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?

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

 

TKG LISTEN: Sugata Mitra-Build a School in the Cloud

“Schools as we know them are obsolete.”

That’s the bold assertion of Sugata Mitra, who has been spending many years exploring how young people teach themselves (and each other) without a “teacher” and whose focus is on “What is going to be the future of learning?”

Mitra begins his talk by looking at where the kind of learning we currently do in schools came from. His answer: the British Empire.

He outlines how the Victorians very successfully created a global computer out of people: “It’s called the bureaucratic administrative machine. In order to have that machine running, you need to have lots and lots of people. They made another machine to produce those people. It’s called ‘the school.’ The schools would produce the people who would then become parts of bureaucratic administrative machine.”

Mitra says that we are “continuously producing identical people for a machine that no longer exists.”

WATCH HERE…

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 35

The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

9 June 2012
Week 35: Highlights & Important Information
Discoveries at TKG
“Look beyond methods, though, and consider goals. What’s the point of educating students in the first place?…we have reason to worry when schooling is discussed primarily in the context of “global competitiveness” rather than in terms of what children need or what contributes to a democratic culture — and, indeed, when the children themselves are seen mostly as future workers who will someday do their part to increase the profitability of their employers.”

- Alfie Kohn

This week was all about…

Reading
• Library Time: We’ve been revisiting some of our favorite books. Yoko, Stop That Pickle, The Little House, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, Flying and more poems from Where The Sidewalk Ends. We also read I Like and continued with our own likes.

• Choice: The meeting leader chooses the book to be read, if others wanted another book we discussed and made sure all books were read.

Writing
• Scooter City: Student used their fine motor skills and space awareness to create their city.

• Mouth School: I am currently attending student led “mouth school” where I learn if I’m saying a word correctly or not. Some students write words for me to read, others create boxes and either check it or x depending on my response. Their journals are quickly filling up!

• Clay and Lego building: both help strengthen our fine motor skills

• Map Making: students collaborated on a map, including a checklist

Math
• Math Workshop: Early in the week students omitted math workshop from their schedules, but Thursday we briefly did some shape building.

• Student Lesson: Build a shape ship that you can fit in. We measured ourselves and skip counted by 10s. We followed each step until we saw the measuring tape retract. Then we experimented with it! They wrapped it around items to see if they could move the items. They began planning ways to use it as a tool to make their lego kitties fly. The rest of the day was spent building gliders, testing up and down steps, making longer wings, etc.

Science/Environmental
• Farms: We continued to add more animals to our farm. Students also explored dry clay; how it feels, does it crumble, what if you smash it? A student added a tractor to our farm. I brought in some sheep wool and we briefly explored.

•Ride-On Day: We picked “hay” from the church planters and used it for our Berry Farms.  We discussed  animals that eat hay and others who do not eat hay.  We gathered it and planned to take some back to our farm.

Social Studies/History
• Scooter City: Students, teacher, and parent volunteer collaborated and created a city. Many of our paths and buildings were still visible from last week. We added an airport, shoe store, grocery store, repair station, gas station, stop lights, and each drew our own “Berry Farm.”

• Map making: While some students went on a hike, other buried treasures and made a map so those returning can find the hidden items.

Emotional Intelligence
• Personal Schedules: While we are working on autonomy, we have also been coming together as a group more often and flowing through our day as a whole while still expressing different ideas. Students have been using the Cozy Corner or hallway when seeking a quieter space.

• Leading Meeting

• Responsibility: Cleaning up crayons after schedule is made, snack pack up, eating at snack table, checking in with the teacher, etc.

Physical Development
• Park Day & Outside time: hikes, climbing, map making and treasure hunting

• Ride-On Plan: a blend of gross motor skills and fine motor skills, safety concepts, problem solving, and cross-curricular goodness!

Social Development
• Taking Turns: Some students have been thinking about animal check-out: the challenge in switching up the routine, trying new things and trust.  Some have been working on what ownership means and establishing boundaries for “finding” and borrowing.

• Sharing Ideas: clay animal creations, math workshop, Scooter City

• Divergent Thinking: looking at things differently, making different versions

•Perserverance: supporting each other on sticking with a task…even when it is long or difficult.  At Park Day we had a lost crayon that required extra attention to find.

Mindfulness/Self-Awareness
• Personal Space: Observation of spatial relation to other students, safe distance for ride on plan.

• Yoga: meditation, breathing, stretching (I’m trying to implement more often; we are full of energy most of the time so this can be challenging for some.)

• Physical Needs: Moving outdoors to release physical energy

Creative Arts
• Crafts: Student led lesson on painting shirts and fabric. Drawing farm features. Clay.
• Music: Nick Young visited our class for a music lesson. We danced and moved to music, acted out songs, and played instruments.

Overheard in our Classroom/Play Yard:
In response to a page in the book Flying I asked what students do in the car so you don’t get bored? Watch a movie, play video games, read, annoy my mom! How do you do that? Say “are we there yet” over and over again. Repeat the same thing. Keep tapping her shoulder. I think they could have gone on forever!

