Author: Susan Harris MacKay

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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Mar
16

Marching for Love

When I took the Opal Advisory Council’s advice to the Opal teaching staff the day after our meeting, I also brought the same reading material: a copy of the Superintendent’s message, and the Hand to Hand letter. Additionally, one of the Advisory Council members had a copy of a letter sent from an older child’s […]

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Mar
11

Doing Something When Nobody Knows What to Do

On Tuesday (3.6.18) this week, as we were preparing for our monthly parent advisory meeting, an email arrived from the Superintendent of Portland Public Schools. Here is the full text: Dear PPS Community, As you may know, March 14 has been highlighted as a day for students across the nation to honor the lives lost in Parkland, […]

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Jan
24

You are Worthy of Love and Belonging

I listened to This American Life’s episode, Three Miles, earlier this week – and I can’t get it out of my head. Here’s the synopsis from the episode webpage: There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and […]

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Sep
28

Looking for Invention

With generous funding from The Lemelson Foundation, Opal School is embarking on an exciting journey this fall to research Invention Education alongside our friends and colleagues at Project Zero of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ben Mardell and Mara Krechevsky. The task in front of us right now is to frame our research questions. […]

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Sep
19

Engaging Families as Partners

This past week, we welcomed families to Opal School for its 17th year. And, as is true so often, we also welcomed change. For new families, the change is transition to this new community, transition in families as their children grow, new routines, new relationships. For returning families, the change is a bump in expectations. […]

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Sep
08

Setting Expectations

As I stepped into the first Day of school in our Cottonwood classroom (children ages 5-7 years), Lauren was just introducing a surprising material to the children, who sat expectantly hoping for their own opportunity to play. It was just masking tape. But it clearly held a kind of excitement as far as the children […]

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Mar
31

Materials as Metaphors

My recent post, Say What You Mean, began as this post — but I got so tangled up in thinking about the relationship between knowledge and meaning and learning and relationship and power and vulnerability that I realized I’d better split these posts in two. In this post, I’ll share the experience I had recently […]
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Mar
31

Say What you Mean

We’ve been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it. I mean, the true material of knowledge is meaning. … And the only way to glean knowledge is contemplation. And the road to that is time. There’s nothing else. It’s […]

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Mar
02

Constructing Identity

Because it’s Opal 4, we knew we would deeply explore the complexities of perspective this year. Because it was a presidential election year, we knew we would be thinking together about the issues and the process. Because 4th and 5th graders have a right to know their state’s history, we knew we would focus on […]

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