City Building Info - please read

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.

While we know that each of us doing this at home, separately, can only replicate a very small part of the city building experience, which at its heart is communal and interactive, we are going to try and make it as much of a community event as we possibly can.  We are keeping as many of the elements of the process as we can, and adapting others to fit these circumstances.  The more your child participates in all of the aspects of this city building process, the richer of an experience it will be for him/her and for all of us, so please support and encourage your child to do everything he/she can.

We will be focusing much of the learning that is happening over the next few weeks around aspects of a city - water, power, parks, garbage, architecture, structures, things like that.  We will be trying to connect all of this as much as possible with the students’ thinking about our model city and what they want to build and how it might work.  The city is set 100 years in the future so that the students can think and dream and create something that maintains the things we all love and appreciate about cities now and improves on the things we don’t like.  

We will be using online sites like padlet and flipgrid for the students to share their thinking and interact with others’ thinking as well.  This will help us have the community discussions that are so important to our city building process.  You do not need to create accounts, or log in, to use either of these platforms.  They will be given a link or a code to access the ones we have already created.  

Each student will be building their own part of the city, just as they usually do, but they will be building it at home and sharing it with everyone via videos.  Over the next couple of weeks we will be brainstorming what buildings we want to build in our city and each student will be signing up for what he/she wants to build as a part of that.  They will then have to create an exact scale grid map of what their parcel of land, with all of their buildings, will look like.  Then we will teach a lesson on how to complete building permits, then how to build to match the scale of the map, then how to cover your buildings with paper.  Students will set up their buildings exactly as shown on their map and create a video sharing their parcel.  (All of this will be explained in much more detail as we get to each step.)

We will be creating city building envelopes with a large sheet of grid paper, 5 building permits, and some decorative paper for each student.  We will be asking you to pick up those envelopes from the school parking lot (more on that later) so that your child has access to those materials.  Please keep saving small cardboard boxes (granola bars, macaroni and cheese, crackers, etc) so your child has materials to build with.

While building the buildings is important, the students will tell you that covering them with paper is really what makes them special and come to life.  While we will be putting decorative papers in the envelopes, it’s likely that there will not be enough to cover all of the buildings, or that it won’t be really what someone wants.  So we will also be providing pdfs of black and white decorative papers that you can download and your child can color and use to cover his/her buildings.  Any colored paper you have at home will also work, as will white paper that your child decorates any way he/she wants.  

For those of you that are interested, we have also created an Amazon list of the building papers we use.  Please know purchasing paper is absolutely not required.  We just want to offer the option for those who are interested because we know how much the students love to choose their papers. 

Amazon link:  https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/39DDHUXOK75VY?ref_=wl_share

It’s a public list, and its name is Yellow Cluster Building Paper, so you can find it that way, also.  Be sure to do what you need to do to have the paper shipped to your address and not to Denise’s. 

(Please look carefully before purchasing.  We just created a whole collection that includes much of what we have in the classroom supply.  Some of it may be unavailable, some of it may be overpriced, and some of it may have large shipping fees.    Some is regular paper sized, some is bigger, and some is 6 inch origami paper.  Some of it is also available elsewhere.  We just wanted to put it all in one place to try and make it easier for everyone and for us to continue to use in the future.)

Thank you,

Denise and Lauren

Expiration Date: 
Jul 31