Beginning the Year Together
This will be an atypical blog post, but I wanted to capture and share some of the moments that have been happening in Opal 3. We are ending the first two weeks of school with many accomplishments and a foundation for the work of exploring, questioning, and investigating that is to come. Our main focus has been on building community and identity. Now that Opal 3 consists of a single grade and a small class size, students have a chance to redesign themselves, both individually and as a group. We have been exploring questions such as "How can we come together as a community?" and "What kind of identity do we want to develop?" In just a few days, it has become quickly apparent that our class is rich in creativity, intellect, diversity, and interest. We are thinking about how to both emphasize individuality while also thinking about the whole of the group.
Much of our community building work comes through games, activities, play, and discussions. Though the students insist that they "know each already," they continuously find that there is more to learn about each other. These discoveries contribute to the development of our community. The pictures below share a window into the community work we have been doing.
In addition to (and sometimes during) our community work, students have been revisiting familiar Opal School routines and processes. At the same time, they are learning new structures and habits. For example, what students knew as Explore is now a part of Literacy Studio, which builds on the foundation of Story Workshop but includes escalated reading and writing workshops. The workshop model typically consists of a mini lesson, followed by independent work time, followed by a share or reflection. These experiences have been enhanced by powerful read alouds which are helping students begin to think and talk about their reading, which is another way to inspire writing. Last week, the students came up with and explored the syllogism "reading is thinking, thinking is imagining, so reading is imagining." This is a class that loves and responds to literature and we have had many treasurable moments talking about books.
Students have also been exploring materials, participating in math workshop, going on hikes, and more. Throughout these experiences, we are tuning into each other, listening for the questions, wonderings and discoveries will lead to other studies and explorations later in the year.