Sunday, April 14, 2013

Here We Go Again - Our Youngest Learners Begin the Enrichment Cluster Journey!

Friday was an exciting day at Austin Elementary as our youngest learners began their own journey into the world of enrichment clusters.  These kindergarten and first grade learners were full of excitement and wonder as they stepped out into the hallway and made their way to their chosen cluster location where they would join with other children and adults who shared their unique interests.  One of the highlights of the enrichment cluster experience is the idea that the passions and interests of the learners determine the topics to be explored.  Please click on the link below to see the clusters that these young learners had to choose from.

A unique aspect of this particular round of enrichment clusters is the involvement of our fifth grade learners as Facilitator Assistants.  As we were preparing to launch the K/1 clusters, we recognized the need for an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands in the classroom to help guide these young learners through the cluster experience.  We sent a request for help to our fifth grade learners and were absolutely thrilled by the overwhelming response we received.  Our student leaders were more than ready to answer the call.  In fact, we had so many fifth graders respond to our request, that we were even able to create a list of alternates to be used in the event of an absence of one of our regular assistants.  These fifth graders appeared to be as excited as the little guys as they began their new role on Friday morning, and they did a great job of welcoming their younger school mates into the cluster experience.  Way to be, fifth grade!

Another feature of enrichment clusters that I find incredibly exciting is the opportunity that is created for  our learners to interact and build relationships with parents, friends, and community members in and around the Coppell area.  This week was no exception as we had parent and community volunteers join us from all walks of life.  A former attorney, a make up artist, a newspaper professional, as well as moms, grandmas, and many more joined in the fun as we not only launched our K/1 clusters, but also continued our E-Time journey throughout the building.  These visitors bring depth, authenticity, and real life experiences to our learners as they share the highlights, pitfalls, and lessons learned from their own life journey.  We are so grateful to the many people who have willing given of their time and talents to enrich the lives of our learners!

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