TKG LEARN: THE FUTURE WITHOUT GRADES

TKG is part of the movement that doesn’t write off a student’s potential with test results and memorization skills.  If you want this kind of environment, your commitment to this way of learning will be tested – so we will continue to provide resources to support your journey as a parent and teacher, at school and in the home.  Your students will forge their academic path and be prepared to enter the world with the skills to meet the challenges of a changing world in the future…because they are not being limited by wrong answers or judgement, now.standardized-test

“For the past two years, I’ve been investigating innovative schools for my forthcoming book The Flexible Brain. When I asked about report cards, I heard about schools all over the world that are moving away from high stakes traditional assessment that ranks and sorts students towards more fluid, personalized approaches that allow children to learn at their own pace. These innovations are in part a response to a growing belief among educators that while letter grades and numerical numbers may describe how well a student can regurgitate knowledge, they don’t capture the competencies and characteristics that students need to succeed in work and lead fulfilling lives. Moreover, getting rid of traditional letter grades has been shown to improve academic achievement.”

READ ON and WGSI…

TKG KNOW: The Four Secrets of Playtime That Foster Creative Kids

PT RESOURCE: Support the Four Foundational Pillars of Play/Fast Co.FrogDesign
When children play, design, explore, learn in at TKG – they need our support though environmental design and collaboration.  These four pieces help scaffold the constructivist learning model:
  1. open environment - An open environment is not the same as an enriched one: being open does not mean providing more stimuli. Rather, open environments are those in which the child gets to be the author and the medium is open to interpretation.
  2. flexible tools – Part of being open is being flexible. A crayon can be used for drawing anything, but it can also be melted and re-sculpted into something completely different.
  3. modifiable rules – Our children, generally speaking, have gotten really good at following rules, but where will they learn that sometimes it’s best to break them? We can show them how and encourage them when they do it.
  4. superpowers…the physical and mental skills that we develop to adapt and thrive in a complex world while exploring the creative opportunities made possible by global progress. Fundamentally, they are skills reframed as a type of power within the realm of human possibility and reach. Superpowers are the catalysts that maximize the benefits of the other three foundational pillars.
Read the article that inspires this tool, at Fast Co.

TKG Listen: Protect Your Kids From Failure – Alfie Kohn The Atlantic

Community Resource – The Whole ChildLeaningTower

We picked this article, by one of our favorite experts – Alfie Kohn (a TKG reading list regular) because we know our students won’t learn without being invested in the process.  We know some want to jump right in and we know that it takes a little while for others and most important, we know that students don’t need to be prepared to fail, they need practice getting ready to soar.  Enjoy!

Protect Your Kids From Failure
The case for self-esteem, success, and even an occasional participation trophy
by ALFIE KOHN in The Atlantic

It isn’t usually spelled out quite so bluntly, but an awful lot of parenting practices are based on the belief that the best way to get kids ready for the painful things that may happen to them later is to make sure they experience plenty of pain while they’re young.

I call this BGUTI (rhymes with duty), which is the acronym of Better Get Used To It.

If adults allow—or perhaps even require—children to play a game in which the point is to slam a ball at someone before he or she can get out of the way, or hand out zeroes to underscore a child’s academic failure, or demand that most young athletes go home without even a consolation prize (in order to impress upon them the difference between them and the winners), well, sure, the kids might feel lousy—about themselves, about the people around them, and about life itself—but READ on The Atlantic…

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 27/Year 1 (7 to 9 Class)

All Together - 7 to 9 Class
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny…”
― Isaac Asimov
Wishing you a wonderful week in preparation for a spring break!

Notable Notes

  • This is a week of trying new things! Beginning Wednesday, upstairs students will be visiting downstairs students. Read below for more details.
  • Friday is WorkDay #3 – if you are not able to attend (starts at 12.30pm), please contact John Schwartz to make alternative arrangements.  This is a parent participation event.
  • This Wed is Riviera Nails Day (don’t forget to check the Amazon reports this week)
Field/Park Day
We spent our last day at the park on Monday. It was a lovely day as we said good-bye and thank you to an amazing tree perfect for hammocks, a twirly slide perfect for the use of speed (waxed) paper, a dusty baseball field perfect for hitting home runs and a wild outback perfect for adventuring. We will meet at the Park next week to take a peek at our garden and scooter together.  We look forward to heading back to the park after the break to see how the seasons have changed it.
At home, draw a map of the park together as a memory of our time!