I wonder what this (plastic) knife is for. Maybe it’s for what’s in here. A hot dog! I get to put on my own catsup!

I’m saving up for fishes. Four regular and four cleaner fish so I never have to clean the tank.

S1: What’s that? An earthquake. (students look out the window for clues) S2: I guess you are right. S1: Yeah, but we are so far away so we can only hear it and not see it.

Things to reflect on over the weekend- in preparation for next week:
• Monday park day: Which trails do you want to take? Rope swing? Meeting tree? A new way?!

• Thursday: pajama day! A student mentioned this idea; we discussed and picked “the last day before the last day” for this plan. Your child is welcome to wear their pjs (still non-branded please) and bring in any blankets, pillows, animals, etc.

• Friday (whole week prep): It’s carnival/party time! For our last day students would like to have a carnival in our classroom. All family members are invited. We will be working on invitations, tickets, rides, food booths (making ice cream) and so much more this week. Your child is welcome to begin making items at home as well as bring in any items they may need for their plan.

• Tours and visitors: We will be having guests in our room most of the week.

• TKG memories: anything your child may want to revisit in our last week!

• Minimizing branded toys, items during school time

• Working on going outdoors or play area when physical energy is bubbling up

For your reference, below is our key to planning lessons and scaffolding emergent plans:

  • CONSTRUCTIVISM(expanding existing knowledge)
  • WHOLE CHILD (emotional/cognitive/social/physical)
  • BRAIN FUNCTION & DEVELOPMENT (developmental readiness and willingness)
  • CAPACITY BUILDING (critical thinking, skills for the global marketplace)
  • CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING (learning from one another)

If you have any questions, please reach us as follows:

CLASSROOM/CURRICULUM/PARK DAY – Michelle Goldbach-Johnson
PARENT VOLUNTEER/JOBS/FIELD TRIP – MJ Garcia
ADMINISTRATIVE – Trish Valdez

Growth: News, Needs and Important Info

PARK DAY – JUNE 11th

We will meet at the Trail this coming Monday, our last of the year.  See you at 9am!

Please contact Michelle with any questions.

LAST DAY OF SCHOOL

Our students are creating a Carnival.  All families are invited.

RIDE ON PLANS…

We are planning a Carnival Day on Friday (all families are welcome to join us) but Ride On agreement shall be honored for any students wanting to bring their ride on.  Don’t forget: scooters, helmets, sunscreen and sturdy shoes.

Please contact Michelle with any questions.

SUNBLOCK

As Summer sun is peeking out sooner in the day…please lather up before school begins.

PARENT WORK-DAYS

We need your help on Wednesday 6/13 (4pm) or Saturday 6/16 for pack and clean up days.  Please do not plan to bring students or siblings.

Please contact Trish with any questions. more TKG pictures are available at our Flickr Stream!

 

We look forward to seeing you! Our end of year celebration will be this Friday starting at 4pm.  Please come at your convenience.  Thank you.  Please contact Trish with any questions.

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Work Days coming Up: Please sign up for one (if you haven’t yet)- Wednesday June 13 and Saturday June 16.  Email Trish to confirm your work day.
  • Sign Up for Summer Play dates!
  • First Month’s tuition is due on Jun 29th.
  • Mark on your Calendars! Family/Book Garage Sale has been scheduled for June 30th.  Sorting party will be on Friday June 29th.  More details to follow, please contact Seth Kaufman with questions.
  • Don’t forget to sign up for FARM FRESH TO YOU and enjoy fresh Summer produce!  Sign Up here.

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email t.valdez(at)knowinggarden(dot)org.

 

Don’t forget to shop our Amazon.com store for great deals!  A small fee is raised for each purchase.

We love our Parent Volunteers!

Tips for the Classroom:

  • Meeting: goal is to meet within the first hour of class and after clean up.  Attendance is requested.
  • Schedule: Students are crafting their own schedules.  Support them by checking in on their plans and progress.
  • Bathrooms: Sink or Sanitizer!  Please do not use the bathroom if children are present.
  • Body Check In: Bathroom anyone?  Snack anyone?
  • Snack Table/Restaurant: In keeping floors clean, we have a snack table and gathering place. Volunteers, please feel free to bring a snack to share with all of the students.
  • Outside Time: Always available, please check in with Michelle.  We encourgage students to release energy when they want or need.
  • Agreements: Please become familiar with the agreements.  Safety and freedom are priorities.
Thank you for sharing your time with us.  Our parent volunteers for the coming week:MONDAY – MJ Garcia
THURSDAY – Trish Valdez
FRIDAY- MJ Garcia
Resource Of The Week:NEW YORK TIMES: MAKING EDUCATION BRAIN SCIENCE

“Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, a neuropsychiatrist and co-author of the parenting guide “The Whole-Brain Child,”…said there were three others R’s (in addition to the ’3Rs’): reflection, relationships and resilience — and schools should teach those, too.

