TKG LISTEN: What is Critical Thinking anyway? (Learning Theory Resource)

creative thinkingBosses Seek ‘Critical Thinking,’ but What Is That?
By MELISSA KORN

We talk about critical thinking and how hands-on, project-based and relevance are the keys to learning well.  We have seen the benefits and processes, carefully observing all students, especially those who have been at TKG for four years.  We see it happening right before our eyes, yet one of the challenges in describing this sort of learning is in  ‘quantifying’ the learning in a way that translates for the lens of the ‘real world.’  Are the skills we foster applicable ‘real world’? Of course but even the ‘real world’ is trying to figure it out:

Critical thinking is a critical skill for young workers these days.

What that means, though—and how to measure it—is less clear. Employers complain that colleges are not producing graduates who can solve problems and connect the dots on complex issues, but bosses stumble when pressed to describe exactly what skills make critical thinkers. That leaves job seekers wondering what employers really want and, once on the job, unsure of whether they’re supposed to follow the rules or break them.

Mentions of critical thinking in job postings have doubled since 2009, according to an analysis by career-search site Indeed.com. The site, which combs job ads from several sources, found last week that more than 21,000 health-care and 6,700 management postings contained some reference to the skill. READ MORE…

This was featured in our newsletter as Resource Of The Week – Constructivism, week #18.

TKG KNOW: Big Hug to Moms of the World!

Some of our students wanted to say a few words about moms:

Happy Day to all our mothers, parents and teachers who nurture from our 7 to 11 year old students!  See more TKG videos and favorites at our YouTube Channel.

WEEK 17 NEWSLETTER “From Under Our Big Tree” (Focus on our growing community)

All Together - 5 to 7 Class
“We don’t have to sit at a desk.
No homework. I feel good at school.
I always rush my mom to get out of the
house to come to school.”
-Bennett Valdez
Thank you for coming to our Monthly Parent Meeting, it is always good to build community with you.  We enjoyed sharing the classroom and important details about a day at TKG. Your feedback was very helpful in honing our presentation and highlights for our upcoming Information Nights. You can share this link, to encourage your friends and family to register for the Info Night – this Thursday at 7pm.  If you have any questions on anything we covered, please come to Office Hours this Friday (1-3pm) or make an appointment that is more convenient.  Thank you for staying to help with Spring Cleaning as well, it feels so wonderful to be working in a “village.”

As a re-cap of the general board meeting on Saturday: our shared values bond us together creating a foundation on which we can grow:

The Knowing Garden offers a collaborative and interactive approach to education. Our teacher and parent community empowers individuals to love learning, cultivate relationships, embrace nature and engage with the world as innovators and catalysts.

Teachers help students construct knowledge through projects, experience and labs.

A TKG education develops multiple intelligences with attention to the social- emotional wellness of each student in partnership with each family.

Each member of a team is accountable for learning, helping teammates learn and processing together thus, creating an atmosphere of achievement.

We teach in the way that children learn best – through connection and positive experiences.

We encourage innovation, empowerment, environmental stewardship and social justice to serve our community and the communities that await our students.

Our long term objectives keep us connected and motivated:
STUDENTS – Provide a high quality education that fosters love of learning, nurtures relationships and develops critical thinking
FACULTY – Recruit, develop and support a reflective, dedicated faculty & staff
COMMUNITY – Nurture a mindful community united by empowerment and shared values
CAMPUS – Provide a safe learning environment that meets our educational needs and financial requirements
GROWTH – Enroll to full capacity to enrich the experience for our students and our entire community

These long-term objectives are accomplished, little-by-little, each school year. Of utmost importance is our aim to provide a high quality education that fosters love of learning, nurtures relationships and develops critical thinking. 

Without a doubt, is doesn’t work without you:

At TKG, we value parents and welcome participation in their child’s education. With this in mind, our objective is to nurture a mindful community united by empowerment and shared values.

Thank you to our families who support our classrooms and our family community with time, effort and love. We ar truly honored to be a part of your team. And as our recruitment season begins, it is with a full, excited heart that I look forward to even more families and children getting to experience this special place we call The Knowing Garden.

Love,
Lena & Michelle

CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION
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
Elle Schwarz, Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Dawn Smith, Co-Teacher, 5 to 7 Classroom
Saundi Williams5 to 7 Room Parent
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pintrest/Youtube
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***Parent Enrollment Information Night – Thurs Jan 29 7pm
Share this link with your friends.  Share this FACEBOOK eventwith your friends.  Post a flyer at your favorite spots (available on the Green Monster).  All of our combined efforts will help us enroll to capacity this year.  If you have time to help set up on Thursday, please contact Michelle.

***’Community Snack
ME and family are bringing Field Day snack this week!  Thank You.

***Classroom Tours
We will have guests this Tuesday and Wednesday – please say Hello!  If you have any time to help with some of our Spring Cleaning items, please contact your teacher.

