Opal School Blog

Sep
16

A Place for Practice

The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time.  The newness, the fresh start, and the anticipation are always with me as I enter the school for the first time after summer’s end.  Personally, it means that I can bring all that I’ve been thinking about, reading about, and chewing on into reality. […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Sep
13

What do you rely on?

In her last post, Susan shared stories about getting started with Story Workshop. She wrote that educators interested in Story Workshop often ask us, How do you get started? She told you that we often answer, It depends. Which is true. It depends on many things – on our intentions for individuals and for the group, our relationship […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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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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Sep
04

Not just a pretty space

At the beginning of the school year, before the children arrive, all of us teachers at Opal School spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of environments we want to create. We are guided by our questions. These include: What do we hope this environment communicates to children and about children? To adults […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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May
22

Reflecting on Leaning In With Curiosity (Part Two)

In my last post, I told the first part of our story of using Playful Inquiry to create conditions for children to lean into making sense of the world with curiosity rather than judgment, to accept and seek out complexity, and to develop empathy and understanding for people and perspectives different from their own through interactive […]

By Hannah Chandler | Teaching and Learning
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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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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
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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, […]

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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
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