Opal School Blog

Mar
24

Materials In All Phases of The Writing Process

The kindergarten and first grade children in Cottonwood have been preparing to publish stories about characters that they invented and developed over time. These characters include hummingbirds, snapping turtles, crabs, ladybugs, deer, a peach, many different kinds of owls, and even a hiker named “Mikey Hikey.” In the early stages of writing, the children were […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Mar
22

Questions as invitations to play

It’s always a treat to have posts written by guest authors! This one is written by Ben Mardell, Principal Investigator at Project Zero. It is co-posted on the Pedagogy of Play blog. The related sketch-note is by Ellen Reid who found herself paying attention to questions as she participated in this week’s Study Tour of […]

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Mar
12

Windows into Perspective-Taking

What we heard from the dialogue is that the children perceived the windows as a distraction to their work. What we did not hear was the children thinking about the possible perspective of the guests of the other people that might have an opinion about this situation.

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Feb
20

designing for tension

“The most frustrating, agonizing part of creative work, and the one we grapple with every day in practice, is our encounter with the gap between what we feel and what we can express.” -Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play In my own experience as a writer, I know there is a gap between what I feel and […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Jan
26

Crossing the River: Recreating Scenes from Literature with PE Challenges

“… the chiefs decided to make the crossing late in the day…. Ollocot sent out rafts loaded with the things we had saved… The old women, the old men, and the children were placed on rafts and lashed down. Babies in cradleboards were strapped to their mothers backs. One end of a stout rope was […]

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Jan
23

collaborating with colleagues

Recently I’ve been thinking about “developing a reflective practice” and the parallels I see between my own practice of reflection and the practices of reflection I’m inviting the children to engage in. In this month’s member meet-up, Matt and Mary Gage had a conversation with colleagues around the ways we mentor and collaborate with colleagues […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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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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