Opal School Blog

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
DETAIL
May
02

Seeking to understand and be understood

In the beginning community of three-, four-, five-, and six-year-olds, the teachers hope to cultivate courageous thinkers, collaborators, and change makers. We want the children to know — as we do — that their ideas, theories and stories can change the world. This year, the big idea that the children and adults are co-researching in […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
DETAIL
Apr
30

Confronting the disimagination machine

Friday, a frustrated colleague texted me this worksheet that a teacher in her school had given to the kindergarteners she works with on an “accountable walk” that day.  My colleague wrote, “This is what the testing craze has done. Kids can’t even go for a walk without a worksheet! At my school, a ‘failing’ one, […]

DETAIL
Apr
02

Leaving the Door Open for Theory-Building

In the story below, I tell about work that the Sitka classroom of third- and fourth-graders did in the Fall from my own perspective as a teaching apprentice. To read about the work through the lens of my mentor teacher, Nicole, read her blog post here.  The first time I watched A Private Universe—a video […]

By Mauren Campbell | Teaching and Learning
DETAIL
Mar
28

Growing Theories and Provisional Thinking

This year, in the Sitka learning community of 8 – 10 year-olds, we have been chewing on a big question: How does exploring the relationships between water and people help us understand systems? We decided to use water as a lens in hopes that it would provide opportunities to look closer into the idea of […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
DETAIL
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 […]

DETAIL
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
DETAIL
Mar
20

Reflecting on Leaning In With Curiosity (Part One)

In the beginning of the year, Opal School teachers wrote letters of intention. As Matt wrote here, these letters are our North Star – our guide as we navigate our way through big questions, relationships, curricular content and more in conjunction with our mission, guiding principles and values, and goals. They are a source to […]

By Hannah Chandler | Teaching and Learning
DETAIL
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 […]

DETAIL
Mar
13

Curiosity

Last night I was reading a story to my two-year-old son. On each page he stopped to ask me a question. Sometimes I tried to answer with what I thought, sometimes I asked him what he thought, and sometimes I told him I didn’t know. No matter what I said to him, he followed up […]
To access this content, you must purchase Opal School Online Membership. Already a member? Sign in at learning.opalschool.org and enjoy!
By Kerry Salazar | Primary
DETAIL