Cluster Classes

Category: Enrichment

What are cluster classes?

Cluster classes consist of small groups of 4th & 5th graders with a teacher or parent leading them in a topic of mutual interest. In past years, classes have included energy science, DJ mixing, leadership skills, computers & robots, podcasts, engineering, sign language, chess, modular origami, genetics, yoga, catapults, juggling, backpacking, raising chickens, and many more!

> Sign up to host a class

The students are ALL the 4th & 5th Graders. The instructors are a combination of Cumberland teachers and volunteers--AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN UPPER GRADE PARENT TO PARTICIPATE.

Cluster classes are typically held the 1st 3 Fridays in May.

Check-in for instructors is from 12:45-1:00. Students then arrive to your assigned classroom or other area on campus. Instruction time is from 1:15-2:30 pm. Instructors can choose to teach the same lesson for several weeks (to different groups of kids), or a multi-week class to one group, or some combination. (One parent has taught a multi-week bike repair course, allowing students to sign up for one or more of
his lessons). Some adults have team taught a single class--maybe switching off weeks.

If you are interested in teaching but can't commit to all three Fridays, please let us know what you can do, and we will work with your schedule. However, once we have confirmed your dates with you, it is extremely difficult for us to make last minute changes.

Picking Your Topic

  • Choose a topic that is interesting to YOU.
  • Students will be more motivated if they see you are enthusiastic about the subject.
  • Send your topic to the Cluster Class organizers...unless there is already a course being offered on this topic, it will likely be approved.
  • Write a short, intriguing description of your course ASAP. (We can help with this!)
  • Keep in mind that our students have a wide range of interests and abilities, so try to help students make educated choices. Course descriptions should clearly state any prerequisites or expectations ("we'll be using a lot of math", "students will be expected to speak in front of the group", "no experience required!", etc...).
  • Need help finding a topic? (Kite Making? Lego Structures? Backgammon? Pottery? Geocaching?) We can help...

Preparing for Your Class

  • Most classes will be held in standard classrooms (with whiteboard, sinks, electricity,...); most have document cameras/projectors. Classes can also be held outside (on the field, blacktop...). Please let us know if you have any preferences on locations, equipment requests,...
  • Classes are generally designed entirely by their instructors, though we encourage passing information along to future instructors or borrowing from past ones.
  • This program runs on a very small budget. 99% of our instructors donate both their time and any materials used in the classes. If you feel you need financial help, please be sure to notify the organizers before March 14th.
  • Some instructors spend part of their class-time with traditional lectures/worksheets/note taking...but in general, the students expect some hands-on activities. Remember that you are dealing with 9 to 11 year olds!
  • All classes must follow the Sunnyvale School District safety regulations. If you are unsure about any aspect of your planned activity, please do not hesitate to ask!
  • If you would like another adult to act as a helper or co-teacher, please inform us asap.
  • To teach a class, you must have a current volunteer form filled out on file in the office as well as a TB test. For more information about volunteer requirements, click here.


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