Emerging interests
Wednesday was our first- ever, student-run science fair! Thank you Teddy and Isabella for inspiring the idea and working with Hayden, Bennett, Zoe and Maddie to help coordinate the day by making medals, setting up tables and welcoming participants.  All of the projects got me thinking about science and experimentation. Our class is reflecting on the experience and working on planning the next one!
At home, talk about what your child saw and heard at the science fair. Do they have a plan to do it again? What would they do the same or different?

Meeting discussions
Throughout the year, many students from the upstairs class have been wondering what life is like in the downstairs room. So, next week, we will be holding an open house of the downstairs class for our upstairs friends and siblings! Starting Wednesday, we will have 4 students from the upstairs class come and spend the day with us to experience our environment and our schedule.  The olders will guide their friends through the day and get a chance to learn with new people.
At home, ask your child what they will share about the classroom with the visitors.

Math
This week was full of mathematical experiences! First, I had noted that during Deep Learning the students were doing a lot of imaginative play in the city with their characters going to Disneyland. I wondered if they wanted to create an amusement park in their city? “Of course! ” was the joyful response. So this week the provocation was to collaboratively create one of the rides. The steps were to create a blueprint, fill out a building permit and then build. For the blueprint, groups of students had graph-paper and measuring tapes and drew to scale what the size of each part of their ride would be. Each box on the graph paper equaled 1 inch. Some people kept their measurements in inches and some also translated to feet. Then, on their building permits they needed to state what materials they would need to build and the quantities and measurements of each- that way the store could be stocked for them.  On Friday, students then brought their blueprints to life by measuring and cutting and building. Teamwork and deep thinking!

The second intentional experience thinking mathematically happened as the students worked on the project of the class pet. We are at the stage of sending a survey out to families to see who can host the pet during the rest of the school year and during the summer. Students engaged in problem solving using calendars to figure out how many times each family would host with certain variables changing (how many students, teachers included or not). Be on the lookout next week for a survey from the class asking about your family’s willingness to host.
At home, talk about what you think bringing a pet home would be like and if there is special information you need from us in order to make that as smooth as possible.

Social Emotional
The science fair brought up lots of feelings about the word “best.” The original idea brought forth by the students was to have people vote for their favorite projects and everyone would get a red ribbon but the best one would get a blue ribbon. This didn’t sit well with everyone and yet there was also the desire to be recognized as having done an outstanding job. On the day of the science fair, there were feelings about how many people visited each project, or not, and that made it feel like certain projects were “better”  than others. So, the desire to be voted best still remained desirable to some, but the actuality of not receiving the feedback they wanted was hard. We will continue to have discussions about how we can structure the next science fair so that everyone feels like they got to share their project and get recognized by their peers, as well as the broader idea of competition and recognition.
At home, talk about your experiences with science fairs. Does it have to be a competition to be “real”?

CONNECTION LINKS
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Jaclyn Epstein-Calvert/Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Field/Park Day – That Park
Scootering and Community garden plan is back!  The forecast is Sunny with a high of 72.  Please apply sunscreen at home.

***Supplies Needed

  1. open-ended dress up fabrics and clothes
  2. Tracing/Graph Paper, chipboard/cardboard, stencils/architect templates
  3. squeegees, white vinegar, sponges, buckets

***Community Field Trip – May 2nd
Please save the Date!

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • 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

Parent Teacher Schedule

MON Apr 7
EL/MS

Please volunteer to cover a shift on Monday!  Thank you,click here to volunteer.

THUR Apr 10
ME

FRI Apr 11
AS

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions related to PTs and scheduling. We need your help with PT support on Thursdays.  Please click here to sign up.

PT RESOURCE: Phys Ed – Strength Training For kids
What are the benefits of strength training? via Mayo Clinic
Done properly, strength training can:
  • Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
  • Help protect your child’s muscles and joints from sports-related injuries
  • Improve your child’s performance in nearly any sport, from dancing and figure skating to football and soccer
Keep in mind that strength training isn’t only for athletes. Even if your child isn’t interested in sports, strength training can:
  • Strengthen your child’s bones
  • Help promote healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Help your child maintain a healthy weight
  • Improve your child’s confidence and self-esteem
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • APRIL TUITION is past Due – thank you!
  • TKG OFFICE HOURS – Friday Apr 11, confirm you attendance for location info
  • FUNDRAISER/CONTRIBUTION OPPORTUNITY Riviera Nails Day is this Wed.  Earn towards your contribution!

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.

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

Eight Ways Of Looking At Intelligence
by Annie Murphy Paul/The Brilliant Blog

In “Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird,” poet Wallace Stevens takes something familiar—an ordinary black bird—and by looking at it from many different perspectives, makes us think about it in new ways.

