FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 9 (7 to 9 Class)

All Together - 7 to 9 Class
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
― John Muir
Hope you are all enjoying a long and leisurely weekend! We will miss our park day but perhaps you will take in some of the cool weather and unstructured play outdoors – or attend one of the various Veterans events in the South Bay. Safe travels to our community who went on far away adventures too.

During our Writing time, we intentionally worked on the following skills and habits:
We focused on our ability to be word conscious through multiple spelling opportunities. One of the ways we did this was by focusing on sight words (words that have illogical spellings and appear in text frequently). We do this by learning why the words are spelled as they are, do a kinesthetic experience by clapping out the formation of the letters and then do a guessing game where students try to write the word with just a few clues. Students always enjoy this experience with its multiple layers.
TKG At home: look out for the new sight word list that will be coming this week and see if your child wants to do the making words activity that was sent last week (check the green folders).

If you are interested in the standards that were woven in to learning this week:
RF.3. Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
a. Distinguish long and short vowels when reading regularly spelled one-syllable words.
b. Know spelling-sound correspondences for additional common vowel teams.
c. Decode regularly spelled two-syllable words with long vowels.
d. Decode words with common prefixes and suffixes.
e. Identify words with inconsistent but common spelling-sound correspondences.
f. Recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.

Artful Learning (contributed by Elle)
This week, the Cloth Kids and I met to explore the colorful world of design. We discussed prints and color schemes, and how a designer’s decisions affect the costumer’s choice to buy. We even discussed how a color’s name can impact their decision. Why call it purple when you can call it “purple web”? Or “peachy plum”?  The other students came up with names too, rich in adjectives to help our group. Stay tuned to see how this weeks exploration affects the Cloth Kids’ doll making.

We have been enjoying our time at the Park, especially the “meadow” and the playground area. Noticing that the “outback” hasn’t been visited by the students recently, we decided to take our conversation about the story of the earth down to the sand volleyball court in the middle of the outback. It was a joyous hike!

Once down there, students used “earth tools” (sand, sticks and rocks) to envision chemistry concepts like what an atom is and how many electrons, protons and neutrons exist in the elements present at the beginning of the universe: helium, hydrogen and oxygen. This was quite a grand concept with our intention being to introduce the idea of building blocks and sequence. Along the way, there was much conversation about the “pokey plants” that seem to be invading Hess Park. I shared with the students that the managers at Hess park told me that they would like to get rid of these invasive plants and could use our help. That prompted a lot of discussion about which part of the plant needs to be removed and the best way to do it. We may have a service project happening soon with shovels and gloves to help give back to the park that has given so much to us!
TKG @ Home: Post up a kid-friendly version of the Periodic Table of Elements – click here for a download.

Field Trip
To prepare for the field trip, and to scaffold students’ engagement at the museum, we began the week before thinking about how objects can help us understand our world by pondering  the question: how can objects tell the story of our history and our heritage? Students discussed what history and heritage meant to them. Then, we thought about how museums have collections of objects that tell a story. what collections do the children have? They answered with precious objects that tied them back to babyhood as well as objects that connect them to special people in their lives. Then, we wondered together-How can we investigate objects we cant touch? To experience this, we had a mock museum where I shared a special object from my grandmother and the students investigated by asking questions and drawing what they saw and heard as I told the story of the object. All of this discussion and pondering got them ready for their visit, where their process of questioning, noticing and drawing led them to a rich experience with art from many different cultures.

On Friday, we went on our second fieldtrip of the year. We started at the Fowler Cultural Art museum located on the UCLA campus. Our guide, Corrie, led us expertly through the museum, encouraging us to look carefully, make personal connections and speculate on the meaning of the many works of art in the Intersections exhibit. It all started with a focus on masks that connected wonderfully to the masks students recently made with Elle and Michelle. As a way for students to connect with the art and the information, all student had clipboards and pencils so they could document what they saw. There were detailed drawings, noticing of details and thoughtful questions sparked by what they were seeing. The visit ended with time in the project room, drawing their own masks. The provocation was to divide the mask and draw images that would represent themselves. All of the students thought deeply about this and were eager to share when they were done. It was a fabulous visit!

Once we were done in the museum, we had our picnic lunch on the lawn and then wandered around the sculpture garden, Powell library and of course, the student store! Walking down bruin walk, we took note of all the student groups advertising their clubs and when class let out, we were all shocked at the sheer number of people streaming towards us. There were many students who said they can’t wait to be in college.
TKG At home: ask your child what their favorite part of UCLA was and what they know about college. 

