggest pond in the world.”  The majority of her storyline was created verbally and a teacher asked her to write a description of her pond.  While sitting in her pond she quickly wrote “froggie has liwe pad in har  pond.  She ollie has one.  She was it sad becasu she love that. Liwipad besuc she love her pond.”  Teachers then created opportunities to reflect and discuss spelling, punctuation, and adjectives.

Capacity Building: Children are naturally creative thinkers who like to solve problems, and the play has many real world opportunities to challenge us.  When planning our stage area students wanted a curtain, “Just like a real play!”  Our math provocation then became determining size and function.  Students were creative in the ways they explored the length of the fabric needed by using yarn, rulers, and a student’s feet.  We also took this time to design how the curtain should open, how many pieces of fabric we need, and where it should hang.

Co-operative Learning: Small groups, low ratios, and multi-age students create a natural co-operative learning environment.  When reviewing our script a student said, “But I can’t read.”  His neighbor replied, “I can teach you how to read!” and they modified their parts together.  Throughout the process of creating the play, students offered ideas, explored options, and sought out knowledge from people of all ages.

Make a Holiday Puppet Show
Write out phrases your student says.  Tape them to the walls around her/his space and eye-level
Cut out snowflakes
Collect items for your color boxes
Take a Holiday Hike

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

Our Flickr Stream features even more photos from this week! 

*Additional Information referenced: Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

We are the Puppet Show
Holiday Show Seating

Tending the Garden

Clean-Up & Work Day #2 Please reserve Friday from 2pm to 5pm for clean-up and packing up.  Our sprouts may also be packing during the day so we may not need the whole time.  The purposes of this clean up is to leave our space extra clean and locked tight while we are away.  We realize this may be difficult with tired students so if your student is saying or displaying the need to go home, please make that the priority.  Or if childcare is available to you, please feel free to return without sprouts.

December Park We are still meeting at Park #1 with pick up at Park #2, unless otherwise advised.

Parent Info Night, January 15th @ 6pm Encourage your friends to come visit! Registration Link

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, Self-Directed Learning “Curiosity, according to Laura Schulz of MIT, is fueled by having two ideas that are at odds with each other.  Her research shows that when this happens, children typically will explore and experiment until they figure things out.”  Read more on promoting engaged learning, here.

Focus on you, Nurture Love and Happiness: 
1. Be Impeccable with your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best
The Four Agreements are challenging to keep.  Be sure to reflect on the intention and have compassion for yourself.

Tuesday – BW
Wednesday – RD
Thursday – ME/NL
Friday – TS
Please contact Trish if you have any concerns about this week’s schedule

JANUARY SCHEDULE IS NOW AVAILABLE.  Please review the schedule at your earliest convenience.

The Seeds (Core Standards)

We are creating intention around these standards:

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.

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.

FEATURED WORKSHOP: Dr. Bruce Perry, an internationally known expert on the impact of trauma on children, will explain how empathy develops, why it is essential for our happiness and the functioning of society, and how it is threatened in the modern world @ Echo Parenting in March.  Learn more…

From the TKG Office:

  • Parent Information Nights: We encourage you to invite your friends to our next General Info Night on January 15th.   Registration is available,here.
  • Holiday Break Last day of school is December 21st.  First day after the break is January 7th.  Hope we will be able to see you for playtimes over the break!
  • DEC Gifts?  Please order through our Amazon store!
Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Resource Of The Week

Shelter from the Storm: A Brief Refuge in East Los Angeles

One of the 5 points in the TKG vision is: Whole Child.  Our value is that cognitive, social and physical learning and development are inseparable.

Mrs. Reifler, at Wilcox Elementary advocates for all schools to embrace the Whole Child
and change the world…

Watch this.

Wilcox Elementary - Los Angeles


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