Yellow Cluster (Grades 3-4)

Welcome to (Yellow Cluster) from Denise Benjamin and Lauren Hail

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In Yellow Cluster (grades 3-4, ages 8-10), the theme is We All Create: Designing Structures Helps Us to Make Sense of Our World. The Yellow Cluster Curriculum is design-based, with the main focus being planning, designing, and building a small-scale model city set 100 years in the future and based on the area around the school.

The classroom structure reflects that of a city, with a mayor, assistant mayor and other class officers, four neighborhood teams and six commission groups. Each commission becomes expert at one aspect of city planning, i.e., Human Resources, or Building and Safety and plans what needs to be built to fulfill their responsibilities. Each neighborhood team designs and builds one fourth of the model city, with each student renting their own parcel of land and placing his/her buildings on it. Students earn a salary from their commission jobs and then pay monthly rent on their piece of land. We hold Town Hall meetings during which the students decide what they want and don’t want in their city and resolve issues and problems.

Our building experiences begin with the designing and building of object costumes. Students learn about scale, measurement, geometry, structure, and building techniques as they enlarge a small object to a child-sized costume.  They then wear their costumes in a musical revue that shares information about some of the history learned that year.  Once they have learned how to build big, they can apply what they have learned to building small - our city.

The state curriculum standards are integrated within our classroom projects to support, clarify and deepen the context for retention and future application of skills and concepts.  The science topics connect in multiple ways to the students’ city experiences.  Students also use a variety of technology applications to document, enrich, and extend their curricular experiences. 

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Weekly Update - May 2, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on May 2 (last updated May 2)

Schedule Info:

Mondays:  Remember that Mondays are shorter than the rest of the week.  So Monday’s AM cohorts still arrive at 8:15, but get picked up at 10:45.  The PM cohorts then arrive at 11:45 and get picked up at 2:15.  

Weekly Update - April 25, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Apr 25 (last updated Apr 25)

Bear with us, as we all get adjusted to our new schedule and routines, we have quite a bit of information to share.

Mondays:  Remember that Mondays are shorter than the rest of the week.  So Monday’s AM cohorts still arrive at 8:15, but get picked up at 10:45.  The PM cohorts then arrive at 11:45 and get picked up at 2:15.  

Weekly Update April 16, 2020 - a little early! (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Apr 16 (last updated Apr 16)

We’re sending this one early so that everyone has time to look over the schedule, talk it over with their kids, and email us any questions they might have.  


9:00 Regular School Assembly

9:20 - 9:55 (or whenever the assembly is done): Yellow Cluster zoom to share Monday work plan and play Dragons in a Bag Baamboozle

10:00 on - asynchronous work - we are posting a list in the google classroom zoom to tell the students what we are expecting them to accomplish during their work time on Monday.


Weekly Update - April 4, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Apr 4 (last updated Apr 4)

We are going to have a pickup on Friday, April 9th from 3 - 4 so that everyone can get their One School, One Book book, along with some things that are needed for the activities we will be doing with the book.  The reveal for what book we will be reading will be started at the Monday assembly on April 5th and will conclude during our morning meeting that day, so we hope everyone comes to the assembly!  If you can’t make it to the pickup, please let us know so that we can have your child’s materials waiting in the office for when you can get there.  We will begin reading on April 12, so the

Weekly Update - March 21, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 21 (last updated Mar 21)

Thank you, everyone, for another round of wonderful conferences.  We enjoyed seeing everyone and sharing your child’s growth and next steps.

Weekly Update - March 7, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 7 (last updated Mar 7)

Monday Schedule Change:  Once again we will be changing our schedule this Monday, 3/8.  We have a virtual field trip visit from the Natural History Museum from 10 -11.  Students will sign in to the regular Monday Morning Assembly zoom at 9 and then the Yellow Cluster zoom right after that.  At 10 we sign in to a zoom provided by the Museum.  The link and password are on Schoology and will be posted in our Google Classroom stream.  Please remind your child that his/her zoom name needs to just be his/her first name for this special zoom.

Then we will do the following:

Weekly Update - February 15, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Feb 15 (last updated Feb 15)

If your child hasn’t already checked his / her school email, please remind him/her to do so, as we have sent everyone a personalized valentine and we want to be sure it is received.  The email is also where notifications about comments made on work in google classroom are, so it is a good idea to help your child get in the habit of checking it regularly. 

Weekly Update - January 24, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Jan 24 (last updated Jan 24)

We wanted to start off by reminding you of our parent meetings this week and next.  On Wednesday, January 27th we will meet our third grade families from 3 - 3:30 and the next Wednesday, February 3rd, we will meet our fourth grade families from 3 - 3:30.  As a school staff, we got together and looked at the state standards and identified the three at each grade level that we felt were most important to master in order to build the best foundations for the next year.  We want to share these with you, along with strategies for how you can help support your child in attaining these skills.

