Super scientists united today! Of course we had to start our first cluster by making "SS" capes (a.k.a. super scientists)! We also revealed our cluster name to our parents by writing a message in invisible ink (either milk or lemon juice) for them to discover by adding heat. We will have an exciting time exploring other super science powers of our favorite super heroes!
Create and Illustrate
In the Create and Illustrate cluster we decorated our artist smocks to help keep our clothes clean while we explore all things art. We voted on which picture books we would like to recreate. The favorites were How to Catch a Star, Polar Bear’s Underwear, and Growing a Rainbow! We are excited to create our very own masterpieces in the coming weeks!
Yo Yo Yoga
The children of Yo Yo Yoga had a blast during our first cluster. We introduced ourselves and made up unique yoga poses to represent ourselves to the group. We read a very peaceful book called "Mindful Me" and then did a 15 minute yoga video from www.cosmickids.com. The children were able to experience the benefits of mindfulness and yoga firsthand prior to discussing our goals for the cluster. In the end, the children have decided that they would like to create their own book with ideas and pictures about how to self regulate.
Animation Station had an awesome first cluster! After introducing ourselves and getting to know each other a little bit, we watched some videos to learn what stop motion animation is all about. Some second graders visited and showed us a stop motion video they'd created. Finally, using the app Tromaramix students had some time to explore stop motion on their own using various materials. We had a blast!
Our tongues were out and our tails were wagging after our first cluster meeting! We spent some time getting to know each other and why we chose to be in the Pooch-A-Palooza cluster. We discussed different dog breeds and shared which breed we would choose to be and why. It was so fun to hear everyone’s reasoning. We also discussed the difference between Service dogs and Therapy dogs. We even had a visit from a real life Therapy dog, Rusty! Rusty visits sick children at Dell Children’s Hospital and is involved in the Bow Wow Reading Program. He brings a lot of joy to children all over Austin and we were excited to hear more about his days! We are looking forward to learning more about dogs and all of their amazing jobs and behaviors!
We started with an ice-breaker, going around the circle to introduce ourselves and saying our favorite scent. We discussed what we were hoping to get out of out cluster/ideas for our end presentation and what to do with our finished products. Our first bath creation was making potpourri. We looked at the process of drying flowers/fruit and how to make potpourri. We then prepared our flowers to be dried by cutting off blooms and laying them on a tray to dry for our next process.
Science at Play
In our first meeting, we introduced ourselves and then played an exciting guessing game to find out about science activities to come! We talked about what we know about science and students shared stories of science experiments that they enjoyed. We discussed how we can create things to play with by combining different ingredients. We brainstormed possible ideas of items to create and then voted for our favorites. We finished our day by making tie dyed milk!
Barton Creek Ninja Warriors
Barton Creek Ninja Warriors had an awesome time at our first cluster! We started by playing a warm up game that made us work as a team and used some strategy. We then took a look at some of the champions from American Ninja Warrior, and found things in the gym that looked like the real courses on the show. We finished off by going outside to practice our obstacle course skills. We can't wait to start constructing our own Barton Creek Ninja Warrior obstacle courses!
We had a great first day in puzzled! We got to know each other and we got to share why we like doing puzzles. Did you know there are many different types of puzzles? We worked together to untangle our first puzzle of yarn and then we put together different puzzles with different images on them. We look forward to working on all different types of puzzles in the weeks to come!
Wild about Animals
We are WILD about animals! We began our cluster with a funny, but intriguing, video of wild animals. Then we introduced ourselves by talking about our favorite wild animals and the difference between wild animals and pets (or domestic animals). We explored a National Geographic website for kids to use as resource for finding information. To end our first cluster, we brainstormed answers to the question, “What next?” And we are excited to discover new facts about wild animals and to design wild animals to show what we know!
Sing Me a Story
The Kinder and First Grade students were so excited as they entered the music room for our Sing Me a Story cluster. We started off with a song and dance called “Sing Me a Story”. The students were able to be creative and improve a dance to the story line of the music. Next, we began to discuss and share all the wonderful ways in which stories can be represented through rhymes, raps, songs, dancing, acting, instrumentation, operas, movies, and musicals. Throughout the class, the students listened to the stories and had fun participating in various activates to help them develop and create a greater understanding of all the amazing ways to demonstrate stories. In our next session, we will listen to several stories and understand the music and have the opportunity to use puppets to create and enhance our own version of the story line.
Imaginative Puppet Makers
Cluster participants were welcomed to “Pinocchio’s Puppet Pals”. An overview of different types of puppets was presented via a slide show. Next fifteen puppet ideas saved to Pinterest were shown to the students They chose their seven favorites, knowing each week they would be making a different puppet selected from their top choices. Students then discussed what they would like to do with any extra puppets they make. Cluster participants voted on several ideas and decided they would make extra puppets to give to an Austin Hospital or Shelter. We discussed changing the Cluster name and the new title is “Imaginative Puppet Makers”. Next examples of ready-made puppets were shown (e.g. hand puppets, marionettes, finger puppets, shadow puppets, specialty surprise puppets, and marionettes). The “Imaginative Puppet Makers” then explored how to move the puppets the last 15 minutes of time.