With apologies to Stevens, I’d like to present eight ways of looking at intelligence—eight perspectives provided by the science of learning. A few words, first, about that term: The science of learning is a relatively new discipline born of an agglomeration of fields: cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, neuroscience. Its project is to apply the methods of science to human endeavors—teaching and learning—that have for centuries been mostly treated as an art.

As with anything to do with our idiosyncratic and unpredictable species, there is still a lot of art involved in teaching and learning. But the science of learning can offer some surprising and useful perspectives on how we educate young people and how we guide our own learning. And so: Eight Ways Of Looking At Intelligence.  The First Way is here…

The Overprotected Kid - The Atlantic April 2014

 

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TKG LISTEN: Simplify

“Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.”
Katherine Gerould (1879 – 1944)

In our efforts to live the ‘good life’, we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed by seemingly endless choices, decisions and activities.

Here are a few ways to help slow down, and give ourselves time to remember who we are and what’s really important in our lives.

And as we simplify, the environment also benefits. READ MORE at EarthEasy.com…

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 16

All Together
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Greetings Community!  We invite you to join us at our Enrollment Information Night this Wednesday.  Please invite your friends!  Thank you for your support.  We are so lucky to have you and look forward to seeing you again soon!

****5 to 7 Year Class Highlights***

Field Day
Our first visit to Featured Park was filled with many experiences: play structures, swings, sand, caterpillars, bees, picking up litter, using a shared space, helping each other clean up, and as always, pushing our growth edges.

Meeting Discussions
Word of the week was WELCOME and we talked about what it feels like to visit a new place or meet new people, and how we can help welcome people. Wednesday we welcomed a new student, Thursday we were intrigued by the Glendale fire, and Friday the beach was on our collective mind.

Math
Tuesday was pajama day and we spent the day working on our sleepover math books and acting out the book that inspired our bunk bed stories. Sprouts came over to Yvette’s house for a sleepover and I was Aunt Michelle Kate. With Yvette and 9 students our number was 10, and they tricked me many ways and discovered that 10=5+5=2+8=4+6. Who knew math was so much fun?!

Language topics
While a handful of students were reading The Sleepover, they used many strategies: sight words, phonetic reading, and skipping the word and using the context. In this process I realized that no one in the group knew the word down, so our next word of the week is DOWN!

Books and conversations
With the fire on our mind, I went with the group energy and we skipped Charlotte’s Web to focus on the fire and to process more about what is happening in the world. Next week we will continue fire conversations, learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and explore the world of Fern, Wilbur, and Charlotte once again.

Emerging Interests/Ongoing projects
We are thinking about how to get the balls, that have been kicked or launched up to the roof, down. The current idea is making stairs.

Rainbow loom! Bring your bands and looms this Tuesday and Wednesday for some math connections and deep learning projects.

Social Emotional
We continue to reconnect after the winter break and are working on using our words, I messaging, perception taking, and slowing down before jumping to conclusions.

***7 to 9 Year Class Highlights***

This week we explored the meaty subject of civil rights as we reflected on our school holiday on Monday honoring the important work done by Martin Luther King, Jr.  We went on a journey with Ruby Bridges, a first grader who integrated an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960. The reading of her experience mesmerized all of us and made us wonder so many things about skin color, the origins of our different families, the history of our country in regards to Abraham Lincoln, slavery, and segregation.   We then each took a different viewpoint and captured that by working with watercolor to create an image of one of the people involved in the history of the time. At home, continue the dialogue about segregation and integration by exploring the website: Rubybridges.com.

Math
This week, Hayden, Bennett and Teddy discovered a new game that lent itself beautifully to thinking about algebra. We took turns tossing a velcro ball into Velcro discs that each had a numbered bullseye on it. We kept track of our scores with chalk, connecting to our recent learning about money to help us add multiples of 25.  Then, we compared our scores using the <, > symbols in order to determine the champion. I look forward to playing again! At home, practice counting by 25’s using the knowledge of quarters as a resource.

In addition, on Thursday, when we took our learning on the road and headed to the beach, we used the sand as our canvas to create clocks. We started by learning about how sundials were used in ancient times to tell time and we created our own. Then, each student drew their own clock and showed different times on it. At home, if your child is still learning to tell time, start with time to the hour and half hour. Once that is mastered, time in 5 minute increments can be explored.

Artful learning
This week, Madison and Isabella jumped into the creation of their artists’ journals. These are journals we will use to reflect upon our experiences at school, capturing our learning and growth. We will first apply gesso to the page to reinforce it so we can paint, collage and even sew it.  At home, check-out the websiteartistsjournals.com to learn more about this creative way to archive and process.

