Silver Cluster (Grades 1-2)

Welcome to (Silver Cluster) from Tina Wada and Kim Min

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Silver Cluster’s theme is: Caterpillars to Calendar: Discovering the Patterns and Cycles in the World Around Us. In Silver Cluster we spend the year examining the various cycles and patterns that take place in the world around us, here at our very own Open School, as well as from a more global perspective. Children engage in projects and activities based on integrated thematic units. Using the traditional calendar and the holidays and events that occur during the year, we create celebrations and explore traditions from American culture. The children experience the cycles of time as they celebrate the events and changes that occur throughout the year, both today and long ago. They learn about and compare celebrations, life in different countries and different cultures in our community. The focus on the patterns and cycles that exist in the world around us make learning a much more personal, rich, and meaningful experience for each child.

Cycles of time will also be explored as children learn about animal and plant life, and the cycles in which they naturally undergo. We take a very detailed look at the birds, mammals, insects, invertebrates, rodents, and the occasional reptile that share the wonderful Open School campus with us. Furthermore, we become experts on the trees and plants of the Open School habitat. Since all of the ecosystems of California are represented in the plantings between the buildings, the children are exposed to a large variety of plants and animals native to California. Children then share their knowledge and expertise through the creation of a student authored Open School Field Guide. Through this guide, the children’s natural curiosity guides the formulation of questions, which are then researched and published by the students. The field guide serves as a culminating project as well as an assessment tool, as the students use the research process and on site observation to answer the student generated questions.

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