Rock Out! had a rocking time during our first cluster meeting. Students examined a variety of rocks with magnifying glasses and examined identified rock and mineral specimens. We followed up our exploration with cutting, folding, and gluing various crystals into their three-dimensional representations. The best part of the cluster was creating our own crystal gardens. Can't wait to see what rocking adventures await our cluster next week.
At our first meeting, our “Pet Palooza” enrichment cluster group discussed which pets we would be interested in learning about and why. Each student drew pictures of the pets they chose and then explained to the group their reasons for their choices. We got to know one another through sharing pet stories and creating an chart listing our expectations. The students are very passionate about pet ownership and look forward to gaining more understanding about the roles and responsibilities. We can’t wait to get started!
We had such a good first meeting on Friday! The kids were so excited to brainstorm ideas for people (and animals) we'd like to help with our crafting. We also enjoyed making friendship bracelets to give to each other. In the upcoming cluster, we will decide on crafts for our causes and get to work!
iPad Blasters and App Masters
We started our cluster by getting to know each other. Then, the students downloaded the Nearpod app and did a live session created by Zane. The Nearpod had questions about why they chose this cluster, apps they want to know about, and ideas for the cluster showcase. Finally, they got to learn about some cool accessibility features like VoiceOver and magnifier. At our next meeting, we will be going over the NearPod results, learn how to create our own NearPods, and decide what to do for the rest of clusters and for the showcase.
Ready, Set, GO!
During our first cluster meeting we quickly discovered that we all have a passion for sports and exercise, we have lots of energy, and we are creative! We discussed ways in which we could utilize these three strengths during our cluster time together. This week we will play games we already know and love, and then discuss ways in which we could modify these games to make up completely new games. We will explore our inner athlete and become inventors in the upcoming weeks!
In the Death-Defying Defenses Cluster, we started out getting to know each other - using lots of movement and repetition as part of a name game that helped us to learn each other’s names while simultaneously becoming more relaxed and comfortable. We then took turns talking about the animal defenses that we already know and then categorizing them. For the 2nd meeting, we’ll talk about what service or product our cluster may want to create and then buddy up to dive into a jungle of books about interesting and unusual animals. Can’t wait!
We had a wonderful time watching, learning and practicing magic tricks during our first cluster meeting. It was fun discussing the student’s reasons for learning magic and hearing what they wanted to learn about regarding magic. We then watched a couple of students perform some magic tricks they learned last year in this cluster. The students had the opportunity to teach other students the tricks they knew and then they all practiced the tricks together. It was a lot of fun and the students were mystified by the tricks and then proud to perform them with their peers. We will be learning tricks every week and working on our smooth magician skills with all willing audiences.
Everything is Awesome
On the first day of “Everything is Awesome”, we discussed what Stop Motion Animation is and where we have seen it. Stop motion animation is the process of capturing one picture at time, with objects that are moved between pictures. When you play back the sequence of images rapidly, it creates the illusion of movement. We downloaded an app called iMotion and students then used Legos, clay and paper to explore the app.
Escape Room Game Design
During our first designer’s meeting, the participants brainstormed ways that they could go searching for a hidden object. They discussed the type of clues they would need, how they could communicate with a team member for help, and how when solving puzzles, there are often steps and “backward thinking” that happens. The designers explored ways to think like a game player and the importance of following a player’s path. Additionally, students were as a team to solve riddles that led them to finding their keys to the room, and then combined their teams and solutions to solve the final puzzle and get a code for the door. To get further ideas for designing their own physical game room, participants used their iPads to explore an online version of an Escape Room. In our first meeting, students were given their own secret keys, notebooks for designer ideas and clues, and expectations for working as a team.
In Yoga Happiness, we discovered that yoga is not only a fun way to relax, but it is also a great way to exercise! We set the mood by using natural light, an oil diffuser, soft music, and deep breathing. We then learned some basic poses and did some sun salutations. The kids are so excited to develop yoga exercise routines for teachers to use to help kids relax, improve concentration, health, confidence, and more!
Our first day in Paint Palooza was filled with lots of fun and creative thinking. We learned about a few artists who use paint and canvases in very creative ways and then did a brainstorming activity about how we would like to think outside the box when creating art. The last few minutes of class we even had time to use thick yarn dipped in paint to make interesting marks on paper! This is the first of many masterpieces to be made in this cluster.
All About Animals
During our 1st session, we discussed all the reasons why everyone chose this cluster. The kids offered their ideas about what they had in mind when they read the All About Animals cluster description & what they wanted our cluster to look like. There were 2 main themes among the ideas. One was to help save shelter animals in the Austin area, & the other was to help save endangered animals in the wild. All the kids agreed that they wanted our cluster to work towards helping animals. The class decided to split into 2 groups, one for shelter animals & one for wild animals.
