Opal School Online

Jan
17

Who teaches us how to live in democracy?

In his column this week, David Brooks writes, “this year, we’ve been so besieged by Donald Trump’s shriveled nature that we sometimes forget what full and courageous human life looks like.” In response, he introduces us to John Stuart Mill, who he says “demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance […]

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Jan
13

Exploring the “We That I Am” Through Character

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi At the beginning of the school year, the primary team identified the overarching idea of our work to be exploration of “the we that I am.” Lauren and I have continued to observe […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Jan
10

When I feel sad sometimes I get angry

After cracking open the word friendship, we started investigating emotions through literature, materials and dialogue. After reading When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, we asked, What happens in our bodies when we have a big feeling? And what do you do when you have that big feeling? The children offered strategies, […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Jan
07

Going to Materials

One day recently, 4-year old Eliza was busy with an array of materials.  Her teacher paused to observe her just in time to catch her words: “Materials, I love you. They can turn into love when you give them away.” From the time babies can wrap their hands around an object, materials play a powerful […]

By Hannah Chandler | Teaching and Learning
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Dec
12

You get new ideas everywhere

At last week’s community gathering, the Willow Classroom of fourth- and fifth-graders shared the story of The Very Cranky Bear.  After reading the book, they asked, What messages does this story offer? Where do you see examples of these ideas in your life? A said, “Think about what everyone really wants.” R said, “Ask someone’s perspective first.” […]

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Dec
12

How does staying in inquiry sustain collaborative play?

Recently, we offered a new workshop called Constructing Collaborative and Constructive Learning Communities. (Here’s a preview and a recap.) When looking for a story to share from our preschool classrooms, we were on the hunt for something unexpected yet accessible focused on the interplay between the conditions we create for teaching and learning and strategies […]
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By Hana Hutchings | Beginning
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Dec
10

Valuing differences through Brain Buddy work

As a primary team, we have organized our intentions for the school year around the idea of the “We that I am.” One of our big questions within this frame is: What does it mean to belong to a community that recognizes and values differences?  Recently, first grade math paused from the counting work we […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Dec
04

Pedagogical approaches and their political implications

Opal School led professional development workshops in Vancouver, BC last week. They were rich opportunities to connect and develop new ideas with educators in a region that has been inspired and transformed by Opal School’s work. Our second day’s session focused on play, the arts, and education for democracy.  Before considering the role that play […]

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Dec
01

Making 1 from 20

This year, the Dogwood Community was invited to write the story for a school-wide community celebration, the Lantern Walk. The Lantern Walk is held each year when the days grow shorter as winter sets in. The message below, sent to families each year, captures the intentions of this tradition. The idea behind the Lantern Walk […]
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By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Nov
27

Finding a Community to Turn To: Community-building, Revision, and Feedback

In the beginning of October, the Willow community embarked on a field trip. We headed to the Bybee-Howell Preserve on Sauvie Island, a beautiful refuge complete with wetlands, meadows, an orchard, and more. Our intention was to spend the day together engaged in various community building activities. As we have mixed age classrooms at Opal, […]
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By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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