FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 6/Year 4 (5 to 7 Class)

All Together - 5 to 7 Class
Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.
~Roger Lewin
Typically, I’m the grown-up sitting at the kids table, in the bounce house, and most recently swimming in the pool with the kids while the adults do their thing.  So I know that socializing and communicating with adults is something I continue to work on.  With that said, I felt Friday was filled with lovely conversations!  Through our conferences I felt more connected to you, your family, and your child.  Many sparks occurred for me through this process and I look forward to implementing some ideas, supporting growth edges, and offering opportunities based on your child’s learning and social goals.

I’ve always felt that teaching is an art, and with each year comes a newness and refining process.  I will continue to dig in academically while still supporting our social/emotional growth edges as I make changes in the classroom.  This past week we shifted our Open Flow time similar to how our blocks were early in the year last year; round one focuses on language and round two we dive into mathematical thinking.

See you at the Park tomorrow – with a forecast of partly cloudy in the mid 70s, please remember to sunscreen at home!  Here are some of the highlights from the week:

Language Groups –
1. Writing Area with Yvette

Here, learners are going deeper into the writing process: publishing their I Am books, or drafting a new book. There has been great interest on drafting new books based on The Lovables by Diana Loomans – students are creating their own mantra book with pages like, “I am lovable” or “I am kind.”  This is where specific writing tools and mini lessons occur and the teacher focuses on individual needs and goals.  Some are refining their lower case letters, others are moving beyond one sentence and adding details to their writing and illustrations, and all are revising for punctuation and capitalization.

The foundational skills we practice during this time:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
TKG @ Home: explore capitalization and punctuation patterns when reading.

2. Reading/Book Inspirations
We read lots of books and many of them provide inspiration for writing our own stories, exploring the content, or creating an alternative ending.  In addition, reading as a group gives us the opportunity to develop our social and emotional intelligence.  Here’s how: knowing that we are still settling in, making new friends, learning to share friends, as well as space and materials, I intentionally chose to make the book of the week, “How to Be a Friend”.  Important note: when I read this book we skip the bullying page because we don’t want to use the word as a label and want to empower students to take ownership of their words and feelings (aka, I messaging).  As a tool to help us reflect, students made a chart and wrote ways to be friendly and unfriendly.  Additionally, they made their own books filled with pictures, words, symbols, and charts. Next week’s book is “My New Friend Is So Fun!” by Mo Willems. Mo Willems is a 5-7 Class favorite!

The foundational skills we practice during this time:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1.B Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.1.C Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.2 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud
TKG @ Home:  Role play: what is hard about being a friend, what is easy, how to invite others to play, how to join a plan, etc. Here are some science-based tips for fostering empathy.
3. Story Workshop
An “old” TKG favorite is back!  Storytellers and I met in the Studio and used materials to inspire and create stories.  While they were busy developing their ideas I supported them in staying connected to their story by asking questions and documenting their main characters, setting, plot line, and conflict (to use the literary term) in the story.  Settings include pumpkin patches, a forest, a house, the ocean and Catalina Island.  They can then use these notes to turn their story into a book, picture, painting, block structure, or other representation of their thoughts.

The foundational skills we practice during this time:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.2 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.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.K.3 Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.
TKG @ Home: Create a Story Workshop at home by gathering unique and preferably natural materials and found treasures.  Make various backgrounds from different types of fabrics or prints and tell stories together!  Want some literary terms to throw in to the conversation? Try for fun.

Math Groups
Math Facts
Laying our foundation for automatizing (memorizing) addition facts that make ten, we started by asking questions and problem solving; we worked in partners to count pennies, sticks, or color pencils and then determined how many more were needed to make the next bundle of ten.  We are also working on place value and charting how many bundles of ten are in our numbers.  Later in the week we learned a new dice game where many dice were rolled and each player took a turn finding combinations to make ten.  Through this experience students have the opportunity to learn:

  • commutative property – finding patterns like 6+4 and 4+6
  • subitizing
  • adding on
  • seeing 5 – relating 2+3 to 2+3+5=10
The 10 frame is a useful tool in quickly seeing how many more to get to 10, that 6 is a row of 5 and 1 more,  and so much more.

The specific skills are:

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.NBT.B.2 Understand that the two digits of a two-digit number represent amounts of tens and ones.
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.NBT.B.2.A 10 can be thought of as a bundle of ten ones — called a “ten.”
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.NBT.B.2.B The numbers from 11 to 19 are composed of a ten and one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine ones.
TKG @ Home: I’ve included a ten frame and a counting collection paper in your student’s green folder – check it out and ask your student to tell you about it. Please bring it back to classroom on Tuesday for more goodies!

