Opal School Blog

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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Jan
08

Possibilities Within Our Intentions

At the beginning of the year, our teams of teachers draft intentions for the year.  These intentions take the form of big, meaty questions that invite the children to chew on social, political, and historical issues that align with the values and guiding principles of our school.  As the learning community becomes immersed in these […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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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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Dec
26

Developing a reflective practice

Story Workshop began at Opal School many years ago with teachers and children working together to research the question, What is the relationship between literacy and the arts? Over a decade later, this question continues to guide the work we do during Story Workshop. When I was first learning about Story Workshop, I remember how […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Dec
20

Keeping space for creativity and inventiveness in PE

If developing creativity and inventiveness is a fundamental purpose of schooling, those dispositions need to be inspired throughout the day. In Story Workshop, children might be invited to use clay or collage materials to find their stories; in PE, we use movement and game systems. Children might have a basic game with one or two […]

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Dec
17

Listening With Intention to Go Big

The weeks leading up to Winter Break provide teachers with a unique opportunity to pause and reflect on the work that our learning communities have been so immersed in. Our recent staff meetings have been structured to support this processing. We have been exploring how we might support the children in our respective learning communities […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Dec
14

Changing shape; continuing to grow

A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. Brené Brown How do young children demonstrate their deep sense of love and belonging? What are the many ways that they show us their capacity to […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Dec
13

Conditions that invite invention

As J engaged in Story Workshop, he identified a need in the world – and he saw that he had the power to respond to that need. What conditions invite, sustain, and expand children’s inventiveness?  Consider the attached framework.  Which of these conditions is visible in this short video?  Which are implied? Are some neither explicit nor […]

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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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Nov
23

Sharing Gratitude

On Friday morning, Opal School children, families, and teachers gathered together for our weekly school-wide gathering. This week, it was the Dogwood community of first and second grader’s turn to lead. They decided to spend that time sharing about what they are grateful for and then giving the audience a chance to do the same. […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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