FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 12/Year 4 (5 to 7 Class)

All Together - 5 to 7 Class
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Dear Community Member,

This week was woven with beautiful richness.  Prickly Plant eradication at the park, Rain! Rain! Rain!, PE inside a new room, Elle and Monica as teachers, new mathematical thinking, The Story of My Name, beautiful peace table conversations, The Story of Water at project time, and so much more.  It is always challenging for me to summarize the week so I’m trying something new this month in the hopes of telling a complete story.  I’ll be focusing on a specific lens, topic, or academic area each week.  Knowing that nothing is in a vacuum, this week’s lens of ownership is sprinkled with collaboration, resourcefulness, and academics.

The Story of Our Classroom and Ownership
Upon entering or listening to our room, you may notice more and more signs of students taking ownership of our environment.
Our Story of OwnershipThe morning message now has student made magnets of the days and months.  The idea sparked in a morning meeting a few weeks ago when people realized that my set was incomplete.  Maiya and Ami worked in the School Area together in creating this new resource.  Using the calendar as a reference, I requested they only use capital letters for the first letter so they had to translate from upper to lower case.  They also went through the writing process. First they wrote in pencil, then they edited before tracing it over in marker.  They created a system to know what word to work on next and to see which words were missing.  Finally they cut the paper to size.  This process took a few days to complete.  Now we use the words in the morning message, and sometimes people help change the words.  Later in the day Lucas was working on his name book and wanted to know, “Is this how you spell July?”  After asking him where he could find the word in the room he headed over to meeting area.  I expected he would flip through the calendar, but he found it in the pile of new words!  I’m curious if anyone will revisit the plan as one word is missing and they initially wanted to write the numbers as well.

This week we jumped into our new math unit.  We thought about lining up in two rows, just like in the book Madeline, and made our own drawings of two lines.  While we worked individually, our environment allows for collaboration.  Sophia offered help to Lana and explained her thinking while showing Lana what to do.  In the end we met in a new place.  We worked together to set up our open number line with doubles.  As each picture and equation went up people were noticing a pattern.  Once this knowledge was shared we were able to help our neighbors as well.  The following day Alex and Lucas were spotted using this resource to solve their math problems.

On Friday the students started a beautiful conversation – it took the place of our traditional morning meeting as we just hopped into the alive topic of where we sit in meeting. We now have two very important spots that have jobs; moving the schedule of the day clip, and the assistant teacher. It seems some want a system in place for knowing when they will be sitting in the job spots, while others want to sit with friends, or not in the same spot as they have in the past.  The dialogue naturally occurred the way that Thomas Gordon explains how to problem solve in his P.E.T. book.  We didn’t linger on what would or wouldn’t work;
we simply put all the ideas on the table.
  • No name tags, we sit wherever we want
    • Except for the job spots
  • We make it like the line hallway and we move around the circle
  • We tell Michelle on Monday where we want to sit and she puts us there
  • We get more square pillows (there is story behind me calling them squares-they were thinking about me too)
  • We pull sticks and put them on the pillows and that’s where you sit
Throughout this conversation we remained calm, were not attached to an outcome, heard each other’s words, and consciously remained on topic- Lucas, “Never mind, it’s off topic.”  For me it was magical listening to them problem solve in such a sophisticated way.  We were getting into FACE Time starting so I asked us to pause the conversation and let me know other ideas later so I can add them to the list.  I explained that we would not decide today so we could have the weekend to think more.  I too am not attached to an outcome and am thrilled to see how our incredible sprouts transform this special place in our classroom.
Setting up the OutdoorAt movement time people noticed that the outside plans had not been set up.  This turned into an opportunity to create their plans from scratch.  Carter asked me for the key to open the storage bin so he could get the cars.  He knew exactly which bin it was in and what he needed to get to it!  This created a chain reaction.  Scoops, squirrels, bird seeds, and cups were pulled out.  Each person had an intention and specific item they needed to execute their plan.  I imagine this was empowering and look forward to working with Erin and Lena on balancing the amazing offerings, the downstairs class setting up, and us setting up and cleaning up our own plans.

