Opal School Blog

Mar
11

Doing Something When Nobody Knows What to Do

On Tuesday (3.6.18) this week, as we were preparing for our monthly parent advisory meeting, an email arrived from the Superintendent of Portland Public Schools. Here is the full text: Dear PPS Community, As you may know, March 14 has been highlighted as a day for students across the nation to honor the lives lost in Parkland, […]

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Feb
26

Leaning in, Plunging Deeper: Going beyond Reading

I recently came across the following passage in The Sun: The less you are caught up in your own hopes and fears, the more you can see suffering straightforwardly. Accountability here means being honest, incredibly honest. You see that harm is being done: you see someone harming a child, an animal, another being. You see […]

By Hannah Chandler | Teaching and Learning
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Feb
19

Reworking Scary Experiences Through Play

A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what they have experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions they have acquired. – Lev Vygotsky Each week, the Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders hikes in Hoyt Arboretum. Last Tuesday, we hiked to the Upper Meadow, where the children had time to free play. They […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Feb
12

Why Put Our Ideas Into the World?

The Cottonwood Community of kindergartners and first-graders has spent the last several weeks preparing to publish small moment stories that children have written from their lives. The children have taken care to slow down and zoom in on the small details inside these moments. After writing a first draft, the children received their first editing […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Feb
09

The most important word is yet

In Alder, a community of 3-5 year olds, we were curious how children approached problems. We noticed how eager they were to run and get the strategy ring to support friends in conflict. Their heightened interest in this problem-solving tool led us to make strategy rings as gifts for the other classrooms. The children offered […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Feb
09

Start a New Story

“Every story starts with the assumption there is some acceptable, canonical state of the world.  What starts the story going is that the expectable, the predictable, canonical state of the world gets violated.” Jerome Bruner, Loris Malaguzzi International Centre, June 2006 “Opal School definitely got me out of my comfort zone… [It] goes against a lot […]

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Feb
06

Math Congress: Space for everyone to get on and off the subway

Math Congress is a structure that we use often at Opal School in which children are invited to communicate their thinking, their strategies, their solutions, “aha” moments, and proofs to their mathematical community. As teachers, even with the clearest of intentions, Math Congress requires us to embrace uncertainty as we are never completely sure what […]
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By MaryGage Davis | Intermediate
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Jan
26

Feeling Big

“The child is not a citizen of the future; he is a citizen from the very first moment of life and also the most important citizen because he represents and brings the ‘possible’…a bearer, here and now of rights, of values, of culture.” -Carlina Rinaldi, In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching and Learning A […]
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By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Jan
24

You are Worthy of Love and Belonging

I listened to This American Life’s episode, Three Miles, earlier this week – and I can’t get it out of my head. Here’s the synopsis from the episode webpage: There’s a program that brings together kids from two schools. One school is public and in the country’s poorest congressional district. The other is private and […]

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Jan
19

A new vision and mission for Portland Children’s Museum

As you may be aware, Opal School is part of a larger institution: Portland Children’s Museum.  Portland Children’s Museum is an unusual project: A small school serving 125 children, that forms the basis for the professional development of more than one thousand teachers and administrators annually, that is part of an organization that connects with […]

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