Author: Nicole Simpson-Tanner

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 […]

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 their existence and welcome everyone […]

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 […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Nov
27

Scared and Brave at the Same Time

This year, in the Primary Group, we are thinking deeper into the idea of “self.”  As stated in our Letter of Intention to parents at the beginning of the year, we are particularly curious about the children’s growing understanding of themselves.  We believe understanding of self is foundational to all relationships – relationship to one another, to the environment, […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Nov
07

The Possibilities of Loose Parts

When you enter the classrooms of Opal School you will be met with familiar materials that you might expect to see in a lot of Early Childhood and Primary classrooms.  You will most likely see blocks for building, colored pencils and markers for drawing, tempera paint and watercolors for painting, and costumes and dishes for dramatic play […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Sep
26

The Expectation of Kindergarteners

September, for teachers, is a time for new.  It is a time where things begin and a new start is planned, imagined and anticipated.  For me, as a teacher of kindergartners, September can be a time when the anticipation of a new school year fills my head during all parts of my day with a […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Sep
13

Launching Story Workshop

Story Workshop is a classroom structure designed to support language, literacy and the arts.  It is a time of the day where children within the Primary Group explore their capacity as authors, and this can happen as they are offered a multitude of invitations and materials to play and work with.  During this literacy structure, […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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Feb
24

Expanding empathy; making change

Last week, I represented Opal School at Ashoka Changemaker Schools Network Summit in Oracle, Arizona. The Changemaker Schools Network is a global community of elementary, middle, and high schools whose approaches to developing empathy and agency have the potential to inspire a new educational framework. Over an intense three-and-a-half days, sixty representatives from 27 schools explored […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Jan
06

Seeing By Feels

 “When I did turn to untangle my curls, I saw a silken cradle in a hazel branch. I have thinks that the wind did just tangle my curls so I would have seeing of that cradle. It was cream, with a hazel leaf halfway round it. I put it to my ear, and I did […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Primary
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