Author: Matt Karlsen

Nov
06

Political Work

Last week’s retreat focused on developing learning communities characterized by courage and collaboration. During the brief days of the workshop, we were rocked by the story of pipe bombs sent to many public figures and terrorist killings in a Louisville grocery store and a Pittsburgh synagogue.  These stories entered into our session – just like the […]

DETAIL
Oct
24

Play, school, and the future of jobs

As much as I find good reason to treat anything that comes out of Davos with a measured dose of skepticism – and as resistant as I am to describe the function of schools as a workforce delivery mechanism – I find the periodic Future of Jobs Report to be provocative.  As the World Economic […]

DETAIL
Oct
04

A call for truth and reconciliation

Yesterday, we held one of our monthly Online Subscriber meet-ups.  Susan and I were joined by Monica Martens, a teacher from Manitoba. She described how she finds the big ideas in Opal School’s resources to be in sync with the way in which Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation work has demanded whole-hearted learning between and amongst children […]

DETAIL
Sep
24

Finding our focus

We are eager to discover capabilities in ourselves and in children that we have not yet imagined. We accept the challenge to shape a new world. Ann Pelo and Margie Carter, Reimagining Our Work: What Story Do you Want to be Known For? Opal School’s six classrooms are organized into three learning communities. Each year, the […]

DETAIL
Apr
30

Confronting the disimagination machine

Friday, a frustrated colleague texted me this worksheet that a teacher in her school had given to the kindergarteners she works with on an “accountable walk” that day.  My colleague wrote, “This is what the testing craze has done. Kids can’t even go for a walk without a worksheet! At my school, a ‘failing’ one, […]

DETAIL
Feb
09

Start a New Story

“Every story starts with the assumption there is some acceptable, canonical state of the world.  What starts the story going is that the expectable, the predictable, canonical state of the world gets violated.” Jerome Bruner, Loris Malaguzzi International Centre, June 2006 “Opal School definitely got me out of my comfort zone… [It] goes against a lot […]

DETAIL
Jan
19

A new vision and mission for Portland Children’s Museum

As you may be aware, Opal School is part of a larger institution: Portland Children’s Museum.  Portland Children’s Museum is an unusual project: A small school serving 125 children, that forms the basis for the professional development of more than one thousand teachers and administrators annually, that is part of an organization that connects with […]

DETAIL
Jan
17

Who teaches us how to live in democracy?

In his column this week, David Brooks writes, “this year, we’ve been so besieged by Donald Trump’s shriveled nature that we sometimes forget what full and courageous human life looks like.” In response, he introduces us to John Stuart Mill, who he says “demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance […]

DETAIL
Dec
12

You get new ideas everywhere

At last week’s community gathering, the Willow Classroom of fourth- and fifth-graders shared the story of The Very Cranky Bear.  After reading the book, they asked, What messages does this story offer? Where do you see examples of these ideas in your life? A said, “Think about what everyone really wants.” R said, “Ask someone’s perspective first.” […]

DETAIL
Dec
04

Pedagogical approaches and their political implications

Opal School led professional development workshops in Vancouver, BC last week. They were rich opportunities to connect and develop new ideas with educators in a region that has been inspired and transformed by Opal School’s work. Our second day’s session focused on play, the arts, and education for democracy.  Before considering the role that play […]

DETAIL