Wonder! G4/G5 Week 1 Cluster Summaries

Howdy LME!

We're off and running with our G4/G5 clusters and I wanted to get a quick update to everyone as students move forward.

Cluster experiences provide challenging, real-world learning for all students, organized around major disciplines, interdisciplinary themes, or cross-disciplinary topics.  Clusters are developed based on student-interest survey responses and during the first meeting, the adult-leader of the cluster shifts to a "facilitator" role, giving students the reins to design the course of study/action the cluster pursues on their way to a "showcase," which will be held on December 8th.

The Showcase consists of student-developed products, performances, or the delivery of a service designed for an authentic audience and/or provides a solution to a real/authentic issue.

Please enjoy the summaries for the first week of clusters and let me know if you have questions!

The Global Games

Today we visited ancient Egypt! We started by discovering where Egypt is and reading a little bit about ancient Egyptian times.  We then played a couple of the games that kids played in that time. Next week will continue with a few more Egyptian games, then ask the kids come up with a region and time period for our next set of games.

The Table Is Set

The table is set with functional and delicious edible utensils!  Students measured, stirred, rolled out, cut out, sculpted, and baked edible utensils that we successfully used to eat applesauce!  Students see a great need to use edible utensils in the future so our landfills will not be overwhelmed with plastics and paper goods such as bowls.  Next week a parent will be teaching us how to prepare a dish that can be served on a banana leaf and the proper way to eat with our hands.   Environmentally friendly and delicious!

Think Inside the Box!

We did it!  All teams worked together to solve clues especially the difficult ones that stretched our brains.  We removed all barriers to open the box by applying knowledge we held regarding art and logic. Our growth mindset will be tested each week with new clues.  In the future we will try our skills at math and science before creating our own challenges.  Will you be up for a challenge at the Showcase?

The Flyin' Lions Travel Agency

We had a GREAT first meeting of the Flyin' Lions.  After we discussed what's involved in travelling, we reviewed books, atlases, and online resources to pick a state or country to be our destination.  Students were given the option to work individually or with a partner.  Next, we began to brainstorm what kind of product we'd like to work toward: a video? a special KPAW segment? a brochure? a presentation? maybe something else?  Before we knew it, we were out of time but ready to learn more at our next meeting.

I Can Fix That

We watched a short clip of the show "Big Brain Theory" and discussed how the contestants were given a real-world problem and where challenged to create and innovative way to solve the problem.  Then we tackled our own challenge of creating a vehicle that moved a figure using a renewable or reusable energy.  We finished our time with a survey about how we should assess the needs of our community, LME, and how we can use simple machines to tackle areas of need.

Snitches, Whizbees, Broomsticks and Time Turners

Our cluster is excited to have entered the world of Hogwarts. We decided to have each cluster meeting represent each book of the series. The student would like to be immersed in the culture of the book and create/experience different parts of the Hogwarts/Harry Potter world. During the first cluster we ran through Platform 9 3/4 to enter the train, designed/created wands, and practiced wand movements for different spells.

Being Human Being

First we introduced each other and ate snacks while we watched a short video where daycare students interacted with people living in a nursing home. We discussed how the seniors acted with the children just being there (smiling, helping, talking, telling stories). Then I posed the problem- 43% of seniors in nursing homes suffer from social isolation, loneliness, and depression. They brainstormed ways they could help the problem in a shared Google Slide, and they planned what to do next meeting. Next meeting they want to research homes near us and call to inquire about volunteer opportunities for kids. They also want to make paper poppies for senior veterans.

Don't Play Ball in the House!

Don't Play Ball in the House started with a Teamwork Challenge game for these sixteen students who gathered items provided from a predetermined list.  Four teams were formed and the kids worked together using communication, and exercised their strategic, stealth moves by stealing items from others to be the first to complete the task. 

Jailbreak!!  Dodgeball, an all-time favorite for many, was the next game of choice for the group.  A variety of rules were used during the game to allow for diversification. 

We toured the two large closets in the gym to get a feel for the equipment that's available to us for our cluster.  This allowed everyone to brainstorm about the possibilities for the upcoming weeks.  A few ideas were tossed around for the second meeting, and a game plan has been set.  What a great group of kids to spend time with exploring indoor games. They can all play ball in THIS house.

Games. Games!  GAMES!

The students in the Games! Games! Games! cluster generated a list of specific games and types of games they'd like to play.  We also learned to play a dice game called Snake Eyes and divided into groups to play Spoons, a card game.  Students began developing a calendar for what we'd like to do in the coming weeks. And, we also discussed making and producing a video that would teach other students how to play some of our favorite games. We'll have fun and challenging times to look forward to in the future as we learn, plan, strategize, and problem solve together!

