Strategy #8: Clusters

By: Krysten Beeton

What is a cluster?

Clusters are spider-web like diagrams that are drawn out on paper to help generate ideas based on a central topic. The diagrams start with a topic in the center and have rays drawn out from the topic to connect other words and phrases. Some clusters may also include drawings or having drawings in place of words. Clusters are used to visually express knowledge or ideas and the relationship between them.

Maybe also be known ask: webs, maps, cloud diagrams

There are two different of clusters:
Unorganized clusters are use for students to write words and phrases that are related to the topic and write them on the rays drawn out from the center circle.

Organized clusters are used for students start with topic and have big ideas on the rays, then included more rays from each idea with details and examples. This clusters are hierarchical.
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Why use clusters?

Visual representation
Organizing thoughts
Literature circles
Thematic units
Demonstrate student learning
Use in place of outlines
Instead of writing a report a student can make a cluster to show what they learned

How do we use this strategy?

Step 1- Select a topic.
Students pick a topic and write it in the center circle of the chart.
Step 2- Design the cluster.
Unorganized- write words and phrases related to the topic on the rays drawn out from the center circle
Organized- write the big ideas relating to the topic on the rays coming from the center circle
Step 3- Complete the cluster.
Unorganized- read through words on the cluster and come up with additional ideas
Organized- write details and examples about the big ideas on rays from each idea

Going Digital?

Inspiration is a great tool to use to make clusters online. They also have a version that is more kid friendly for elementary aged students.
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