Author: Sarah MacPherson

May
08

Inventiveness emerges through the tangles found in play

At a recent meeting Opal teachers were asked to reflect on the ways invention has emerged in their respective learning communities this year. Using a resource describing dimensions of invention education at Opal School crafted with Project Zero’s Ben Mardell and Mara Krechevsky (who will be sharing this work at our Summer Symposium), we revisited the […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Mar
23

Love, Play, and Mail

“In play, children begin with their own set of premises and learn to follow through, step-by-step, scene by scene in the complex process of creating a logical and literary dramatic project of their own.” – Vivian Paley, The Importance of Fantasy, Fairness, and Friendship in Children’s Play The Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders has […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Feb
19

Reworking Scary Experiences Through Play

A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what they have experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions they have acquired. – Lev Vygotsky Each week, the Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders hikes in Hoyt Arboretum. Last Tuesday, we hiked to the Upper Meadow, where the children had time to free play. They […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Feb
12

Why Put Our Ideas Into the World?

The Cottonwood Community of kindergartners and first-graders has spent the last several weeks preparing to publish small moment stories that children have written from their lives. The children have taken care to slow down and zoom in on the small details inside these moments. After writing a first draft, the children received their first editing […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Jan
13

Exploring the “We That I Am” Through Character

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi At the beginning of the school year, the primary team identified the overarching idea of our work to be exploration of “the we that I am.” Lauren and I have continued to observe […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Dec
10

Valuing differences through Brain Buddy work

As a primary team, we have organized our intentions for the school year around the idea of the “We that I am.” One of our big questions within this frame is: What does it mean to belong to a community that recognizes and values differences?  Recently, first grade math paused from the counting work we […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Nov
21

Serendipity, distraction, and meaningful metaphor

In her research on serendipity, Pagan Kennedy describes three different groups of people by the way they respond to unexpected moments. The group that she describes as the most open to such moments are the “super-encounterers.” She writes that this group, “reports that happy surprises pop up wherever they look” and that they “count on […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Nov
03

Collaboration and Community

One of the goals and expectations that the primary team pinpointed in our intention letter this year was, “to develop strategies that contribute to the quality of the community by collaborating with others to construct ideas and create new knowledge.”  This has remained at the forefront of my mind in first grade math, as the first […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Jun
08

What are the children teaching me?

As a student teacher in Opal 3 this year, I continually find moments where my own growth parallels, intersects, is inspired by, and connects with the children’s growth. One instance where I experienced this was when the children began to unpack what it means to “listen to understand” vs. “listen to reply.” As a community […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Intermediate
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