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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Friday 5/8 (Article)

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

Dear Parents,

Update - May 3, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on May 3 (last updated May 3)

Hi everyone,

We posted next week's schedule in Class Dojo, but we wanted to highlight a few important things to be sure everyone saw them.

First of all, both Tuesday and Thursday' zooms are really, really, really important for your child to understand how to build their part of the city.  Please do what you can to make sure they are there.  There will be videos, as well, but the live information and opportunities to ask questions are really valuable.  

Dojo update and picture request (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Apr 14 (last updated Apr 14)

Hi everyone,

Here are some things we have learned about uploading things to Class Dojo that might be helpful.

• If you are working on a computer, Firefox or Chrome are the browsers that work best.  Safari can cause problems.

• If it is an editable pdf that we sent you a link to, you need to first download that pdf to your device and then open it there to do the work on.  Save it, and then upload it back to Class Dojo.

Monday evening 4/13 update (Article)

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

Hi everyone,

First of all, we are so sorry for all of the technological glitches today.  We thought Class Dojo was doing / could do things that apparently it can’t do.  We know it made everyone’s first day back more challenging and stressful than it should have (including ours) and we truly apologize for that.  

So we are busily trying to come up with better solutions.  For now, please just hold on to the paper work that is completed.  We’ll let you know when we make a more workable decision about those.

City Building Info - please read (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Apr 12 (last updated Apr 12)

Hi everyone,

This is a long email, but please read it all the way through.  We wanted to give you an overview of what we are planning to do for our Yellow Cluster city this year so that you could support your child through this process and help us celebrate our year together.  As we go on, we will continue to send more detailed information as well.

April 2, 2020 update and info (Article)

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

Hi everyone!

Report cards were all sealed up yesterday to be mailed.  We included a few extras in there - a printout of your child’s Safari Park story, which was supposed to combine their encounter with the animal they had researched and facts about that animal, a printout of your child’s Class Dojo QR code, in case that is helpful, a copy of your child’s ST Math passwords, and their Lemonade War bookmark.  If you need your child’s ST Math password sooner, let us know and we will email you a pdf of it.


April 1, 2020 update (Article)

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

Hi everyone,

The read aloud for today is the one that was accidentally sent on Monday, so we’re sending it again and the assignment will be posted on Class Dojo.

A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals

Activity: As you are watching, please note every time you expected one thing but the story did something different.  What did the author / illustrator do to make you think one thing and then make it be something else?  How many times did that happen?


Links for Tuesday, 3/31/20 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 31 (last updated Mar 31)

Here’s what Ms. Denise posted today on Class Dojo for Yellow Cluster to work on.

Read aloud: Since we usually do Roots of Respect activities on Tuesday, this book relates to our work with empathy.  We are asking the students to write about the following in their Class Dojo portfolios:

Please write about how the main character and his aunt showed empathy.  Also, if the story was extended a week, and you were in the book, what would you do to show empathy to the store owner in that next week?

The Candy Shop

Update for Monday 3/30 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 30 (last updated Mar 30)

Hi everyone,

Sorry for yet another email, but this has been a crazy morning and we wanted to get you information you might need.

First of all, the Class Dojo site is experiencing outages, so you may not be able to get on.  We have found a couple of mistakes we need to fix in our posts there, but can't log in to fix them.  They're working on it on their end, but until then...

3/30/2020 Links and Updates (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 30 (last updated Mar 30)

Monday, March 30th.  

For now, we are going to be sharing all of our information in these emails as well as Class Dojo.  We are hoping to transition to using mostly Class Dojo for assignments and links after Spring Break, so if you haven’t yet signed up for you and your child’s Class Dojo accounts, please do so as soon as possible.  We know they are experiencing high volume delays right now, so please be patient and keep trying.

March 29th News and Information (Article)

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

Dear Yellow Cluster families,

Thursday, 3/26/20 Update (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 26 (last updated Mar 26)

Hi everyone!

