With a name like “The Cloverleaf School,” most people assume they know just what it must mean, including our students. “We should make our mascot a giant clover!” exclaimed child A. “Or a leprechaun!” replied child B. Amused by their presumptions, I asked what they thought our school name meant, how we might have come up with it, and who was behind such a thought. After going through the usual Luck-o’-the-Irish philosophies, I showed them a picture:
I asked them if they’d ever heard of a cloverleaf interchange. Some had, some hadn’t, but they all have a bit of an affinity for roads and maps, so it made for a great discussion point. What is a cloverleaf interchange? Why would we need it? What do you see in the picture? We discussed Atlanta’s Spaghetti Junction, the closest interchange we have around here to the cloverleaf.
The kids loved looking at all the different directions cars could go in, and how the paths overlap and diverge. They shared about times they’ve ridden across the interchange with their families. I asked them how the interchange is like our school, and was inspired by their insightful responses. “We can go in different directions too!” “I might go this way [pointing], and my friend might go the other way,” they informed me. I asked them what they want to be when they grow up:
“I’ll be either an architect or a doctor, I haven’t decided yet.”
“I want to be a chef so I can cook good food.”
“Maybe a scientist or something.”
I shared with the students our school motto of “Where are YOU going?” and they traced their imaginary paths along the interchange picture with their fingers. We talked about phrases we use sometimes like our “learning journey” or our “path in life.” Analogous language can be difficult for very literal learners, so it was a great opportunity to discuss these type of phrases.
As you may have noticed, around here we love the dual imagery and play-on-words that our school name provides. Be it the lucky little plant or the cris-crossing highways, we’re excited to share with others what our name means to us and what inspired it. What a powerful learning opportunity….