The wild animals group discussed as a team & decided that they wanted to research the top endangered animal species list & write a book educating people on these animals, why they're endangered, & what we can do to prevent their extinction.
The shelter animals group brainstormed ideas & voted on holding a Dog Beauty Pageant using shelter dogs. They hope that this will encourage audience members to adopt a dog instead of buying one. They'd also like to make homemade dog treats & toys to hand out as prizes to the dog contestants & possibly sell at the pageant to raise money for the shelter.
Next session, the wild animals group will need to begin their research & the shelter animals group will be writing a proposal to send to Mr. Bechtol in hopes of getting approval for the pageant. They will also need to reach out to a local shelter to establish a partnership if Mr. Bechtol approves.
Snack Attack started by naming several snacks we like to eat after school. We discussed the importance of exercise and good nutrition to maintain a healthy body. Making good snack choices is important for all of us. Students discovered a small milkshake at Chick-fil-a or McDonald's can have as much as 762 calories! We discussed other options and soon the room was buzzing with the sound of blenders. Students worked in small groups to make MOCK chocolate and strawberry milkshakes! The milkshakes were made with frozen fruit and strawberries and topped with a small dollop of fresh whipped cream! It was a great way to end the day and Mr. Bechtol said the shake was delicious!
Fourth and fifth graders started clusters last Friday, Sept. 30th! Wow! See all the choices below! Pictures coming soon!!
Do You Dare?
Are you afraid of the dark? Do creepy-crawlers creep you out? Do you think there are monsters under your bed? Come join us on a monster-mystery tour as we explore the fun side of the dark and mysterious....
Joy Drive Leadership Team
Let’s have the biggest and most exciting Joy Drive ever this year!! Come help lead the school in this super fun event that involves everyone, Kinder through 5th grade, in bringing toys and joy to children all over Austin. Come with your fresh ideas and your leadership skills to make those ideas come to life while offering all our Blue Jays a festive, fun, and rewarding experience. You will love it!!
* This cluster is limited to 5th grade children. If you are in 4th, please choose another cluster.
Sculpt it, Create it!
Come explore creating and designing in a 3D world. Find balance, rhythm, and motion in the materials you use. Will you carve, cast, assemble, or model to form your creations? Let's start designing.
Toss out the junk food and start making snack time healthy and fun! Come create kid-friendly snacks that are sure to please the pallet. Sample something new that will help keep you healthy and happy!
ACT 1 – Drama and Theater
Do you love to watch movies? Do you love to use your imagination? Have you thought it would be fun to be an actor? If so, then this cluster is for you! We will discover new ways to use our voices, body language and expression to create a character. You will begin to develop your stage presence and understand basic theater language. You will learn how to project your voice and communicate feelings in a whole new way! Come discover the amazing potential that only you hold!
Bustling hallways, blaring TV sets, and screaming siblings. Don’t we all need a place to get away? A healthy mind and body can be achieved through means other than high-impact sports like football and gymnastics. Join us in an environment that includes music as an inspiration to build mindfulness, energy, and strength! Namaste.
All About Animals
Can you hear that? It's the Call of the Wild! Animals play an important role in earth's ecosystem as well as providing entertainment and joy to humans. Join us as we explore the animal kingdom and learn more about our furry friends. We'll have a beastly good time!
Do you like to read comic books? Do you look forward to the Sunday newspaper just so you can read the comics? Do you like to draw? If this interests you then come and join our Crazy Cartooning group. Create your own comic strip and learn how to draw like a professional cartoonist.
What new sport would you create and/or alter if you were given the opportunity? Do you enjoy making up new games at recess or in your neighborhood with friends? In this cluster, you will understand the basic components that make a game successful and design your ideal sport with your own rules and equipment. The possibilities are endless and your creation could be the next big thing!
Lights! Camera! Action!
Do you dream of starring in your own movie? Or maybe you wish to be behind the camera filming or directing? You will have a chance to do both while also designing scenery and creating props. If you are interested in filming, acting, costuming, or directing this cluster is for you!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel the world playing a sport you love? Pull out your putter and your irons to practice your long shot and your short game. Join us as we discover the professional world of golf. *Golfing equipment will be provided.
Do you enjoy having a scrumptious snack after a long day of school? Do you ever feel like you don’t have the energy or brain power to do your homework at night? If so, Power Cookies is the place for you! In Power Cookies, we will explore what foods give our bodies and brains lasting energy and then disguise them in a cookie that will melt in your mouth! How awesome would it be if something as simple and delicious (like a cookie!) could get you through a long day? Join us in the kitchen of Power Cookie!
Chemistry in a Bag
Do you like to get your hands dirty and explore through a chemist’s eyes? Have you ever thought about how chemistry could fit into a bag? Are you a curious person? If so, come join and discover what it’s all about!
Inventors and Inventions
Have you ever wondered how things work? We are going to explore how some everyday things in our world work and learn about the people who invented them!