WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 2017: Evergreens (ages 10-12), Week 3

Evergreens Togetherness

Growth Mindset Supported


Tending the Garden – Parent Conferences are this Friday
Parent Teacher Tools – ECHO Parenting Class begins Tuesday
TKG Office – Facilities Team meets this Sat
In Education News – Problem-solving with technology
SIGN UP – Parent & Me Playgroup (ages 0-5)

Social Share: Homeschool at TKG – Weds!

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“Becoming is better than being”

In Language Arts, we are now in chapter 10 of The City of Ember. We are cruising through the storyline, doing character analysis, making storyline connections and inferences. We are also mastering the new vocabulary words presented to us in the text. In Social Studies, we are preparing to become expert researchers. We have learned how to be responsible digital citizens, how to keep our private information safe and how to do successful keyword searches for topics presented to us. We will be working on citations in the week ahead of us in preparation for our first historical chapter on the road to the Revolutionary War.

While the Evergreen students have been developing their Mathematical Mindsets (i.e. growth mindset in Math) and collaborative problem-solving skills, they have been analyzing growth patterns, using visualization skills to help communicate how they see a pattern growing and using that information to make predictions about how the pattern will continue to grow. This is one of the foundational skills for success in Algebra! My favorite moment was when we were working to understand one of the world’s great unsolved math problems- the Collatz problem– and they had chosen a pretty large number to start with which then led to having to perform quite a long string of calculations. They were so in to it that they all cheered enthusiastically when they finished. (see the video below!) Have you ever seen kids to engrossed in math that they are celebrating like this!?!

In STEM, we have been studying Matter by examining what could have caused some large boats to be stranded in an open field. After we made our own mini-lakes as a model, we have looked closely at what happens when salt dissolves in water and what happens to tiny droplets of water when they “evaporate”. What is evaporation, exactly? Where does the water go when it seems to disappear? What is happening to the salt when it seems to disappear as it dissolves? Since we can’t observe with the naked eye what is happening on the particle scale, we will be continuing answering these questions by observing three closed systems we will be constructing in the coming weeks.

Finally, we want to welcome Brian Wardwell, parent of Redwood Harriette and Acorn Jack, to the Evergreen family! Brian is stepping in to a brand new role as our Classroom Mentor, where he will be supporting our students in developing and tracking progress in their academic and social/emotional goals as well as their Passion Projects. As we get up and running with our Google Classroom, he will be sharing questions and comments about each student’s goals and academic reflections, with the goal of deepening the learning process through ongoing reflection. Parents will be able to access their child’s online documents and Brian’s interactions through the Google Classroom environment- more details to come on this as we make progress towards setting this up!

We can’t wait to sit down with our students next week to share their goals and plans for the year with their parents!

In deep appreciation,
Natalie Stone
Jen Ceci
Evergreens Teachers

Jen Ceci, Evergreens Teacher
Natalie Stone, Evergreens Teacher
Lena Garcia, Head of Education – Teacher Mentor
Trish Valdez, School Business Manager
Shannon Minor, Board President
Facebook (private group), Community Forum
Shutterfly Site: photo archive
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EvergreensMaths Sep2017
Have you ever seen kids so engrossed in math that they are celebrating like this!?!


  • Parent Conferences: We are looking forward to seeing you this Friday. Please come with all of your questions and ideas – this is our time to collaborate about your student!
  • Home Practice: Did you get the email about the NY Times graph? Check it out with your child and discuss what you notice and/or wonder! Here is the link.
  • Student Forms. Be sure to complete these forms immediately (click the heading to get to the form):
Sign Up for Parent Conferences


  • ECHO Parenting Class, Tue Sep 26 7-9pm. @ TKG, facilitated by Renee Dokmanovich (click to reach her directly). Class meets for 6 consecutive Tuesdays, September 26th through November 7th. Class will not be held on the Tuesday of October 31st.
  • Branches Team Meeting, Mon Oct 2 9am. Looking forward to seeing you!
Evergreens Basketball 2017
Read: 3 Steps to a Healthy Brain


  • Large Truck Volunteer. Contact Trish if you can drop off a large easel, in Venice
  • Facilities Team Day, 30 Sep 9am. Do you have a handy man project you need to finish? Please join us this day because we’ll be here working!
  • Fall Picture Day, The 5 Oct. Alice will be taking student photos! Please mark your calendar (previously scheduled on Oct 3).
TKG - in the making
SIGN UP: After-School Care


In Education News: Capacity Building
TKG Focus: Capacity Building. Reports show that U.S. workers lag behind other industrial countries in using digital skills for tasks. So what are we doing in traditional schools? What is the right tone with integrating technology? At TKG, we take the opportunity to integrate technology as a complementary tool and practice online responsibility, wireless safety and critical thinking.