TKG Principles
  • 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

  • MONDAY Erin, Jennifer (PM), Saundi(AM), Trish
  • TUESDAY Monica (D) (Schwartz (AM set up), Erin (PM Clean up), Alice (AM breezeway))
  • WEDNESDAY – Ellen (U), Lori (D) (Schwartz (AM set up), Erin (PM Clean up)) We need a volunteer for AM breezeway!
  • THURSDAY – Renee (U), Saundi (U) (Alice (AM set up), Erin (AM breezeway), Shannon (PM Clean up))
  • FRIDAY- Gina (U), Shannon (U) (Alice (Project), Lori (PM Clean up), Saundi (AM breezeway)) We need a volunteer for AM set up!

PRINT the most current PT Calendar, here!   Contact Trish with any changes asap.  If a sub (for a full day) is not secured, TKG will arrange for one of the co-teachers to cover and bill the family for $150 for the day.

PT RESOURCE: Our Values

This image represents the what and the how:
1. Protect the Flow of Learning
2. Participate in Community Experiences
3. Collaborate to Meet Needs
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

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

TKG ENROLLMENT INFORMATION NIGHT
for Parents
Thursday January 29th, 7pm @ TKG

Please invite your friends to join us for our first (of two) Info Night.  Registration is available via our website: knowingGarden.org or forward this link.
In case it has been a couple of years since you went to an Info night, come see it for yourself!

Resource Of The Week – Whole Child + Family

PLAYING OUTDOORS MAKES KIDS
SMARTER

By Stacey Loscalzo/Portland Family

Why to we have Field Day?

  1. Outdoor play is a multi-sensory activity.
  2. Playing outside brings together informal play and formal learning.
  3. Playing outdoors stimulates creativity.
  4. Playing outdoors is open-ended. There is no instruction manual for outdoor play. Children make the rules and in doing so use their imagination, creativity, intelligence and negotiation skills in a unique way.
  5. Playing in nature reduces anxiety.
  6. Outdoor play increases attention span.
  7. Outdoor play is imaginative.
  8. Being in nature develops respect for other living things.
  9. Outdoor play promotes problem solving. As children navigate a world in which they make the rules, they must learn to understand what works and what doesn’t, what lines of thinking bring success and failure, how to know when to keep trying and when to stop.
  10. Playing outside promotes leadership skills.
  11. Outdoor play widens vocabulary.
  12. Playing outside improves listening skills.
  13. Being in nature improves communication skills.
  14. Outdoor play encourages cooperative play.
  15. Time in nature helps children to notice patterns.
  16. Playing outdoors helps children to notice similarities and differences.
  17. Time spent outdoors improves children’s immune systems.
  18. Outdoor play increases children’s physical activity level.
  19. Time spent outdoors increases persistence.
  20. Outdoor play is fun.
Whole Family - Playing Outdoors Makes Kids Smarter

TKG LISTEN: Art is Vital to enabling voice and creativity

Art Is Vital

The best education enables artistic voice and creative habits of mind.
JAMES HAMBLIN/The Atlantic     JUN 28 2014

At TKG, we value art in the classroom – doing, observing, making, feeling…in order to develop multiple intelligences, we offer opportunities for physical, cognitive, and emotional experiences connected to art throughout the day.  Come visit and see it in action!  This resource is online at TheAtlantic.com

It has been three years since the spectacular video of Lil Buck dancing to Yo-Yo Ma brought jookin—which draws from hip-hop, ballet, jazz, and modern dance—into mainstream consciousness. Ma would later call Buck a genius; and, he is. According to the theory of multiple intelligences, which posits nine distinct dimensions, Buck is clearly off the charts in intelligences like spatial, musical/rhythmic, and bodily/kinesthetic.

The theory was developed in 1983 by Howard Gardner, who is now the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard. It defines intelligence expansively, as the ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture; a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life. It’s a broader definition than many curricula address, and some of the multiple intelligences regularly go unstimulated and underdeveloped in traditional schools.

Read the article at The Atlantic.

