Sunday, November 4, 2012

Enrichment Clusters: Finding Depth in Authentic Learning

As you know from my previous post, enrichment clusters are up and running here at Austin Elementary.  One of the benefits clusters brings to the learning environment is the depth at which they allow our learners to explore their interests.  During cluster sessions, learners are challenged to use authentic methods and advanced vocabulary as they develop their talents, nurture their creativity, and learn what it means to think, speak, and act as a professional.

In order to incorporate this level of depth into the cluster environment, five primary components must be in place:

1. Clusters are student driven.  They are guided by the interests, passions, and ideas of the learners.

2. Clusters incorporate authentic methods.  Learners are given the opportunity to explore how a real professional with an interest in this area might think, act, and speak.  They are exposed to the "tools of the trade" and are given the opportunity to use these tools in authentic ways.

3.  Clusters expose learners to advanced vocabulary within their area of interest.

4.  Clusters provide an opportunity for students to explore real world applications of their area of interest as they develop a service or product to be shared with the community.

5. Clusters encourage learners to develop pride in their accomplishments as they share their product or service with an authentic audience.

I invite you to come visit us between 8:00 and 9:00 on Friday mornings to see for yourself how the educators and learners at Austin Elementary are making this magic happen!  To arrange a visit, simply contact Liz Malone at 214-496-7335 or by email at

1 comment:

  1. Looks like things are rolling along. Looks fantastic. :)