Social Emotional Learning
Earthquake Drill

With the Great Shake-Out on Thursday our project time shifted to creating mini-books about earthquakes.  We read a bit about earthquakes and some mythology on why the ground shakes.  Using smaller index cards meant using the fine tipped sharpies, a new tool for some.  We thought about our story structure, the plot line, and using one card at a time to support our slowing down and making a book with the exact pages we need versus folding pages in half and making the story match the number of pages.  I offered temporal words: First, next, then, last. This time also allowed teachers to look for signs of fear, uncertainty, and discomfort so we can support before, during, and after the drill.

Some of the skills we practiced:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
  • TRUST BUILDING with Community
TKG @ Home: Talk about your home safety plan.  Remind them about their safe zones and help them feel empowered in the event of natural disasters.

Capacity Building
School To Home To School Green Folder

Our sprouts were excited to have their very own folder to take home!  We discussed the tools inside as well as that we need it at school each day.  Some expressed that they are worried about losing it or forgetting it.  They starting thinking of ways to keep track of it, where they can put it, and how they can remember it.

TKG @ Home: explore the folder with them, it may include some work they wanted to bring home.  Have them explain each resource.  Brainstorm together ways they can take responsibility for bringing their folder to school each day.  

Happy Learning,
Michelle and Yvette
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson
, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton, Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***MasqueRave! Friday Oct 31
Watch out for an email with details on our upcoming festival/dance/community fun.  This date has been on the calendar but at one point moved from Nov 1 to Oct 31.  Please note!

***Outdoor Classroom Request – Fine Motor Skills
We are looking for die-cast style cars.  Recycled cars ok (and considerate of our earth too). Deliver to Erin or Trish at drop-off.

***TKG BookClub- Wed Oct 29th, 7.00pm @ TKG
Get started on reading Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Our focus will be the chapter titled: Whole-hearted Parenting.  Buy the book at the TKG Marketplace (click Reading List tab)

TKG Principals
teachers and parents provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
WHOLE CHILD + FAMILY, cognitive, physical and social/emotional capacities are connected – families & caregivers are our partners
BRAIN SCIENCE,we are sensory learners with existing neural pathways and we can help develop and practice new learning
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 Toolbox


PT Schedule for the week*
*Names in parentheses are working on-campus, outside the classroom on that day.

We need volunteers to cover: AM set up/Oct 29 & 30; breezeway on Oct 31 – Contact Trish – thank you!

PT RESOURCE-Bird Watching: Catching Fall Bird Migration
As summer surrenders to autumn, no matter where you are, there is evidence of fall bird migration. Being ready at a spot where open habitat such as a meadow or field meets the edge of the woods can be ideal for both spring and fall migration. Any body of water is a natural corridor for bird movement, and the boundaries of the water, whether it’s a lake, pond, river, bay, or ocean, also create the kind of edge habitat mentioned above.  Be a Bird Watcher this week – no matter which day you are teaching!
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Fri 10/21, 1pm @ Green Roast Coffee
  • EARLY PICK UP DAY – Wed Oct 29, 12noon
  • DEFERRED TUITION Fundraiser Opportunity @ The Counter beginning Oct 27

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions or to schedule meeting time.

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

Resource Of The Week – Brain Science

Do Kids Achieve When Parents Believe?
Gwen Dewar, Ph.D./ParentingScience

Child development is a fascinating subject, but we have to be careful. Sometimes, as parents, we take an interesting trend observed by researchers, and then twist it into something it’s not — a personal prophesy about our children.

We worry. What if our kids are atypical? Or don’t appear to measure up? We might become pessimistic about our children’s futures, and that can spell trouble. Because overall, studies strongly suggest that optimism, effort, and attitude – the sense that we can control our own destinies and make a difference – can play a key role in a child’s development.

Consider, for instance, a recent study of intelligence conducted by Rosalind Arden and her colleagues at King’s College London. The researchers began with the drawings of thousands of 4-year-old children, all of whom were twins. The kids had been told to “draw a picture of a child, the best that you can” and “make sure you draw all of him (or her).”

Naturally, kids varied in how much appropriate detail they included, but what’s interesting is that the level of detail predicted later intelligence test scores.Read More…

Brain Science - Do Kids Achieve When Parents Believe?
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