Here are a bunch of new links to new videos.  These are hopefully going to last you for Thursday and Friday, as we are all, per district requirements, spending Friday in virtual professional development activities.  We will still be checking and answering emails, but our response time might be slower if we’re in the middle of a meeting or class.

Link update (Article)

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

Hi everyone,

Here is a new, updated, hopefully working now link to The Scarlet Stockings Spy.  The original one will no longer work.

Sorry about that.  Youtube said the original had processed, but it really hadn't.  


March 24th afternoon videos and upcoming Zoom (Article)

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

Hi everyone!

Here are some more videos for today.

First up is another read aloud set during the Revolutionary War.  This is a book called The Scarlet Stockings Spy and is about how a young girl and her brother helped spy for the Patriots during the war.  It is a bit sad, along with being inspiring, so just be forewarned.

Resource / Activities list (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 23 (last updated Mar 23)

Hi everyone!

We wanted to share some activity resources for you today, as well as resending links to all of the videos that we have made so far.  

Here’s an epic scavenger hunt on a website called Padlet that is sort of like a bulletin board for sticky notes.  It has kids look around their house for certain things each day and then post a picture of what they have found on their own sticky note.  They can also look at what other people have posted.  Because it’s so big, the pictures can take a little while to load.

More videos and audiobook info - March 19, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 19 (last updated Mar 19)

Hi Yellow Cluster!

I’m still working out some technical kinks on making and uploading video lessons, but here is another picture book read aloud for your viewing pleasure:

This is one of my favorites (yes, I do know I have a lot of favorite books!) and has incredible art.  I tried to get the pages close to the camera so you could see them, but sometimes they are a little tilted.  I’ll get it all figured out soon!

Wednesday update (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 18 (last updated Mar 18)

Hi everyone!


Things to do - March 18, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Mar 18 (last updated Mar 18)

Hi everyone!

Here are a few other things you can do / watch today or in the future.

Dav Pilkey sent us this beginning of a Cat Kid comic and challenged everyone to create a comic to finish the story.  I’m expanding that challenge - since it seems like we’ve been dropped into the middle of  a story, I’m challenging you to write and draw both parts of the story - what happened before this and what happens after?  

For our students - March 16, 2020 (Article)

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

Hi Yellow Cluster!

Here’s a couple of things that you might want to do while we don’t get to be in school together:  

Parent information - March 16, 2020 (Article)

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

Hi Parents,

    We hope everyone is doing well and working through the challenges of being home as much as possible.  Our plan is to communicate frequently, both with you and with our students, so please check your email regularly.

Weekly News - March 6, 2020 (Article)

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

March 6, 2020

We still really need adult help with our objects.  We will be working on them on Monday from 10:45 - 12:15 and 1:00 - 2:30.  We also welcome helpers on Tuesday and Wednesday first thing in the morning.  Please come.  We really do need you.

If you haven’t turned in your conference confirmation paper or cluster placement feedback sheet, please do so as soon as possible.  We would like to get the conference schedule firmed up and we have people waiting to see about possible openings.

Weekly News - February 28, 2020 (Article)

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

February 28, 2020

Thank you to everyone who came with us on our field trip yesterday!  The Lego art was really amazing and occasionally thought-provoking and the kids enjoyed being able to see other parts of the Science Center as well and having the extra adults was what made it all possible.

Weekly News - February 21, 2020 (Article)

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

February 21, 2020

Open School Day is Tuesday and we are so excited!  Thank you to everyone who is leading a rotation and / or sending food / helping with the feast!  We are super excited.  Your child won’t need a lunch on Tuesday unless you have a super picky eater and are worried about him/her having enough to eat.  

Weekly News - February 14, 2020 (Article)

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

February 14, 2020

We hope everyone had a happy Valentines Day and enjoys their three-day weekend!