Science
While at the beach, we were fortunate to have a private experience with Mark, a Redondo beach lifeguard, who introduced us to the impact of off shore breezes on an object thrown into the tide, what rip tides are and how to spot rivers of water within the surf and how to most effectively deal with jelly fish and stingray venom. So much relevant science in our lives!

Have a wonderful week!

CONNECTION LINKS
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton/Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Jaclyn Epstein-Calvert/Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Enrichment Classes
You can still enroll! Class schedule is (all begin right after school):
Tuesday – Theatre
Wednesday – Yoga
Thursday – Japanese
Friday – Drumming; begins Jan 31st

***Parent Enrollment Info Night – Wednesday Jan 22
Invite your friends to come visit us this Wednesday at 7:00pm!  Registration available here.

***P.E.T. Workshop, Tuesday Jan 28th, 7:00pm @ TKG
Please join us for this valuable communication workshop. Jennifer Lehr has called it, the philosophy that best supports parent/child communication as partners. Register HERE!

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • 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

The Seeds

We are offering the opportunity to engage:

UPSTAIRS
Mathematics: Operations & Algebraic Thinking
Understand addition, and understand subtraction (K)

CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.1 Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings1, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.2 Solve addition and subtraction word problems, and add and subtract within 10, e.g., by using objects or drawings to represent the problem.
CCSS.Math.Content.K.OA.A.3 Decompose numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 5 = 2 + 3 and 5 = 4 + 1).

English Language Arts: Reading – Foundational Skills (K)
Print Concepts

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.1 Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
Phonological Awareness
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).
Phonics and Word Recognition
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.3a Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.

DOWNSTAIRS
Mathematics
Geometry (2)
Reason with shapes and their attributes.

CCSS.Math.Content.2.G.A.1 Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces.1 Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.

English Language Arts:
Writing (2)
Text Types and Purposes

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.3 Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

Production and Distribution of Writing
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

FEATURED WORKSHOP: P.E.T. Workshop at TKG
Jan 28th at 7:00pm
Please Register!

Learn about P.E.T., highly recommended by Jennifer Lehr of “Good Job and Other Things.”  TKG is happy to announce that Meike Lemmens will facilitate this Intro Workshop and we hope to begin a workshop series for Teachers and Parents, soon after.  To learn more about P.E.T. and T.E.T, click here.

From the TKG Office

  • Have you paid January tuition? Thank you!
  • TKG Office Hours are this Tuesday from 9am. Monica and Trish are available (weekly) for business and conversation.
  • Board Meeting is this Thursday.  7pm.  Guests are welcome to drop in to general forum at the beginning of meeting.
Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.
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

In Education News

Reframing Failure as Iteration Allows Students to Thrive

At New York City’s game-based learning school Quest to Learn, sixth graders take risks in the process of designing a Rube Goldberg machine, which enables more creativity, innovation, and engagement.

WATCH THIS…

Are the Humanities dead?
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FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 14 (7 to 9 Class)

All Together
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful, restful, connected holiday! I want to thank those of you who were able to join us for our drumming holiday gathering. Our time creating rhythm together, drumming towards 2014 was so inspiring with the free flow of drumming, dancing, drawing and munching. I look forward to re-connecting Monday at South Park! Everyone can bring a scooter and a helmet and we will have a blast!

After 2 weeks of being unplugged, I am ready to get back into our dynamic community learning zone! Although I promised myself the time to just do nothing over the break in order to rejuvenate, those brilliant faces were never far from my vision. As we welcome in the year of the horse, I look forward to co-constructing it in our community of learners.

We will kick it off by searching for the answers to these all important questions:

Math
What would it be like to do in-depth math investigations that last a few weeks? How do we find a way to share and prove our mathematical ideas with each other?

Language topics
Are we still wanting a class pet? Have we thought through all the steps? Have we coordinated with all the stakeholders?

Social Emotional
Does our classroom Bill of Rights capture what our hearts, brains and bodies need in order to learn and feel safe? How do we make sure each person in our community of learners feels heard and respected, honored and appreciated?

Let’s do this!

CONNECTION LINKS
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Jaclyn Epstein-Calvert/Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Monthly Parent Meeting – Jan 16th, 7pm
This is a Parent Participation event and one parent must attend. Thank you!

***FIELD/PARK DAY NOTES
Tomorrow is Park Day…Don’t forget sunscreen! Forecast calls for Mostly Sunny with a high of 76°  Scooters are welcome with helmets.  Helmets are required to ride any scooter or ride on.