Americans Rank Last in Problem-Solving With Technology

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By Douglas Belkin/Wall Street Journal

Americans may have given birth to the Internet, but they aren’t very good at using technology to solve problems.
A new report finds U.S. workers rank dead last among 18 industrial countries when it comes to “problem solving in technology-rich environments,” or using digital technology to evaluate information and perform practical tasks. The consequences of that emerging competitive disadvantage is energizing the volatile undercurrent of this year’s presidential race, some observers say.

If the problem-solving deficit is bad, the reasons for it may be worse, said Stephen Provasnik, the U.S. technical adviser for the International Assessment for Adult Competency: flagging literacy and numeracy skills, which are the fundamental tools needed to score well on the survey.
“When you look at this data it suggests the trends we’ve discerned over the last 20 years are continuing and if anything they are gaining momentum,” said Joseph Fuller, a Harvard Business School professor who studies competitiveness.

The results build off a global survey conducted in 2012 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. To better compare the skills of younger and older adults and the unemployed, researchers did additional surveys in 2014. The countries that scored the highest on the problem-solving with technology criteria were Japan, Finland, Sweden and Norway. Poland scored second to last, just above the U.S.
One stark revelation is that about four-fifths of unemployed Americans cannot figure out a rudimentary problem in which they have to spot an error when data is transferred from a two-column spreadsheet to a bar graph. And Americans are far less adept at dealing with numbers than the average of their global peers.
“This is the only country in the world where it’s OK to say ‘I’m not good at math,’ ” said Mr. Provasnik. “That’s just not acceptable in a place like Japan.”

When the original study by the OECD was published in 2013, then-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan didn’t pull his punches. “These findings should concern us all,” he said. “They show our education system hasn’t done enough to help Americans compete—or position our country to lead—in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills.”

Americans with the most cerebral jobs—those that demanded high levels of literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills—fared the best against the rest of the world in the earlier tests. The potential problem lies in the growing complexity of traditional middle-class jobs in fields like manufacturing and health care. Workers unable to grow in those jobs will lose their positions or face stagnant wages.

The new report does nothing to dispel that gloom. Data on 16- to 34-year-olds, for instance, found even workers with college degrees and graduate or professional degrees don’t stack up favorably against their international peers with similar education levels. Fewer of these most-educated Americans perform at the highest levels on tests of numeracy and problem solving with technology.

“Just because you’re a digital native, doesn’t mean you’re tech savvy,” said Linda Rosen, chief executive of Change the Equation, a privately funded nonprofit that advocates for technological literacy in schools.
Marc Tucker, president and CEO of the National Center for Education and the Economy, a not-for-profit educational research organization, says the U.S.’s weak standing in labor skills shown in the report offer a blueprint to understanding the current political climate.

“American workers, once the best educated in the world, are now among the least well-educated, in the industrialized world,” Mr. Tucker said in a statement. “That has economic consequences and those economic consequences are now turning into political consequences” as voters head to the polls this presidential election year.

In the 1970s, the U.S. had the most educated workforce in the world. Since 2000, the skills and knowledge of U.S. high-school graduates have stagnated while those of other countries have increased rapidly. That failure to adapt means global employers can get cheaper, better educated labor in many other countries.
“The only way we can compete and live well in this country is if people in other parts of the world want what we have to sell them and we can only get there if we have a population that is very well educated and well trained,” Mr. Tucker said. “If people with the same skills are willing to work harder and charge less, that’s where the jobs are going to go.”

READ MORE @TheWallStJournal
© 2016 This information is intended for the families and students of TKG. We love our families! 2017 The Knowing Garden, All rights reserved.

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