FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 21 (5 to 7 Class)

All Together
“Celebrate we will
Because life is short but sweet for certain”
― Dave Matthews Band
Hello Families!

I loved our own mini 100th day and week celebration over doughnut holes and reflections.  Cheers to another 100!

Kindly reminding:  Larry Cohen timing is 12 noon and 7pm on Wednesday (you are welcome to bring a shared snack) with rock tag from 1:45 to 2pm.  Note, there will be no yoga class on Wednesday.

This past week we really explored many art languages: water color crayons, clay, and collage.  These learning threads support the development of the Whole Child.  At TKG, these practices are an important part of the curriculum.  While not everyone chose to explore each area, sentiments were similar to the following collage experience:

Collage materials from Trash 4 Teaching were introduced for creating spider webs.  There was a lot of material and excitement.
Jaiden: This is awesome!  It’s like we are camping!
Tillie:  We are going to remember this day for the rest of our lives!
Anna and Jaiden working side by side:
“What about we combine ours together?  We can make one big gigantic web with two spiders!”

Through this experience students collaborated, a few times with conflict and disconnect, as collaboration sometimes brings, but peace table meetings, pausing, and checking in are beginning to occur and the groups have continued working on their webs and spiders.  While we work together on group projects, even the individual project lends itself to sharing ideas and materials:

Kai:  Me and Aiel helped each other.  Aiel needed white glue and I had extra.

In the coming weeks we will be exploring the following topics:

  • Water: What I know about water, what I want to know about water. (using water color)
  • Spiders: What I know about spiders, what I want to know about spiders. (painting our clay, or creating our collage webs and spiders)
  • Are humans nature?: In Charlotte’s Web, Chapter 6 (page 42 in my 1952 edition) “The animals treated her (Fern) as an equal.” For me, this statement ties with the students’ wonderings if humans are nature when I originally asked “What is nature?”  We will have an area where children can explore their wonderings more deeply.
  • Character Growth:  Wilbur’s ideas about flies and spiders are changing: looking for this in the books we read, as well as the ones we write.  (also ties into the 100th day and growth mindsets)
  • 100: What is one hundred? What the perspective of a 100 year old person?  What does 100 drops, cups, or gallons of water look like and what could it be used for?  Counting Collections- making 100.  Playing rolling to 100.
  • Making our own links of what we appreciate about TKG.
Why is it important to eat? How do we help each other take care of our bodies?  What is the journey or story of the food in your lunch (farm to table)?
Going “deep” in our “on topic” conversations: What questions or comments help us stay on topic?  (But we want to talk about movies and video games!  What are times in our day in when that can happen?)

What do YOU know about spiders?
Here is what we “know”:
Alex: Shoots webs
Lucas: 6 holes in their butts
Kai:  They poop
Sydney: make webs
Mayia: There are all kinds of spiders.
Jaiden: They can be black and red.
Anna: eat bugs
Tillie: Some tarantulas have red eyes.
Delaney: can have 8 eyes
Zara: sometimes have 4 eyes
Aiel: have 6 chemicals in their bodies to make webs

At home, continue to explore our class wondering of the year: “What is our relationship to Nature?”  The possibilities for collaborative learning are great!

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton/Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Supplies Needed
egg cartons
shoe boxes or similar sized boxes
index cards

***Field/Park Day – Entradero Park
Forecast calls for Sunny with a high of 69°  Next week, we visit South Park for our monthly Community Garden check-in.

***Community Field Trip – Friday Feb 28th, 10:00am
The Watts Towers or Towers of Simon Rodia in the Watts district of Los Angeles, California, is a collection of 17 interconnected structures, two of which reach heights of over 99 feet. The Towers were built by Italian immigrant construction worker Sabato (“Sam” or “Simon”) Rodia in his spare time over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. The work is an example of non-traditional vernacular architecture and American naïve art. They were designated both a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark in 1990.

10:00am Meet at The Watts Towers Campus; located at 1727 East 107th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90002. Click here fordirections from TKG (via 405 and 105 FWYs).

1:00pm Arrive ReDiscover Center for Watts Towers inspired creations.  Click here for address information.

In the event of rain, we are thinking we’ll go to the Craft & Folk Art Museum. Stay tuned!

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • CAPACITY BUILDING, nurturing creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems that serve our community
  • COOPERATIVE LEARNING, small groups, low ratios, mixed ages and generations
Parent Teacher Info

Parent/Teacher Corner

Please contact John to re-schedule missed parent meeting and/or missed work day commitments.  Thank you!

MON Feb 24

TUE Feb 25

WED Feb 26
Larry Cohen Day

THUR Feb 27

FRI Feb 28
Field Trip Day

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: What is the Underground?  How do I support students in open-ended story play?

The Story Table is a vital part of our classroom.  We have it at underground and in Charlotte’s area.  It is a miniature world completed by the students, their characters and their stories.  See this example of a story table at

From the TKG Office

  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Tuesday Feb 25 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm  We meet at the round table in the courtyard or at Green Roast Coffee (depending on the weather) – we’re at either spot.
  • SPECIAL EVENT – Wed Feb 26 12:00pm & 7:00pm. Hear about directly from Larry Cohen!  Register here and invite friends!
  • Student Saturday Mar 8 – We have March 8 on the calendar but because we will be hosting one more Parent Information Night in March, this date will change to a Saturday in April.  It is not required so stay tuned for the update and we hope you can join us!

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.  Click here to see our Google Calendar.

The Four Agreements
1. Be Impeccable with your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

Community Resource

A Bit of the Bayou in L.A.: It’s Mardi Gras Time

Perhaps Mardi Gras doesn’t conjure images of family fun… for many it’s more likely to revive hazy memories of long ago celebrations filled with beads and booze, masks and mayhem. But with food, culture, dress up and music, it’s also a perfect family celebration.  We’ve uncovered the best ways for everyone from tots to teens to “Laissez les Bon Temps Rouller” with nary a hurricane (the drink or the weather phenomenon) in sight.  So slip on a pair of yoga pants (the only elastic waist we’d be caught dead in) and eat and party your way through Fat Tuesday, family-style.  ALLEZ!

Are the Humanities dead?


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