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

Are the Humanities dead?

TKG KNOW: TKG Grows

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: TKG Office

Phone: 310.728 9337

Date: July 3, 2013

 

The Knowing Garden Community Elementary School Grows in Redondo Beach, CA

Us

2013 TKG Students and teachers Samantha Moshiri (L) and Michelle Goldbach-Johnson (R)

Set to Begin Third Year of Operation – Now Enrolling Ages 5 to 9

 

Redondo Beach, CA – The Knowing Garden, a local community school that is part of the movement to revolutionize elementary education, is adding a second classroom and more students beginning this Fall.  Magdalena Garcia will join The Knowing Garden (TKG) as the teacher for the students ages 7 to 9. The not-for-profit school first opened, with 4 students, in the Fall of 2011.  In the second year of operation, the school doubled enrollment; and going in to the third year of operation, school management projects that it will double enrollment once again.  In order to support 18 students and parent volunteers, the community will employ two full-time teachers and 2 part-time teachers — up from one teacher in the first year.  School business is managed by a community Board of Directors that includes finance, marketing, health and management professionals from diverse backgrounds.

The heart of the second and newest classroom is Magdalena Garcia . She will be teaching and learning with students ages 7 to 9 in a separate classroom that is currently undergoing refreshing and furnishing. Magdalena is a UC Santa Cruz alum with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well as a UCLA graduate with a Master’s degree in education. She has been an elementary school teacher for the last 12 years. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she has also been a teacher coach and mentor teacher. She has served as an educational consultant for the Natural history museum helping to create project-based, art infused resources to support museum exhibits. Magdalena strives to create connection with children through listening and playing and is always looking for an opportunity for collaboration and learning with adults and children alike. Magdalena is the mom to a six year old daughter.

Magdalena shared, “When I was studying to be a teacher I took sociology, human development and child psychology. When I became a teacher I referenced the theories of social justice, transformative pedagogy and constructivism. When I was pregnant, I studied how to attach, respect, listen and play. But now that our daughter is 6, all of the theories I studied and tried to implement are no longer theories. Watching a human grow in front of my eyes makes all the ideas real. I knew that she needed a school where she could develop, thrive and connect. A place where theories become real. The Knowing Garden is this place for our family and I am so excited to be a part of its growth.”

Michelle Goldbach-Johnson, teaching and learning with the 5 to 7 classroom, will return for her third year at The Knowing Garden.   Michelle has developed and led the school, in collaboration with Magdalena, since the beginning and continues to be an advocate for children’s rights.  Yvette Fenton and Samantha Moshiri are also dedicated teachers that call TKG home.

TKG, currently located at St.Andrew’s Church in Redondo Beach, recognizes that children are natural learners and respects students’ rights to collaboration, choice and play. The school is committed to providing an environment that inspires joy of learning, nurtures relationships and embraces learning through play and nature. Integrating constructivist theory, brain science research and social/emotional development, the school invests in students’ inherent and emerging knowledge to support their practice of engaging discovery with critical thinking.  The learning opportunities are project-rich, enhanced by self-directed learning and real-life experiences.  With credentialed teachers, parent participation and adult to student ratios of 1 to 4, the curriculum emerges in partnership with students and families. Also, as part of the curriculum, students and teachers meet and connect with nature – at local parks, trails, the beach – one day each week.

TKG does not participate in STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) testing to measure growth. It does not offer letter or peer-comparison evaluation or grades.  As a way to document growth, students keep portfolios and meet with teachers to create an understanding of their learning progress. Teachers offer narratives and documentation of student evolution via meetings with parents to communicate learning and progress. As a way to connect home and school as well as support families, parents receive weekly documentation of classroom learning as well as relevant parenting and educational resources.  In addition, the whole parenting and teaching community comes together at monthly meetings filled with resources and community reflection. TKG places an emphasis on social-emotional learning and the “soft skills” that will prepare students to be critical thinkers who are lifelong learners and active contributors to the global community.

For additional information, visit www.KnowingGarden.org, email info(at)KnowingGarden(dot)org or call 310 728 9337.  TKG is enrolling students ages 5 to 9.  Interested families are invited to contact TKG for information on an upcoming community meet-up.

TKG KNOW: Standardized Test Boycotts, Protests Gain Momentum

Standardized Test Boycotts, Protests Gain Momentum Around U.S.

standardized-test

The Huffington Post | By Tyler Kingkade

High school students and teachers in cities around the U.S. have decided they hate standardized tests so much, they’re just not going to take them, according to news reports.

At Garfield High School — the Seattle, Wash., alma mater of Jimi Hendrix, rapper Macklemore and Quincy Jones — teachers voted unanimously to “refuse to administer the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, test on ethical and professional grounds.” In an op-ed explaining the decision, history teacher Jesse Hagopian made the case that students already face enough standardized tests, and his pupils view the MAP test less seriously because “their scores don’t factor into their grades or graduation status.”

“We at Garfield are not against accountability or demonstrating student progress,” Hagopian wrote. “We do insist on a form of assessment relevant to what we’re teaching in the classroom.”