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 5/Year 2 (7 to 9 Class)

Week 5 Documentation & Info – 7 to 9 Class

All Together - 7 to 9 Class
“The most interesting information come from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.”
― Mark Twain
Going in to Week 6, it is clear that students and teachers are immersing themselves in the 5 tenets that guide our environment and planning:
  • Brain Function & Development – teachers participated in two staff development workshops this week; one with Alice Shippee on Tuesday and another with Kathy Gordon on Saturday. This time immediately influences how we implement our understanding of the brain in the tools we use in the classroom.
  • Whole Child & Family – Our monthly parent meeting focused on getting to know each other and supporting students’ independence and community building.  Our families are in our classroom everyday!  Don’t forget to map your heritage.
  • Constructivism – our MEAPs offerings at park day are coming in to the classroom for deeper learning and extension.  We’re not on a timeline but we are on a mission.
  • Cooperative Learning – Smores, our class pet, brings us together for collaboration and real-world experience.  We have submitted a sustaining grant proposal to receive money for Smores’ care!
  • Capacity Building – Perseverance, grit, resilience. We have created the opportunity to work through students’ personal and group challenges in our morning meeting – and throughout the day. Students feel safe enough to share their celebrations and hurts and others are responding with their support, experiences and perspectives.  This is a life skill that will serve our students beyond their time here.
See you at the Park tomorrow!  Forecast is Partly Cloudy with a high of 80°.   Don’t forget sunscreen! Here’s a snapshot of the week:
Math
We continue our Contexts for Learning curriculum as it leads us towards using a number line as a model for addition. Along the way, we are building our capacity to use 10 as a friendly number by adding 10 to any number and then seeing if a pattern emerges as we continue adding 10. During Math we intentionally worked on the following skills and habits:
  • Measuring} Grade 2 » Measurement & Data CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.B.6
    Represent whole numbers as lengths from 0 on a number line diagram with equally spaced points corresponding to the numbers 0, 1, 2, …, and represent whole-number sums and differences within 100 on a number line diagram. Grade 3 » Measurement & Data CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.MD.C.5.A A square with side length 1 unit, called “a unit square,” is said to have “one square unit” of area, and can be used to measure area.
  • Adding 10s} Grade 2 » Number & Operations in Base Ten CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.A.1.A
    100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens — called a “hundred.” CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.A.1.B The numbers 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine hundreds (and 0 tens and 0 ones).CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.A.2 Count within 1000; skip-count by 5s, 10s, and 100s.
TKG at Home Opportunity: play around the circle, a game we play in class to work on place value-start with a number, say 29, and then keep adding 10. What is the pattern? A special place to focus is the crossover into the hundred, 99…109.
Writing
We focused on an emerging student interest- a class newspaper. Zoe, Hayden, Bennett, Maddie and Ted are interested in developing this plan so this week, we talked about the standard parts of a newspaper, the roles people play in creating a newspaper,  and  the conventions of newspaper articles. Each student decided what role they will play: Bennett, Zoe and Hayden will be reporters and Ted and Maddie will be editors. The whole downstairs class owns the paper. Next week, we will begin to write some articles focusing on the lead paragraph of an article that details the who, what, where, when, why of the noteworthy news. During our Writing time, we intentionally worked on the following skills and habits:
  • Publishing}English Language Arts Standards » Writing » Grade 3 Production and Distribution of Writing:CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.5
    With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
  • Editing}English Language Arts Standards » Writing » Grade 2 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. 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.
This week also highlighted our authors-at-work, Sydney, Aiel and Anna who are working on publishing their I Am books. The students are so excited to think deeply about the presentation of their ideas and how they want to convey their messages to their readers. They are stretching their independent learning with the support of their older peers. We can’t wait to see their work!
TKG At Home Opportunity: Make sure your sprouts see you reading and read the paper with your sprouts. Talk about some of the terminology used in ad sales!Artful Learning (contribution by Elle)
Drawing inspiration from their desire to start a weekly newspaper, this week we studied fonts and logo design. They learned what style of font would make a good headline versus typeface for an article. They discovered how different fonts influence the way a reader understands what they are seeing; that some attract more attention, others make us feel like we are being invited to a fancy party, while others have a more casual tone. After studying fonts and being inspired by modern and ancient designs, we worked on creating fonts, each for a different section of the newspaper, for example “Comics,” “Weather” or even the main title, “TKG Weekly.”Some students were interested in their doll making business and were busy creating a logo that captures their vision, as well as incorporates the names of the craftsmen. We are all excited for next week, as I will introduce the printmaking process and we will be creating a stamp of their design.

Science
Our learning opportunities included:

  • Note-taking} English Language Arts Standards » Writing » Grade 3 CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • Using key, content specific vocabulary} English Language Arts Standards » Writing » Grade 1 Distribution of Writing: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1.8
    With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • Presenting information) English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening Comprehension and Collaboration: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. Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4
    Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Synthesizing information} English Language Arts Standards » Anchor Standards » College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading Key Ideas and Details: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Complexity:CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
  • Collaboration} English Language Arts Standards » Speaking & Listening » Grade 2 Comprehension and Collaboration:CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1
    Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about relevant topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1.A
    Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • Creative thinking} There is no Common Core standard for Creative Thinking but supporters say that there is much opportunity for students and teachers to be creative within the standards.  At TKG, we work to create opportunities for students where they can choose to explore their stories and ideas in a safe place.
This week we solidified our anatomy learning about our sense organs-eyes, ears and mouth with two rich, interactive experiences. On Tuesday, the students got to teach each other all about the body part that they have been researching. Students shared the notes they have been collecting and the clay model they created as a way to teach their peers all they know about the ear, eye or mouth. It was so cool to see the “teachers” educating each other, using specific vocabulary, and to see the “students” excitedly writing notes so they could internalize the knowledge. Then, on Wednesday, the whole class worked together to bring the different body parts to life using fabric and their bodies. They had a few minutes to plan together who would act out which part of the eye, ear or mouth and then they had a few minutes of working in silence to arrange themselves in the anatomically correct positions. IT was amazing to see students finding ways to communicate non-verbally and then re-arrange themselves. The leaders shifted each time we acted out a new part, because the experts became the people who had done the most research on that part.
TKG At Home Opportunity: Ask your child to tell you what they remember about the eye, ear or mouth…Some friendly reminders:
  • Tuesday is Picture Day!  Students and Community will be photographed.  Contact Alice
  • Parent Check-In Conferences are this Friday.  Sign Up, here.
  • Mindful Moment with Lisette will be available on Thr Oct 23rd.
Love,
Lena
CONNECTION LINKS
Lena Garcia, School Builder/7 to 9 Classroom
Elle Schwartz, Co-Teacher, 7 to 9 Classroom
Erin Levin, 7 to 9 Room Parent
Shutterfly Info Site: photos, contact information, announcements
Follow us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pintrest/Youtube
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

***School Picture Day – Tues Oct 14th
We encourage dress and attitude that is natural and true!

***TKG Book Club – Wed Oct 29th, 7.00pm
We are reading: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Chapter: Whole-hearted Parenting.  Buy the book at the TKG Marketplace(click Reading List tab).  This is also an early pick up day (12noon)

***Classroom Materials Needed
Please donate clean tin cans for our outdoor classroom.  Drop off to Erin or Trish.

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*
MONDAY – EL, ME + GS/JC
TUESDAY – AS (EL)
WEDNESDAY – RD
*Names in parentheses are working on-campus, outside the classroom on that day.

We have some openings week of Oct 27 – if you can make some time, please volunteer to cover. thank you!

Please contact Trish with any questions related to PT/PT experience and scheduling. PRINT the most current PT calendar here.

PT RESOURCE: Make Room for “What Ifs”
“What if” thinking can open the door to a world of opportunities, but what are the questions that lead to more authentic experiences: What if we invite students to solve real problems? What if the classroom doesn’t have walls? What if learning activities don’t always end with letter grades?”As PTs, we’re very comfortable with asking: “What is your plan?”  The next step is to remember to ask: “What are you going to do next?”  We have put a lot of effort in to creating a space where we are not bound to answers that garner an arbitrary reward or grades that put the learning outside of the student.  We will continue to work hard at finding the balance, between the developmental capacity of our students and scaffolding that helps them grow their knowledge.  So, please keep asking them and us, “What If…and what’s next…” Read about what happens when you make room for the what ifs…
Admin Announcements

From the TKG Office

  • November PT Schedule – Please check your November dates and arrange for subs or changes as needed.
  • Office Hours 10/21 @ 1pm @ GRC
  • Fundraiser Opportunity Week of Oct 27th @ The Counter

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 – Constructivist Learning

Art Is Vital

The best education enables artistic voice and creative habits of mind.
JAMES HAMBLIN/The Atlantic

It has been three years since the spectacular video of Lil Buck dancing to Yo-Yo Ma brought jookin—which draws from hip-hop, ballet, jazz, and modern dance—into mainstream consciousness. Ma would later call Buck a genius; and, he is. According to the theory of multiple intelligences, which posits nine distinct dimensions, Buck is clearly off the charts in intelligences like spatial, musical/rhythmic, and bodily/kinesthetic.

The theory was developed in 1983 by Howard Gardner, who is now the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard. It defines intelligence expansively, as the ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture; a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life. It’s a broader definition than many curricula address, and some of the multiple intelligences regularly go unstimulated and underdeveloped in traditional schools.

Read the article at The Atlantic.

Math Nerd or Bookworm?

 

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 Learn: 5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students

TKG offers weekly tips and tools to our parents and parent teachers in order to support their teaching, at home and at school, experience.  This resource features: 5 Powerful Questions Teachers Can Ask Students
Many would agree that for inquiry to be alive and well in a classroom (or at home) that, amongst other things, the teacher needs to be expert at asking strategic questions, and not only asking well-designed ones, but ones that will also lead students to questions of their own. Click for the 5 suggestions and try them out this week!
thinking
We saw this at Edutopia…visit them for more great ideas.

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 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.
.
For more information regarding drop-off locations, click here

Are the Humanities dead?
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