Last week I shared with you our process on chores/jobs. We’ve brainstormed and this week we tested them out on Wednesday, so Friday we were ready to implement as well as revisit some former jobs.  I asked a person what job they wanted and then had them invite how many people they felt would work for that job.  We had pencil sharpening, dish washing, surface wiping, library organizing, and plant watering.  After we reflected on what that was like to do our job and came to the conclusion that we not only enjoyed caring for our room we want to try and do it every day. 

If you are curious about the learning standards that we covered this week, here is a highlight:

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4.A When counting objects, say the number names in the standard order, pairing each object with one and only one number name and each number name with one and only one object
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.OA.C.6 Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition
  • CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.3.B Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.
  • Physical Sciences Grade 1
    • Materials come in different forms (states), including solids, liquids, and gases. As a basis for understanding this concept:
      • a. Students know solids, liquids, and gases have different properties.
      • b.Students know the properties of substances can change when the substances are mixed, cooled, or heated.
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/5-7 Class Mentor and Collaborator
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Classroom Supplies Needed

  1. egg cartons
  2. glass jars

***Monthly Parent Meeting – 12/11, 7pm @TKG
Thank you for making the time to play with your community!  Please contact Michelle or Lena with any questions. Childcare is available but a reservation must be made through Trish by 12/10.

***Community Holiday Celebration – 12/19, 12-3pm @TKG
Please be on the look-out for an organizational email from Saundi

***Field Day Community Snack Contributor: Jaiden Minor & family

TKG Principles
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*
TUESDAY (SW-Breezeway, EL-Set Up, SM-PM clean up)
WEDNESDAY – (SW-Breezeway)  We need volunteers for AM SET UP & Clean Up, thank you!
THURSDAY – LS, SW (EL-Breezeway, TV-Admin) We need volunteers for AM SET UP & Clean Up, thank you!
FRIDAY SM (ASProject, JC-Breezeway, SW-set Up) We need a volunteer for Clean Up, thank you!
*Names in parentheses are working on-campus, outside the classroom on that day.

Download the most current PT Calendar – here!  PLEASE CHECK THE 2015 PT CALENDAR FOR CHANGES – and please make them directly with the community.  Download here.

PT RESOURCE-Tips for building resilience and
preventing brain-damaging stress
“…ongo­ing stress can, unless prop­erly man­aged, have a seri­ous neg­a­tive impact on our abil­ity to think clearly and make good deci­sions…”  As a PT, you want to come to your day refreshed and ready to support students and colleagues.  Here are some tips for you and for when you are scaffolding:
  1. Get some exer­cise
  2. Relax
  3. Social­ize
  4. Take Control
  5. Have a laugh
  6. Think Positive –

Read the details on these tips

Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • EMAIL Raffle Opportunity! – Please reply here to be entered to win: one registration to Dr.Lee’s January Mental healthiness seminar (details here).  We had a left-over item from our Barsha event! Names will be collected until drawing on Thursday at the parent meeting.
  • Real Estate Committee – will be meeting for lunch on 12/8 in Santa Monica.  Contact Monica for details.
  • Amazon Reports are due this Wednesday.  Please review and calculate at your earliest!  Contact Lori.

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions or to schedule meeting time. PRINT the official Calendar (updated weekly).   The google calendar, online, is the most up to date calendar (reflects daily changes).

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 – Whole Child

Nature Connection Will Be the Next Big Human Trend
Daniel Crockett/Writing the Wild

At TKG, our curriculum includes a full school day devoted to connecting with nature.  One of our philosophical resources, Richard Louv in his best-selling book Last Child in the Woods, theorizes that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems.

Something is amiss and we can’t quite put our finger on what. It seems that the further our society progresses, the more disenfranchised we feel. The hyper-connectivity of social media (which has its own potential) leaves us cold and over-informed, saturated with unwanted information and more aware than ever of the injustices of the world. It seems that the more virtually connected we get, the more disconnected we become, both from each other but also from our communities. I believe that a necessary backlash to this trend is a large-scale reconnection with nature that has the ability to transcend previous environmental movements and reshape our world. Moreover, I believe this undercurrent is gaining momentum and influencing every element of our lives. It’s a revolution of belonging.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, the curator and co-author of a book called Spiritual Ecology, summed it up by saying: “until we go to the root of our image of separateness, there can be no healing.”  READ MORE @HuffingtonPostUK

Whole Child - Connection to Nature

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