Author: Nicole Simpson-Tanner

Jan
08

Possibilities Within Our Intentions

At the beginning of the year, our teams of teachers draft intentions for the year.  These intentions take the form of big, meaty questions that invite the children to chew on social, political, and historical issues that align with the values and guiding principles of our school.  As the learning community becomes immersed in these […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Nov
01

Working Within Our Intentions

At the beginning of this year, we posted the intentions letter that we craft to focus our attention, activate our eyes and ears as the children play with new ideas, and offer opportunities insights towards next steps. As a teaching team, we worked to craft a big question that will serve us through our journey.  Taking […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
10

What does our community need?

Every new year is a new beginning.  Each time a group of students and teachers come together in September, they become a learning community. What that looks like, feels like, and sounds like depends on the specific children and teachers that make up that learning community.  No two communities are exactly the same because they […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Sep
16

A Place for Practice

The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time.  The newness, the fresh start, and the anticipation are always with me as I enter the school for the first time after summer’s end.  Personally, it means that I can bring all that I’ve been thinking about, reading about, and chewing on into reality. […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Mar
28

Growing Theories and Provisional Thinking

This year, in the Sitka learning community of 8 – 10 year-olds, we have been chewing on a big question: How does exploring the relationships between water and people help us understand systems? We decided to use water as a lens in hopes that it would provide opportunities to look closer into the idea of […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Sep
18

The Writing Kind of Life

“A writer’s notebook is like a ditch – an empty space you dig in your busy life, a space that will fill up with all sorts of fascinating little creatures.  If you dig it, they will come.  You’ll be amazed by what you catch there.” -Ralph Fletcher, A Writer’s Notebook Receiving a writer’s notebook has […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Intermediate
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Apr
26

I Felt Brave

I am a teacher, and it seems (and I know I am not alone in this ) that my teacher brain does not turn off when I leave the school grounds.  I am constantly thinking, wondering, and exploring as I search for connections, knowledge, and all the nuggets and gems that I can explore myself – […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Mar
07

What does it mean to take a stance?

The children in the Magnolia Room are exploring and playing with the idea of being an author and the purpose and intentions that go along with that prestigious title.  Authors have many intentions as they share their voices, imaginations, lives and experiences.  In their experience as both readers and writers, the children discovered that all authors work […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Feb
15

Sometimes We Feel…

Emotions and feelings exist inside all of us as a type of energy that has potential to be expressed, utilized, and shared outside of us and into our worlds.           Our learning community puts in great effort to share and make visible our different emotions.  When we label and discuss them, we normalize […]
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By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Jan
10

A Room Full of Information

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. When I talk about pictures in my mind I am talking, quite specifically, about images that shimmer around the edges…You just lie low and let them develop. You stay […]
This content is available to sustaining members of Opal School Online. Already a member? Sign in at learning.opalschool.org and enjoy!
By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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