***Community Field Trip Day
Plans are underway for our next community trip.  Please save the date: Friday Jan 31st.

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • 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 Corner

Teacher wonderings for the week:
How I Help All My Students to Be Good at Math…READ More!

MON Jan 6
EL/MS/RD

THUR Jan 9
ME

FRI Jan 10
TV

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: Using I-messages
“I” messages support: Letting Them Know The Real You, Self-Disclosure, stopping trouble Before It Starts and Enhancing and Strengthening Relationships – GET SOME TOOLS, Here!

The Seeds

We are offering the opportunity to engage:

Mathematics – Standards for Practice
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Mathematically proficient students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution.

CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Mathematically proficient students understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments.

English Language Arts – Anchor Standards for Language
Conventions of Standard English
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.

Knowledge of Language
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

FEATURED WORKSHOP: P.E.T. Workshop at TKG
Jan 28th at 7:00pm

-Please REGISTER here-
Learn about P.E.T., highly recommended by Jennifer Lehr of “Good Job and Other Things.”  TKG is happy to announce that Meike Lemmens will facilitate this Intro Workshop and we hope to begin a workshop series for Teachers and Parents, soon after.  To learn more about P.E.T. and T.E.T, click here.

From the TKG Office

  • After-School Enrichment: Be on the look out for a separate email outlining our after-school program, scheduled to start Jan 13th.  Options will include: theatre, yoga, japanese and drums!
  • TKG Office Hours are this Friday from 9am.
  • Monthly Board Meeting: scheduled for Thursday Jan 23rd at 7:00pm

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.

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

The Truth About The Left Brain / Right Brain Relationship
by TANIA LOMBROZO

Sometimes ideas that originate in science seep out into the broader culture and take on a life of their own. It’s still common to hear people referred to as “anal,” a Freudian idea that no longer has much currency in contemporary psychology. Ideas like black holes and quantum leaps play a metaphorical role that’s only loosely tethered to their original scientific meanings.

What about the idea that some people are more right-brained and others more left-brained? Or that there’s a distinctive analytic and verbal style of thinking associated with the left hemisphere of the brain, and a more holistic, creative style associated with the right? Are these scientific facts or cultural fictions?

An infographic reproduced just last month at Lifehack.org, for example, promises to explain “why you act the way you do” by revealing “which side of your brain you tend to use more.” An article at Oprah.com explains “how to tap into right-brain thinking.” And decades of research using behavioral and neuro-scientific techniques do reveal READ MORE…

Are the Humanities dead?

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 12/Year 1 (7 to 9 Students)

 

All Together
“Name the greatest of all inventors: Accident.”
― Mark Twain
For this newsletter, I will break from the traditional relating of subject specific learning to let you know about some of the shifts in our culture of relating to each other and how our learning space and time has transformed in response to student and teacher needs and interests.

Our environment
Students have settled into a new meeting space, where it feels easier to stay connected as a group. Ask your sprout about how they feel in their new meeting spot.

Purposeful learning (by students and facilitators), through focused lessons, is now happening joyfully in the “laboratory.”  In this special area, we have all agreed to enter with the mindset of “dissecting ideas” in order to advance our thinking.  Ask your student to describe laboratory.

Students have been trying out some “private” spots in the room – for when they need to be alone or focus. Guess what?! 2 of these special spots are behind the curtain (wee!) Ask your child if s/he has an idea for another personal space that might work for them.

Our schedule
The overall schedule hasn’t changed but how we visualize it on our planning board has.  We have arranged our project cards so that the day looks actionable (so we focus on the general, big-picture activities). Every day will be a consistent, predictable routine, so that the students will be confident of the flow of the day. Every day, for each of the learning times, I will note on the planning board which individual or small groups I will meet with in the laboratory to address academic interests/ needs.  See what your sprout things about changes to the schedule of the day and what they learned in Lab this week.

Now we know that after every working time, we come back together to reflect, present and debrief.  Ask your child if they have presented at a reflection meeting.

During deep learning, specific enrichment activities will be offered in the laboratory. Do you, as a parent, have something you love that you want to share with us?  Poetry, chemistry, filmmaking?  All  topics will be explored.

