Author: Susan Harris MacKay

Apr
21

What Do We Do When We Don’t Know What To Do?

“From now on things will be described in terms of the times Before and After Corona. Right now we are in neither. This is a threshold time, the liminal time where everything is reorganized. Every small and big action now opens or closes possibilities of what the future holds.” Nora Bateson (@NoraBateson – Twitter – […]

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Sep
07

Starting with Story Workshop

Story Workshop begins on the first day of the new school year. Here’s what it looked like!

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Apr
16

Working on Whiteness

Have you read the book Not My Idea by Anastasia Higgenbotham? Several weeks ago, Anastasia dropped by Opal School to speak with the 4th and 5th graders in our Willow classroom. She joined us there to talk to us about whiteness. The children were ready for her.

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Jan
19

Children, Complicated Times, and School

What rights do children have to think together about the world? Not our version of the world — but their own? What rights do children have to make sense of their world — and what are the implications — who benefits when there is little place for that in school? Children are, of course, aware […]

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Dec
31

Why Are We Doing This?

This morning, as we move through the final hours of 2018, Seth Godin (we’re big fans) posted a forward looking piece that included a list of problems we might solve in the coming decades — that is, within the lifetimes of the young children we teach.  Though I recommend you read the full article, I’ll […]

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Nov
26

Learning to Read the Research on Learning to Read

I have spent many hours during this holiday week in a rabbit hole. Late last week, several parents sent me notes asking for my opinion on recent flare-ups of one of mainstream media’s favorite topics: The Reading Wars. Fair enough, I thought. Why not take the opportunity to look for something I might have missed […]

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Sep
22

Why “Story Workshop” is not “Retelling-Someone-Else’s-Story Workshop”

A lot of things happen during Story Workshop at Opal School: Finding stories which may develop into writing pieces in many different genres Writing stories, poems, various kinds of non-fiction, songs, and other genres Playing with materials and languages of the arts to develop oral language, vocabulary, and poetic language and imagery for writing Playing […]

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Sep
11

Getting Started with Story Workshop

Story Workshop is an approach supporting young children’s literacy built upon on four pillars: the sharing of stories; immersion in the arts; time for play; and a focus on meaning-making.  The approach – which has since flowered in schools and districts around the world – started at Opal School with a simple question embraced by […]

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Sep
08

What Happens After the Mistake?

I made a mistake the other day. It’s probably true that I made more than one. But the one I’m thinking about, the one that kept me up that night, is the one I know I made for sure. I know because people have told me not to do the very thing I did. And […]

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Mar
23

Spreading Love While Marching for Love While Being Loved

On March 14, in solidarity with children all over the United States, Opal’s students and teachers walked out of school at 10 am, local time. Preparing for the participation of our 3-11 year old students in this event that was recognized widely as both a protest of gun violence in schools and a remembrance of […]

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