Weekly Update - January 17, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Jan 17 (last updated Jan 17)

Just a reminder that there is no school tomorrow, Monday the 18th, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Welcome Back - January 8, 2021 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Jan 8 (last updated Jan 8)

Hello everyone!

We hope you had a peaceful and relaxing holiday season and were able to make some special family memories together, despite all of the challenges.  We wanted to give you some information a little sooner than our usual Sunday this week.

Weekly Update - Dec. 13, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Dec 13 (last updated Dec 13)

As we move towards Winter Break, we want to thank you again for partnering with us in our students’ learning journey this year.  We couldn’t do it without you and we are so grateful for all you do!

Weekly Update - Dec. 6, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Dec 6 (last updated Dec 6)

Our next pickup / drop off will be this Friday, Dec.

Weekly Update - Nov. 29, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Nov 29 (last updated Nov 29)

Just a reminder about our schedule changes, for Monday, and for Thursdays starting this week.

Weekly Update - November 15, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Nov 15 (last updated Nov 15)

Thank you so much to everyone who brought us soup on Friday!  What a lovely and unexpected treat.  We are so grateful to be part of such a generous and caring community.  And Ms. Denise loved all of the cards for her birthday, too.  Our students continue to bring us such joy.  Thank you for sharing your children with us.

Weekly Update - Nov. 1, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Nov 1 (last updated Nov 1)

It was so wonderful to see so many people, costumed and not, on Friday.  We really enjoy our pickup times and look forward to getting to interact with our students in person, even if it is briefly.  Our next pickup will be Friday, November 13th.  The main purpose of that pickup will be to give you your child’s progress report, though we will also have some materials to pick up and books to check out.  Please let us know if you will not be able to make it that day so that we can arrange another way for you to get your child’s report card.

Weekly Update - Oct. 25, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Oct 25 (last updated Oct 25)

Our costumed pick up / drop off is this Friday from 2:30 - 3:30.  Costumes are not required, but we thought it would be a fun way to celebrate Halloween being the next day, especially as trick or treating is so limited this year.  We’re going to set it up a little like they are trick-or-treating, and have them come to different stations around the parking lot to get different things.  If your child doesn’t want to get out of the car or participate, then we will bring things to the car instead.  If you are donating treats for the pickup, please have them in the office by Tuesday so that ther

Weekly Update - October 11, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Oct 11 (last updated Oct 11)

This Wednesday we are having a parent meeting that we hope you can attend.  We’re planning on talking about our approach to evaluation and grading, the computation packets given out at the last pickup, as well as answering any other questions you may have.  The meeting will be from 3 - 3:30 and it will use the old Yellow Cluster whole class zoom link (that’s the one we will use for all parent meetings and other non-school gatherings, unless we say otherwise.)  If you have questions or topics you would like us to address, please email them to us.

Weekly Update - Oct. 4, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Oct 4 (last updated Oct 4)

It was wonderful to see so many of you at our pickup on Friday!  (And Bingo was fun, too!)  Here’s some info about what was in the bag and when your child is going to need it.

Weekly Update - September 28, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Sep 28 (last updated Sep 28)

Our next drop off / pick up of books and materials is going to be this Friday, October 2nd from 2:30 - 3:30.  Please put the guided writing activity that the students will be doing on Tuesday, as well as any books that were borrowed that have been read already, in the bag to give us.  Please let us know if you can’t make it and we will arrange an alternative pick up or delivery by a parent volunteer.  We will be passing out the following:

Weekly update - September 20, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Sep 20 (last updated Sep 20)

IMPORTANTOn Thursday, we will be changing our zoom codes and only making the links available through Schoology.   We have been told that our zoom links need to only be available in Schoology for the safety of our students.  We will be talking to them about this and showing them what they need to do to use the links this week before we make the change.  Having zoom links readily available opens up the possibility of zoom bombing, and having the students log in from behind the protective wall of Schoology adds an additional layer of protection.  We

Weekly News - September 13, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Sep 13 (last updated Sep 13)

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to pick up materials and books on Friday.  If you weren’t able to make it, your child’s bag is sitting in the main office and you can come get it whenever you can.  Please bring the bag we gave you before, but empty, to trade for the full one so we have a bag for your child for the next pickup.

A couple of things about the stuff in the bag:

Monday, Sept. 7 update (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Sep 7 (last updated Sep 7)

Hi everyone,

Here are some highlights about what is happening in this coming week.  This isn’t a complete list of activities or assignments, though, just things we wanted to highlight.

Student Council election applications / speeches are due on Tuesday.  The election will be Thursday morning.  The application was posted in our google stream.

Reading: We’re continuing to look at stories about people’s names and thinking about various elements of the stories.  This will move into us doing research and some writing about our own names.

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