Our relationships
Our new meeting space is cozy with all of us in it! In this new space, I capitalized on our friendly game of winning and losing at the park when we had a student vs. adults race. That was fun because we all agreed to have “winners” and” losers”, but in the classroom, we all agreed that it doesn’t feel right to have the same concept around student-teacher and student-student interactions related to learning.  I shared that my goal is to be a part of a community of learners in which we all, teachers and students, “win” in all circumstances. In order for this to happen, everyone in the community has a right to share their needs and work together to create a culture of everyone’s needs being met. I have been modeling I- messaging for sharing my needs and will continue supporting the students to do the same for themselves. Then we can take those needs and problem solve toward a solution where we have consensus on how we will proceed. This is a process that takes time and as we have begun to commit to this process, we are relating to each other in more trusting, authentic ways.  Ask your child what consensus means to them.

Thank you families.  Your support and our ongoing dialogue about how to serve our students and the community have paved the way for what is already a transformative and adventurous time at TKG!

CONNECTION LINKS
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Jaclyn Epstein-Calvert/Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***FIELD/PARK DAY NOTES
We are at Park tomorrow…one of our final visits before we change locations. Please pack layers so your sprout stays warm. Please remind them to stay hydrated and stay checked-in with teachers and parents. Forecast calls for Sunny  and Wind with a high of 62°F.

***CLASSROOM SUPPLIES NEEDED

  • old sheets (bedding)
  • milk cartons
  • old cardboard boxes

***Dec 20th Clean Up
Please make plans to spend a couple of hours at TKG after 12pm to help your sprouts pack up their classroom.

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • 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 Corner

Teacher wonderings for the week:
How can we really can make sure everyone gets what they need all of the time?  There are 6 steps: READ ON…

MON Dec 9
EL/MS/JS

THUR Dec 12
ME

FRI Dec 13
RD

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: Using I-messages
“I” messages support: Letting Them Know The Real You, Self-Disclosure, stopping trouble Before It Starts and Enhancing and Strengthening Relationships – GET SOME TOOLS, Here!

The Seeds

We are offering the opportunity to engage:

Mathematics – Standards for Practice
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Mathematically proficient students start by explaining to themselves the meaning of a problem and looking for entry points to its solution.

CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Mathematically proficient students understand and use stated assumptions, definitions, and previously established results in constructing arguments.

English Language Arts – Anchor Standards for Language
Conventions of Standard English
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.

Knowledge of Language
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

FEATURED WORKSHOP: P.E.T. Workshop at TKG
Jan 28th at 7:00pm
Learn about P.E.T., highly recommended by Jennifer Lehr of “Good Job and Other Things.”  TKG is happy to announce that Meike Lemmens will facilitate this Intro Workshop and we hope to begin a workshop series for Teachers and Parents, soon after.  To learn more about P.E.T. and T.E.T, click here.

From the TKG Office

  • DEC Tuition is DUE!
  • Spanish Class tuition is due
  • Drum Circle, is on for this Friday.  Please give $15 to Trish by Thursday morning to confirm you attendance.
  • TKG Office Hours are this Friday from 9 to 12. Monica and Trish are available (weekly) for business and conversation.
  • Monthly Board Meeting is tomorrow night from 7 to 9 at China W’s Bistro.  Guests are welcome from 7 to 8p

Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.

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

2013 Holiday Toy Drive begins November 25th! 
Boxes are located at the Torrance Police Department and Fire Stations

The Torrance Police Department is once again teaming up with the Torrance Fire Department and holding a holiday toy drive for those less fortunate. We are looking for new unwrapped toys and gift cards for older kids. All of the toys will be given to needy children here in the city of Torrance.

The drop-off boxes will be located at the following locations:
– Torrance Police Department front lobby , located at 3300 Civic Center Dr
– Torrance Fire Station #1, located at 1701 Crenshaw
– Torrance Fire Station #2, located at 25135 Robinson Way
– Torrance Fire Station #3, located at 3535 182nd St
– Torrance Fire Station #4, located at 5205 Calle Mayor
– Torrance Fire Station #5, located at 3940 Del Amo Blvd
– Torrance Fire Station #6, located at 21401 Del Amo Circle Dr
The drop-off boxes will be at the locations from November 25th to December 24th.
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For more information regarding drop-off locations, click here

Are the Humanities dead?

TKG LEARN: Trust.

Trust

by Lisa A. McCrohan//BarefootBarn Blog

trust

I hurriedly stuck my hand into my bag looking for my keys. Rushing, feeling frustrated, feeling like there were too many things to do and not enough time, getting irritated with myself for not being compassionate with myself because “I should know better” (how’s that for a mindfulness teacher’s guilt?!)…instead of finding my keys, I pulled out my daughter’s bracelet she made at church with “TRUST” spelled out on little beads that her tiny hands strung together.

I sat there on my front step, paused with the bracelet in my hand, noticing how some of the letters were upside down. And I started to smile. I chuckled out loud, let out a long exhale, looked down at this beautiful bracelet in my hand as I thought, “The holy is in the imperfect. Trust that.”