The Times also reports that Garfield teachers had the support of the PTSA, and many parents chose to opt their children out of the tests or keep them home when administrators forced the school to administer the tests.

Meanwhile, high school students in Portland, Ore., launched an opt-out campaign against a series of state-mandated standardized tests called the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, according to U.S. News & World Report.

These students and teachers are adopting a tactic from the National Opt Out Day movement, which started last year when No Child Left Behind turned 10 years old. NCLB mandated standardized testing of students, and has often been criticized for creating a culture of “teaching to the tests.”

That was among the reasons cited by Portland Student Union member Alexia Garcia to the Washington Post in describing why they had organized in Portland.

Oringinally Posted on: 02/20/2013 READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE at The Huff Post

 

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 20

 

Park Day at TKG
“For this feeling of wonder shows that you are a philosopher, since wonder is the only beginning of philosophy.”
― Plato, Theaetetus
WONDER.  As parents and teachers – the scaffolding for our sprouts – we are evolving in to co-wonderers.  Re-imagining our role in learning…

While exploring park day we wondered about other perspectives:
I wonder what it is like to be a moth here?  I wonder if a moth like to be buried?
I wonder what a news reporter say?
I wonder what Pine Cone World is like for babies?
I wonder who else uses this bathroom?
I wonder what is it like to be a rock?
I wonder if an artist knows what they are going to create?
I wonder how height changes the view of the person on the swing?
I wonder what is it like to be a black widow?
Shift your perspective from solving the problem, or giving the answer, to I wonder…

Our sprouts are genius when it comes to creative thinking:
“An artist doesn’t need to know what it is going to be.”
“Love is warm.”
“All of my books in my book box are about nature.  I feel like I’m into nature.  I want to learn more about nature.”
“The Indians used to be animals.”
“We excavated it.”
“If you are lower it is bigger, if you are taller it looks smaller.  Does that make sense?”
“We are scientists!”

In celebration of our 100th day, we reflected on our school year:

Alex- seal at Marine Mammal Center
Bennett- Jack before it wasn’t a good fit, and the tree B planted last year
James- school with everyone in it
Aiel- holiday show, otis jack aiel at the botanic garden
Michelle – holiday show  – our first big project where we all worked together at some capacity
Madison- circle time and the caterpillar
Otis- me and jack at the park by a sapling tree, jack and him at McDonalds-a yesterday memory
Anna- yesterday, PE girls exercise group
Sydney- yesterday- heater smell we investigated where the smoke smell was coming from, Christmas book, presents, park in different groups
Yvette- book making, trees, presents, butterfly, hoola hoop, airplanes, fruit salad, counting collections

We played Roll to 100
We wondered about how we would look when turning 100…
We assesed our school experience:
“Our teacher is nice, well most of the time, yeah sometimes she gets steamy.” 
(a whole back story behind that!  I’m transparent about my feelings and we problem solve when I’m starting to get steamy)
We talked about other schools and time outs?
We acknowledged our Bill of Rights

Question of the week:
What happens when your amygdala is flooded? The amygdala processes events that are related to what a person cares about at the moment.

Your feedback and questions are encouraged:
CLASSROOM/CURRICULUM/PARK DAY – Michelle Goldbach-Johnson
CLASSROOM – Yvette Fenton
CURRICULUM – Lena Garcia Kaufman
SCHOOL BUSINESS – Trish Valdez

Please CHECK out Our Flickr Stream

BasketBall!
TKG Info

Tending the Garden

Park Day – We will be staying at this park through the rest of the month.  Please check in with Michelle if you have any questions and don’t forget to pack light.

Parent Info Night #3 is on February 21st.  Please tell a friend!

February Field Trip is scheduled for Friday February 15th at 10 AM.  We will visit the Western Museum of Flight @ 3315 Airport Drive in Torrance. The museum is located in the first hanger west of the control tower. Prices for $5 for guests over 12 years.

Valentines Day please don’t bring pre-made/printed valentines to class.  We would like to discuss any plans and ideas, if they come up, as a group in class.  Whole fruit and vegetable snacks are welcome.

Pinterest Michelle has started a Pinterest with TKG in mind – if you follow, check out  http://pinterest.com/tkgmichelle/

The 5 Guiding Principals at TKG
  • CONSTRUCTIVISM, as teachers and parents, we provide the trellis on which students will expand their existing knowledge
  • WHOLE CHILD, cognitive, physical and social/emotional are inseparable
  • BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT, students are sensory learners, we will honor each student’s unique developmental map
  • CAPACITY BUILDING, supporting the development of creative thinkers who are encouraged to solve problems
  • CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING, small groups, low ratios, mixed ages and generations
Parent Teacher Info

Parent/Teacher Corner

Teaching Focus – How to support listening (through the lens of a Socratic classroom):
In a Socratic classroom, democracy consists of everyone listening intently, not in “equal time”. Like a well-coached basketball team, its players don’t snatch the ball from each other, but support the player who has it, who in turn passes it to a team mate whenever a pass is called for by the common purpose of the team. In a Socratic classroom, the opposing team “is” the difficulties all people face, as they search for the truth. It does not matter whose mouth gets used in overcoming this ‘antagonist’, provided that all are attending carefully and interrupting with questions when they do not understand.

