Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Prepping for Clusters

After a successful implementation of E-Time (see E-Time posts), Austin is ripe and ready to begin digging even deeper with Enrichment Clusters!  Clusters are similar to E-Time in that they are both interest based and student driven.

Liz Malone (GT Facilitator & SEM Coordinator) has been working this week with our 4th grade, 5th grade, and support staff teachers as we prepare to kick-off the first round of Clusters with 4th and 5th grade at the end of October.  Additionally, we will work with our parent volunteers who have graciously agreed to share their passions and lead / co-lead a Cluster!

Here are a few of the things that our educators are discovering about Clusters-

Why are Clusters important?
  • They support kids' interests.
  • They help learners discover new interests.
  • They challenge learners on different levels.
  • Students learn from each other and from experts.
  • Clusters support our Guiding Purpose of unlocking students' passion and cultivating their uniqueness.
  • MANY more reasons!
How are E-Time and Clusters alike?
  • Interest based
  • Student driven
How are Clusters different from E-Time?
  • Clusters are multi-aged (spanning various grade levels).
  • Clusters last for 6 weeks.  This allows for more in-depth discover and exploration.
  • Cluster groups are smaller sizes than E-Time.  By using our support staff and parents to facilitate Clusters, we are able to decrease the group size.
  • Through our Cluster Showcases, our learners are provided with authentic audiences, solve real-world problems, and create a product or service to demonstrate their learning.
What are some characteristics of high quality Clusters?
  • Result in a product/service
  • Provide authentic and advanced learning
  • Strength based
  • Make connections to real world problems/scenarios
  • Teacher facilitated, student driven
  • Authentic methods (students as experts, doing what experts do)
We are so excited for our students to experience this in-depth time of enrichment!  We can't wait to see where our learners' interests and passions might take them!

Check back, and we'll keep you updated on our progress!

Also, you can always keep track of SEM at-

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