When we need a reminder of what we can trust in:

~ Trust that everything is imperfect and that’s ok.

~ Trust that things don’t have to be perfect to be ok.

~ Trust that every mom struggles with who she is and who she wants to be.

~ Trust that your partner wants you for who you are – post-baby body, ponytail in a baseball cap, and just. as. you. are.

~ Trust that your children see you more kindly and more clearly than you see yourself.

~ Trust that there is no one right way to follow your heart.

~ Trust that you were put on this planet for a reason and that even your self-doubt can’t get in the way of you shining, making a difference in this world.

~ Trust that being broken opens you up to a deeper power within you and a deeper sense of compassion.

~ Trust that it’s not all up to you, that something bigger is holding you, inviting you to laugh, and offering you deep rest.

~ Trust that by doing what brings you joy in your daily life – one little decision at a time to follow that joy in your heart – you lead a beautiful life and it inspires others to do the same.

I say I want to drop the perfect – the idea that there is a perfect way to love, parent, cook, work – but the fact is that many of us have spent decades believing there’s a “perfection” to be obtained. And that conditioning takes daily doses of softening, gentleness and compassion to shift. Little daily doses of “this is perfectly imperfect and that’s not only ok – it’s beautiful. It’s holy.”

So, mama..

READ MORE at BAREFOOT BARN!

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 1

All Together
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu
…and then there were 18! We had a great start to our school year. Where else do you start with a pillow fight on the first day of school? or a community day in nature, the very next day? The TKG way…

Meeting Discussions: What is school? How do we want to feel at school? Starting our Bill of Rights we all shared we like to feel happy, excited, and safe at school. At TKG we have the right to: learn, eat, have fun, be creative, draw, choice, be heard, have feelings, everyone doesn’t have to do the same thing at the same time, try anything else (new things).  How can we be mindful of our bodies, our brains and our hearts when we are together?

Math: Counting Collections! This week we counted independently, found just right numbers, estimated before counting, and counted with a partner. Anna and Alex counted rocks, but then found another container of rocks. Their plan was to dump out the rocks and count again. Michelle challenged them to find a way to do it without starting over. They decided to start with the number they knew and continue counting; 28, 29, 30… 52. Mathematicians call this “counting on”.  We were introduced to Madison and Bennett’s strategy for keeping track of groups you count- Touch and Push to the Side.  Question for next week: What are some strategies for estimating how many might be in a collection?

Language topics: Characters, Main Character, Character’s attributes and feelings. When creating stories students characters included snails, spiders, lizards, chickens, dogs, their dog, their family, and themselves. Michelle challenged students to recreate their story with their character in different areas.  As students created stories about what school is, several foci emerged.   Character Development was explored by Isabella, Simone, Hayden and Madison. With the desire to draw comics, Bennett, Zoe and Teddy explored how to show the passage of time in a comic strip.

Books and conversations: We LOVE Books! Yoko by Rosemary Wells – If you don’t like something, how could you express yourself? Tomomi shared how she felt like Yoko as a child when her mom packed her favorite snack, rice balls. She helped us think about real world connections to literature. A read-aloud in the 7 to 9 Classroom: The Hoboken Chicken Emergency  How would you react if a 266 lb chicken, on a leash, showed up at your door?

Emerging interests: Planning for our big birthday celebration, which included making a house. A real house! A class pet, chess, a show about witches/fairies/shape-changers…What does it mean to have “no characters” at school? (this is an ongoing conversation currently!)

Social Emotional: This week was filled with connections, reconnections, some disconnection and then reconnections. We are getting to know each other and understand that we sometimes have the same ideas, and sometimes have different ideas, and they all can be good ideas. Some of next week’s wonderings might be:
What are our rights and responsibilities in our classroom?  Idea- Read the US Bill of Rights with your student
How do my actions create a ripple effect in my environment? Idea- Explore the ripple effect in the kitchen or bathroom.
What does it mean to us to “keep the flow?” Idea- Explore the effect when the flow of water is blocked and begins to flood.
How do we recognize our needs and the needs of our classmates?  Idea- Explore how each person in your family wears a different sized shoe by trying on each other’s shoes.  Note how the shoe that we need a shoe that is “just right”.

Thanks to each of you for pitching in to make this first week so true!  Special shout out to the setter uppers, cleaner uppers, parent teachers and Max the amazing.