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes!

Today student began exploring creative DIY ideas using cereal boxes and other recycle paper goods.  We went on line, looked at cereal box ideas, brainstormed our own ideas, created a list of possible arts and crafts that we would like to work on, and the best part of all, we started to create are own burro pinata. We will also explore ways to use our arts and crafts to help bring joy to students in schools that were impacted by hurricanes. The ideas are oozing out...just give us the boxes and watch us create!!!

I Dream of Paint

Students in the I Dream of Paint Enrichment Cluster unleashed their imaginations painting with Slinky's!  Bouncing, rolling, tumbling slinky's left and right, up and down.   This rather "messy" painting activity inspired students to appreciate that an "oops" can be Beautiful...."a beautiful oops"!  When you think you've made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something BEAUTIFUL!   Students decided they wanted to add more "color" to LME and the community around them. Seeing beautiful artwork sure does brighten up our lives and keep our spirits high!  How can artwork boost the mood of the students and community of LME?  Stay tuned!

Our Amuse-ing World

Our Amuse-ing World cluster is all about creating a world, destination, or experience that we either know about or can dream up with our imaginations.  We discussed the open-ended nature of our cluster and our interests with building, design, creating, and crafting--both with and without technology.  Then we watched videos and looked at various product types (with different mediums) that could come out of our 8 weeks together, to get our creative juices flowing.  Students got to choose whether to team up or work alone on their projects, and spent collaborative time planning what they would like to build, design, or create as their product or service.  In the upcoming weeks we will work on our projects to give life to our ideas, and we hope to create products that will stimulate our audience's imagination and take them to some really cool, far-out places.  We anticipate possible difficulties with collaborative grouping and also in the design process, so are excited to be able to work through these potential roadblocks to create truly original pieces of work that requires our group and sustained effort, flexibility, and patience... all career readiness standards to prepare us for 21st Century work.  Stay tuned as this cluster takes shape and takes off in the upcoming 7 weeks!

Wide, Wild, World

Wide Wild World artists started making paper mache pumpkins using balloons.   What a WILD WORLD time we had blowing up a balloon, trying to tape string on it as the groves of a pumpkins and then covering it with ooey, gooey, strips of newspaper!  Our creations have been drying all week and will be ready for paint this Friday!  Our destination for our cluster has not be decided on, but wherever we end up, WE know it will be a FUN, WILD adventure getting there!

A Step in Time

In A Step in Time, the day started with Mr. Holmstrom singing a song about the Alamo while showing a slide show that went along with the lyrics.  The idea of the cluster is students select an event from history that they already know about, or one they discover while in the cluster, and then share that knowledge in a product.  We talked about creating songs, plays, slide shows, board games, computer games, movies, and and and.  The kids called out events in history they know about as the teacher served as scribe, with kids sharing information about the different events.  We're not sure where we're going to start, not where we're going to end up, but we're sure we'll have fun learning and sharing.

You Are Giving Me an ART ATTACK!

We had a great time creating art in non-traditional ways! Some students used toilet paper and paper towel tubes to create 3-D art, some used things they found in nature to paint with, rub, or stencil, and some students used Q-tips and cotton balls to create different art.  We chewed gum and stuck it to a huge board to begin creating our gum wall.  It was an awesome week of creativity!


Our ceramics cluster began with two short videos of the Naranjo family in New Mexico mixing clay and making beautiful pottery using the coil technique.  The second video demonstrated how nature and the volcano in Hawaii inspired a ceramic artist making pots on the potter's wheel.  He used the raku firing technique to make fire his pots.

Students learned the pinch pot technique and then began creating using the pinch pot technique.

Take Aim with Archery

We welcomed our students to the cluster, and were excited to know that nearly half of the group has experience shooting either in camp or other adventures.  Each student agreed that "archery is fun and safe."

After doing some upper-body strength and mobility exercises, we watched a video with an Olympian teaching a young boy about the skills necessary to be a successful archer.  We then worked on determining each student's eye-dominance before having them string their own bow.

Next week we will learn the 11-Steps to Archery Success and safety as we begin shooting using recurve bows.

The Future of Food is NOW!

In The Future of Food cluster, students considered some of the challenges we are facing with regard to feeding a growing world population.  We explored current technologies to produce more food with dwindling resources, such as hydroponics, vertical warehouse gardens, and aquaponic systems.  We also considered popular trends in alternative protein sources -- namely insects!  Students happily consumed barbeque flavored, roasted crickets, sour cream and onion meal worms, and cheddar roasted crickets.  In future meetings we will explore hydroponic growing systems.

Let Nature Be Your Guide

Report forthcoming


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