Kids who learn social and emotional skills do better academically,” Dr. Siegel said. “They are happier, and their emotions are more rewarding.”

Read More…

FROM UNDER OUR BIG TREE: Week 21

The Knowing Garden

From under our big tree…

19 February 2012
Twitter Facebook

Week 21: Kitty Builders

Discoveries at TKG
Happy President’s Day!

Park day was full or sprinkles and sunshine.  We spent time in the tree house, exploring the pond, thinking about what makes the water look green, watching ducks, crows, hummingbirds, and others we couldn’t identify.  We counted and spelled names along with the word ‘and’ with each push of the swing.  Our afternoon was spent journal writing, and experimenting with sticks in the waterfall.  When a stick got stuck we used teamwork to solve the problem.  We even inspired another child to test their own collected sticks.  (I’m happy her mother encouraged it.  I often overhear “no, you’ll get wet, hurt, or dirty” on park days from  non TKGers). Thanks MJ for supporting us on yet another beautiful park day and embracing our Gardeners in getting wet and dirty.

Throughout the week we compiled a camping supply list, built campgrounds, discussed animals that lived where we are camping, and touched on manmade habitats.  Thursday students were in the mood for giving.  Their kittens made presents and delivered them to each other.  Each gift was personal to the student receiving.  Greenie even received a twin and broccoli flavored candy among other gifts.  And the (Lego) wrappers and boxes were all recycled!

We continue to work on our clean up procedure.  Students have been excited about checking out materials and we are working on keeping it to the bag minimum.  We have been discussing ways to minimize what needs to be cleaned up.  “Keeping kitty workshop items in their box when other plans are out” was added to our agreements list.  Often the boxes are dumped out, but this way has proven helpful.  It is an ongoing process and students have been coming up with some great ideas on making clean up, check out, and going home smoother.  Thursday was our best clean up/check out day yet.  Spontaneously, “The Claw” came out.  It didn’t know what belonged where.  It often needed to be readjusted at my elbow, guided, and even frozen to allow more time.  Students worked together in getting to items before I did, as well as transporting boxes as a team.  We had a blast playing while transitioning.

I’ve begun meeting with students for conferences this week.  We’ve discussed everything from wanting students to not be sick to personal goals and feeling about our classroom.  I truly valued these meetings and think every school should have teacher student meetings.  In fact, our plans next week came directly from a student!  We both were so energized and excited about it we wished it wasn’t the weekend, let alone a three day weekend.

Our field trip to the Western Museum of Flight was a great success!  We “rode” in the fighter plane, saw a replica of the moon lander, learned about flight suits, studied in the library, examined an actual blast from a fighter’s ammunition and launched planes of our own.  We even got to eat our snack under a plane on the tarmac!

Next week our kittens (beginning Tuesday) will be building their own amusement park.  We will collaborate, plan by making lists and blueprints, compiling supplies, and building and testing our rides along the way.  I’m imagining what fun the kittens will have!  From the rides to the concession stands and kitty money being exchanged for tickets and food, the possibilities are endless.

Because Monday is a holiday, we will begin in the classroom on Tuesday.

Happy Learning,
Michelle Goldbach-Johnson

p.s. Check out even more photos on Flickr!

Growth: Themes & Plans

Week 21 will focus on the following developmental concepts:

Social

Collaborate and cooperate with each other on building an amusement park (capacity building)

alternative approaches to solving problems (co-operative learning)

Cognitive

Planning, drawing, and building an amusement park (divergent thinking, engineering, creativity)

Label rides, games, concessions, and other features (language arts: phonemic awareness, writing skills)

Determine prices of rides and other goods (math: number sense)

Use tools, resources, gravity, force, etc. to power rides (science)

Create safety rules for park (health and well-being)

Plan, describe, produce a show or parade (performing arts)

Emotional

Gain confidence in trial and error (confidence building)

Develop perseverance to complete a project

Physical

Building (fine motor skills)

 

Next Parent Meeting is scheduled for March 27th.  Guest speaker tbc.  Next TKG Field Trip is scheduled for March 30th.  Details coming soon!

Garden Maintenance:

Friendly reminders from the TKG Office:

  • Please collect childrens, best-sellers, and cooking/gardening books for our upcoming Book Sale.  Possilbe dates: Mar 17 or 24th tbc.
  • 25% Fundraiser contribution can be paid in advance of end of school year
  • Don’t forget to sign-in and check out Parent Binder each morning at drop off.
  • Tuition is due on March 1st.

Thank you Families!  Admin Questions, please email t.valdez(at)knowinggarden(dot)org.

 

March Board Meeting will be on Monday March 12th.  All are welcome.

We love our Parent Volunteers!

TV will be our parent volunteer this week.  If you have some time, please check in with Michelle for any take-home projects.

 

No park day this week (no school on Monday).  See you at 321Blastoff on Tuesday!

Resource Of The Week:

Tell, Play, Pretend, Try, Read, Listen, Ask, Show, Take Time, Trust, Delight, Let Go, Give…
100 Ways to be Kind to your Child

Read More…