Weekly News - February 7, 2020 (Article)

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

February 7, 2020

Read-A-Thon:  The Read-A-Thon Committee has created yet another wonderful reading experience for our students.  They are absolutely amazing!  Please help support this incredible event by doing the following:

• Encourage your child to read and to honestly log their reading minutes.  And add them up correctly.

Weekly News - January 31, 2020 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Jan 31 (last updated Jan 31)

January 31, 2020

Apologizing in advance - this is going to be a long one!  Please be sure to read the whole thing.  As it was such a busy day, the students did do their goals, but the goals didn’t make it into the kids’ mailboxes.  They will go home on Monday.

Weekly News - January 24, 2020 (Article)

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

January 24, 2020

Thank you so much to everyone who came today to help with the objects.  We really appreciate you!  Now we need another great turn out on Monday.  There are now quite a few kids with cardboard that is ready for cutting, so we would love help with that and with continuing to support kids making their patterns.  Even if you only have 30 minutes in the morning at drop off, we can use you.  We will still need cardboard cut after Monday, too, most likely, so come on by and we’ll give you some to cut!

Weekly News - January 17, 2020 (Article)

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

January 17, 2020

Welcome back!  We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that you will all have a wonderful 2020!  We’re settling back into our school routines here in Yellow and are so happy to all be back together.  The goals went home today without teacher notes, as Lauren wasn't at school today.  Please sign your child's and have him/her return it on Tuesday, when we will be able to read them.

Weekly News - December 13, 2019 (Article)

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

December 13, 2019

Happy Friday the 13th!  We hope everyone’s day was filled with only good luck.

If you were planning on placing a book order, but haven’t yet, we won’t be actually submitting the order until Sunday, so you have until Sunday morning to go online to place your order.  Thank you so much for supporting our book order program!

weekly news - December 6, 2019 (Article)

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

December 6, 2019

Hi everyone,

Thank you to everyone who came and helped out at payday.  We needed you and really, really appreciate you giving the time to help our students!

Weekly News - November , 2019 (Article)

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

November 8, 2019

Class News

We had a super busy day today, so we weren’t able to look at the weekly goals.  We will be sending them home on Tuesday instead.  Please look for them then so you can sign them and your child can turn them in on Friday.

We hope everyone enjoys their three- day weekend.  If you are a veteran, or have family or friends that are veterans, we want to thank you, so very much, for your service to our country.

Weekly News - November 1, 2019 (Article)

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

November 1, 2019

Class News

Weekly News - October 18, 2019 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Oct 18 (last updated Oct 18)

October 18, 2019

Class News

Thank you for a wonderful brunch!  We always feel so spoiled (and appreciative!) on these Fridays.  The rest of the staff asked us to pass on their thanks too!

Weekly News - October 12, 2019 (Article)

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

October 11, 2019

Class News

Weekly News - September 27, 2019 (Article)

Submitted by Yellow Teacher on Sep 27 (last updated Sep 27)

September 27, 2019

Remember that there is no school on Monday, September 30th.  

Weekly News - September 20, 2019 (Article)

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

September 20, 2019

Weekly News - September 13, 2019 (Article)

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

September 13, 2019

Just a reminder that Picture Day is Tuesday.  If you are going to order pictures, please be sure your child has the envelope with money, or already paid, on Tuesday morning.  We’re first, so hopefully that will mean they will all still look wonderful by the time we take our pictures!  We will probably not do our Daily Mile that morning, just to help make sure of that.

Weekly News - September 6, 2019 (Article)

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

August 29, 2019

It was wonderful seeing so many of you at Back to School Night.  If you weren’t able to make it, we hope your child gave you the stack of handouts and two pages to fill out and return.  If not, it was in their mailbox, so please check the yellow folder.

Weekly News - August 29, 2019 (Article)

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

August 29, 2019

We are looking forward to seeing everyone at Back to School Night on Tuesday.  We're excited to share the Yellow Cluster curriculum with you and hopefully answer any questions you have.

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