CONNECTION LINKS
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, Founding Teacher/5 to 7 Classroom
Yvette Fenton/Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Jaclyn Epstein-Calvert/Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Saundi Williams, 5 to 7 Room Parent
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***CLASSROOM SUPPLIES NEEDED
Kitchen supplies, water vessels, things to make potions

***CLASSROOM HANDY WORK NEEDED
We need to problem solve some lost hinges for our outdoor easel.  We may need to source new hinges or devise another way to set up the easel.  Handy folks, please connect with John Schwartz to sign up for this project.

***PARK/FIELD DAY SNACKS
Please pack a ‘separate’ snack (in the outside pocket, a small bag within a bag, easy to access container) to facilitate morning snack basket.  Contact Michelle with questions.

Field trip Day is coming up on Sept 27th!  Stay tuned for details from Renee.

TKG Principals
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will build on their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN SCIENCE, students are sensory learners, we honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • 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 Corner

PARENT TEACHER SCHEDULE

MON Sept 16 – Hess Park
EL/RD/MS

TUE Sept 17
LS (8.30-11.30) & AS (11.30-2.30)

WED Sept 18
SW (please pack classroom for StAndrew’s monthly meeting)

THUR Sept 19
TV & EC (upstairs)
YF (downstairs)

FRI Sept 13
TSB & EL (upstairs)
AS (downstairs)

PT NOTES

*The next parent meeting (Sept 21, 9am) will be devoted to reflecting on the first 2 weeks of school, tools to support social emotional development with Renee and a deeper look at some of our curricular foci.

*New parents: please submit a TB Test at your earliest convenience.

Please contact John Schwartz with any questions.

PT TOOLBOX: Q&A about Project Work
What is project work? 

Project work is a long-term, in-depth investigation of a question, idea, or theme that engages a small group of children and a teacher. It can begin from any number of places and it ends with a celebration of the group’s work together. Teachers invite children who…READ MORE!

The Seeds

We are offering the opportunity to engage:

MATH
Grade 2 Overview of Operations and Algebraic Thinking (downstairs)
Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
Add and subtract within 20.
Work with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication

Counting & Cardinality (upstairs)
Know number names and the count sequence.

CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.1 Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.2 Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
CCSS.Math.Content.K.CC.A.3 Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

Comprehension and Collaboration (downstairs)
English Language Arts: College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening
To build a foundation for college and career readiness, students must have ample opportunities to take part in a variety of rich, structured conversations—as part of a whole class, in small groups, and with a partner. Being productive members of these conversations requires that students contribute accurate, relevant information; respond to and develop what others have said; make comparisons and contrasts; and analyze and synthesize a multitude of ideas in various domains.

Speaking and Listening Skills (upstairs)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.1 Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.1a Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.K.1b Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.

FEATURED WORKSHOP: ECHO PARENTING, 8-Week Series Presented by Renee Dokmanovich.
Raising children is so difficult, yet most parents don’t get much support to build skills and techniques. Nonviolent Parenting is an empathy led approach to raising children. It is based on brain development and child development.

From the TKG Office

  • September Tuition NOW DUE: apologies for the confusion!  First month’s tuition should be stated as last month’s tuition. Sept tuition is still due.  We pay 9 months of tuition which means last regular tuition is due in April.
  • After-School Offerings please look out for a separate email outlining registration. FREE TO BE ME Drum circle will offer an introduction class this Monday (instead of usual day on Friday) after Park/Field Day (for one hour).  Cost is $15.
  • Sept Board Meeting: 7pm.  Guest are welcome to join the forum in the first hour.  Meeting at W’s China Bistro.
  • EMERGENCY CONTACT FORMS Please give Trish your forms.  Thanks if you have already completed.
Thank you Families!  Contact Trish or Monica with any questions.
“So many books, so little time.”
― Frank Zappa

Resource Of The Week

Gardening with Kids

Turn digging in the dirt into a lifetime of love and respect for nature with your children.

Gardens are magical, fun, and always full of surprises. Watch a child pull a carrot from the earth, brush off the soil, and take a bite, or see the anticipation in the eyes of a youngster creating a bouquet of flowers she grew. There is a natural magnetic attraction between children and the earth, whether it’s making mud or discovering a germinating seed emerge from the earth. Gardening with children, from toddlers to adolescents, opens new windows in a world dominated by technology.

Whether you are an accomplished gardener or a novice, gardening with children is your chance to partner with Mother Nature to make magic. Don’t worry about achieving horticultural perfection. Just dig in and grow something beautiful or good to eat. Your garden is your treasure chest; you and your young gardener—exploring together—can discover its priceless bounty for an afternoon’s delight or for READ MORE…

Are the Humanities dead?