Teacher Focus – Create Meaningful Conversations by Asking:…questions that are pure curiosity – whimsical questions that introduce a new perspective – Difference questions – Questions that prompt positive memories – questions that address personal needs – questions that invite others to participate…READ MORE

For your Toolbox – In Order To Learn Well, Our Children Need To Feel Safe and Wanted: Children can learn only when this bottom line condition of feeling welcome and appreciated is met. At school, they need to know that their teachers like them and think they’re special. They need to know that they won’t be bullied or made fun of on the playground or in the hallways. They need encouragement, high expectations, and a good deal of fun.READ MORE

PT SCHEDULE, WEEK OF FEB 11…
Going forward, please arrive 30 minutes before the start of your day.  For park day, please arrive 15 minutes early. Michelle will offer a briefing on plans and strategies for the day.  Thank you.
Monday – 
ME/BM
Tuesday – RD
Thursday – LS/T&T
Friday – FIELD TRIP
Please contact Trish if you have any concerns about this week’s schedule.  

The Seeds (Core Standards)

We are creating intention around these standards:

READING
Grade 1, 2. Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
Grade 2, 2. Identify the main topic of a multi paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
Kinder, 3. Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text.
a. Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or many of the most frequent sound for each consonant.

WRITING
Grade 2 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.
Grade 1: b. Use end punctuation for sentences.

SPEAKING AND LISTENING STANDARDS
CCLS Grade 1 4.a Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or a phrase.
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
a. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).

ARTS: Music
Listen to, Analyze, and Describe Music
1.2 Identify and describe basic elements in music (e.g., high/low, fast/slow, loud/soft, beat).

Derive Meaning
4.1 Create movements that correspond to specific music.

SCIENCE
Earth Sciences
3.  Weather can be observed, measured, and described. As a basis for understanding this concept: a. Students know how to use simple tools (e.g., thermometer, wind vane) to measure weather conditions and record changes from day to day and across the seasons. b. Students know that the weather changes from day to day but that trends in temperature or of rain (or snow) tend to be predictable during a season.
c. Students know the sun warms the land, air, and water.
Physical Sciences
1.  Materials come in different forms (states), including solids, liquids, and gases. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know solids, liquids, and gases have different properties.
b. Students know the properties of substances can change when the substances are mixed, cooled, or heated.

HISTORY
Grade 1: 4.Describe how location, weather, and physical environment affect the way people live, including the effects on their food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and recreation

MATH
Number and Operations in Base Ten 
K.NBT Work with numbers 11–19 to gain foundations for place value.
1. Compose and decompose numbers from 11 to 19 into ten ones and some further ones, e.g., by using objects or drawings, and record each composition or decomposition by a drawing or equation (e.g., 18= 10 + 8); understand that these numbers are composed of ten ones and one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, or nine.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts time (e.g., morning, afternoon, evening, today,yesterday, tomorrow, week, year) and tools that measure time (e.g., clock, calendar). (CAStandard MG 1.2)
1. Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as abovebelowbesidein front ofbehind, and next to.

Work with addition and subtraction equations.
7. Understand the meaning of the equal sign, and determine if equations involving addition and
subtraction are true or false. For example, which of the following equations are true and which are
false? 6 = 6, 7 = 8 – 1, 5 + 2 = 2 + 5, 4 + 1 = 5 + 2.

FEATURED WORKSHOP: Echo Parenting Class
with Renee Dokmanovich

Renee will be teaching the 6-week Echo Parenting Class beginning in March, at TKG.  TKG families will have first priority to enroll.  Stay tuned for details.

From the TKG Office:

  • February Tuition is past due!
  • February Board Meeting, scheduled for Monday February 11th at 7pm.  Guests are welcome between 7 and 8.
  • School Holiday!  There will be no school on February 18th, in honor of President’s Day.
  • Saturday ClassTime will be on March 16th (no longer on the 9th), 9 to noon.  We will welcome prospective students to a classroom day.
Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email t.valdez@knowinggarden.org.
Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.”
― Richard Wright, Native Son
Resource Of The Week
Visit The Opal School in Portland
Michelle and Lena have so much to share with us!

Opal School of the Portland Children’s Museum is a private preschool (ages 3-6) and public charter elementary school (grades K-5).  Opal School serves as a resource for teacher-research by supporting and provoking fresh thinking about learning environments that inspire playful inquiry, creativity, imagination and the wonder of learning in children and adults.

The mission of Opal School is to strengthen public education by provoking fresh ideas concerning environments where creativity, imagination and the wonder of learning thrive. Stay connected to the Opal School Community by subscribing to the Opal School Blog.

This video was created for the Welcome to Interactivity 2012, the annual convention of the Association for Children’s Museums.  WATCH HERE!

The Opal School in Portland