During Math we intentionally worked on the following skills and habits:
We continued to zero in on each student’s particular mathematical needs and interests.

  • Zoe and Bennett made serious progress on their project analyzing NHL playoff games solidifying their understanding of minutes and hours and the mathematical skill of converting. As Ted finished up his analysis of those overtime minutes, he moved on to practicing his scheduling and time skills by looking at a set of movie times and determining just how many movies could be seen in one day. What a dream to see 8 movies in one day!
  • Throughout the week, I got to meet with Hayden, Maddie, Anna, Sydney and Aiel to solidify their ability to add two digit numbers mentally. There were so many strategies that students tried as they looked to the numbers first to determine a strategy, rather than just jumping into finding a solution. Those strategies included keeping one number whole and adding groups of 10, making a friendly number and looking for the numbers that added up to 10 to make friendly numbers.
In just a few short weeks, the children have advanced in their ability to think critically about numbers and continue to surprise themselves and their peers with their inventive strategies.  If you are interested in understanding the concepts we focused on:
  • 2.OA.2. Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies.2 By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.
  • 3.NBT.2 Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
  • 3.MD.1  Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.
  • 4.OA.2. Multiply or divide to solve word problems involving multiplicative comparison, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem, distinguishing multiplicative comparison from additive comparison.1
  • 5. MD. 1. Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.
Teachers will be working today and tomorrow – we will be working on adjusting our learning environment based on what these two months of school have revealed.  Let me know if you have any questions.


Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Elle Schwarz, Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Monthly Parent Meeting – Sat Nov 15, 9am @ TKG
Thank you for making the time to gather.  This is an important time to reconnect to each other in an unhurried way as well as stay connected to this way of learning, being and knowing.  Questions, contact Lena.

***Gratitude Feast, Fri Nov 21st from 12-3
Join us for a celebration of community!  Friends and family are welcome.  We will send along information regarding plans, as soon as possible.

***FACE Time – Session #1 Kick-Off
Our Fine Arts and Culture Enrichment program begins this Friday and will be in session through Dec. Students will have the choice of: Calligraphy, Performing Arts or Music to be led by Alice, Gina and Free To Be Me Drumming (respectively). Contact Lena with questions.

TKG Principals

  • CONSTRUCTIVISM: 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
FRIDAY AS (project) (EL/PM, LS/BW, ME/A, TV/A)

Please refresh on the Sub-protocol changes.  AM/PM and Breezeway shifts should be switched just like classroom days. Contact Trish if you need clarification.

PRINT the most current PT Calendar, here!

PT RESOURCE: What Kids Should Know About Their Own Brains
Elementary school students typically have a limited understanding of the brain and how it functions, believing it to be something like “a container for storing memories and facts.” Brain function and development are important values at TKG – so, when you talk about parts of the body (eyes, ears, tongue) and how they work, please don’t forget to mention the brain!  Children can’t “observe” their own brains so we must help them get to know this very important organ – not just around situations of distress and survival but at those times of joy and growth too.  What are some of the starting points for discussion and reflection?

  1. The brain is part of sensory activities—the brain is not just “for thinking,” but also for seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling
  2. The brain is plastic and can develop new capacities with effort and practice
  3. TKG is a place where you can grow your brain through learning choices and commitment

Read the article that inspired this tool @MindShift

Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • Office Hours, Fri 11/14 9:15am See you at Green Roast Coffee.  Come have tea with us!
  • Amazon Reports are DUE back this week!  Thank you for tallying up your totals.
  • TKG Fundraiser Sat 11/15 @ BARSHA Wine in MB. Please invite your friends and family – use this link!  Questions, contact Lori

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions or to schedule meeting time.  The most updated calendar is online. PRINT the latest Official Calendar, here. 

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 Function & Development

Play Doesn’t End With Childhood: Why Adults Need Recess Too
SAMI Yenigun/NPR

More and more research suggests that healthy playtime leads to healthy adulthood.

Childhood play is essential for brain development. As we’ve reported this week, time on the playground may be more important than time in the classroom.

But playtime doesn’t end when we grow up. Adults need recess too.

The question is, why? To answer this question, Dr. Stuart Brown says we need to clearly define what play is. He’s head of a nonprofit called the National Institute for Play.

“Play is something done for its own sake,” he explains. “It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers…READ on @NPR

Adults Need Recess Too

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