“From Under Our Big Tree” Newsletter #15: The Redwoods Class (9 to 11)

All Together - 9 to 11 Class
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 
― Rumi

 Expanding Minds, Complex Topics

What does it mean to engage in a process of acting upon empowerment, stepping into an innovative role in the world? Who deserves to be called a citizen? Are nine, ten and eleven year olds already citizens of our world?

The election and the candidates are a hot topic of conversation in our classroom these days. It often begins with a reference by one of the students to Donald Trump. What they have heard is that he is racist and insulting. They are all quite clear that is the truth. Yet, as the students have differing interactions with political conversations, different questions emerge:

What does racism mean?
Why would we want to keep immigrants out?
What is an immigrant?
Why has there never been a female president?
What does republican and democrat mean?

These questions are forming the backdrop for our students’ developing consciousness about the world beyond themselves. This is where having a story of the landscape of the election is important to have. You will see in their Take Home Projects, there is a U.S. Map. On this map, they will be coloring the red and blue states, after doing some research with you. The point of this is to help them interact meaningfully with the geography of the country and to begin to build a foundation of understanding of the diverse stories being told nationally.

Their ability to think abstractly and reason about sophisticated concepts is increasing, yet their tendency to over-generalize still exists. So, as they explore what these terms mean, it’s ok to keep the explanations simple. Obviously, these topics are complex and if we can model an ability to share facts first and opinions later, they are free to make their own decisions about what feels right to them as they try to make sense of their world.

With gratitude,

Lena Garcia, School Builder/9 to 11 Classroom Lead Teacher
Trish Valdez, School Business
Monica Evangelist, Board President
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TKG Info

Tending the Garden

Tinkering Lab: We continue to expand our lab materials…do you have anything at home? balsa wood, rubber bands, found objects, craft sand, flat cardboard pieces…bring them to TKG!

Field Trip – Friday 29 January, 9:30am/Bolsa Chica State Beach
Focus: Environmental Stewardship
9:45am     Meet at Bolsa Chica State Beach (see map and directions below)
11:00am   Beach Clean-up after conclusion of group program
12:00pm   Lunch on the beach (bring your own!)
Please contact Jen Ceci with any questions

Constructivist Learning Workshop – Thur 28 Jan, 9:00am/TKG
Join us for an open discussion on defining constructivism, documenting learning and how we learn in a community at TKG. See you after drop off!

TKG Principles
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM: teachers and parents support relevant learning & creativity
  • WHOLE CHILD + FAMILY: cognitive, physical and social/emotional health is valued – families & caregivers are our partners
  • BRAIN SCIENCE: we are sensory learners with existing neural pathways and we can help develop and practice positive learning experiences
  • CAPACITY BUILDING: nurturing creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems that serve our community
  • COOPERATIVE LEARNING: small groups, low ratios, mixed ages
Parent Teacher Info

Parent Teacher Toolbox

PTs for this week ————
R (am)
THR – A & P (afternoon)

First Friday Dance Party – Friday 5 Feb: this is a wonderful opportunity to deepen your connection to the students you work with or see around TKG. When you drop off, head to the lower courtyard and boogie ooogie ooogie! Contact Lena.

Mindful Moment – Thrs 1/28 TIME 2:30pm TBD. Look out for a message from Lori about Mindful Moment time on Thursday, or contact her directly

PT RESOURCE: You Are the Essence of Learning, Not a School or University
“There’s this illusion that is created in our classical education system and even at university that someone is teaching it to you. Really they’re creating a context in which you need to pull information and own it yourself. … And when you think online, that becomes that much more important.” READ @BIGTHINK
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

Admin Office Hours, Thrs 10:00am @TKG. We don’t have a specific topic this week but you are invited to come with anything that is on your mind.

TKG Board Meeting, Thrs 7:00pm @TKG. Open forum is from 7 to 7:30pm!

PT Shift Available: make up some missed hours by working 1/2 day on Monday Feb 1st. Contact Trish

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 – Capacity Building

Is Medical School a Worthwhile Investment for Women?

Before you jump to conclusions…there are many factors that a person must consider before answering this question. At TKG, we envision a place where students and parents have the space to practice deep analysis of the challenges they face in an environment where facilitators encourage divergent thinking. This article may offer some data but it is only one perspective – dig deeper if you dare!

*   *   *

Over the last quarter century, women have been earning college and professional degrees in record numbers. In 1976, women earned only 45 percent of bachelor’s degrees in the United States; by 2006 that had increased to 58 percent. During that same interval, women have made even larger gains in advanced degrees. For example, in 1976 women constituted only 24 percent of first year medical students. By 2006, that number which doubled to 48 percent.

Despite these gains in education, a number of recent studies find that women’s incomes lag those of men. In a study of MBA students from a top program, Marianne Bertrand, Claudia Goldin, and Larry Katz found that while men and women had similar earnings at the outset of their careers ($115,000 per year for women versus $130,000 per year for men), within ten years of graduation men outearned women by $150,000 per year. Similar income gaps have been found for doctors and lawyers. READ @THEATLANTIC

Should Women Go to Medical School?

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