Opal School Online

Nov
21

Serendipity, distraction, and meaningful metaphor

In her research on serendipity, Pagan Kennedy describes three different groups of people by the way they respond to unexpected moments. The group that she describes as the most open to such moments are the “super-encounterers.” She writes that this group, “reports that happy surprises pop up wherever they look” and that they “count on […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Nov
06

Courageous and Collaborative Communities: A report from the workshop

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. Brené Brown Last week, we hosted the first of this year’s Opal School Visitation Days workshops. This one brought together 70 educators from diverse contexts – pre-k and elementary, rural and urban, public and private, multilingual and […]

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Nov
03

Collaboration and Community

One of the goals and expectations that the primary team pinpointed in our intention letter this year was, “to develop strategies that contribute to the quality of the community by collaborating with others to construct ideas and create new knowledge.”  This has remained at the forefront of my mind in first grade math, as the first […]
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By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Oct
23

The Importance of Documentation and Reflection in Building Community

In the Cottonwood community, one of our main focuses in the beginning of the school year is community building – which is foundational to all of our other curricular work. With each new group of children, we try to make visible to them our complex process of becoming a “we”. As teachers, we know that […]
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Oct
23

Courageous and Collaborative Communities

Last week, I split my time between two groups.  The first half of the week, Opal School hosted a Study Tour for a school from Miami Beach.  On Wednesday, Susan and I went to Juneau, where we spent the remainder of the week working with another school staff.  These are radically different demographic contexts: Other […]

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Oct
20

I can help

How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community? This is one of the questions we included in our letter of intention. Playing with materials (and each other!) offers lots of opportunities for the children to make sense of the idea of community. We […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
15

An Oopsidental Moment

Right now, as teachers, we are working to find ways to explore the intentions we set at the beginning of the year in a way that builds upon what this particular group of children already know and what they are interested in and curious about. This is a delicate dance that Loris Malaguzzi has referred […]
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By Heather Scerba | Primary
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Oct
13

Coming soon to Office Depot

At this week’s Opal School staff meeting, we continued our research into invention education (see earlier posts here and here). We decided to start considering the inventions children might create into three big buckets: Systems (Amy brought up all the games children invent as part of PE; this card game is another example) Art and other […]

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Oct
12

Sitting in the pocket of a rhythm

After I wrote this story, I felt like it was too personal. I wondered if, although supported my thinking, it might not be worth publishing. Then I had a moment of serendipity. Nassrin and I were talking about her first few weeks at our school, and she shared her reflection that when Caroline teaches, it’s […]
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By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
09

What is a Teacher-Researcher, Anyway?

  The teacher is the chief learner in the classroom. Donald Graves (quoted in Nonfiction Matters)   When I was in my first (and second, third, and fourth!) year at Opal School, I wondered what it meant to be a teacher-researcher. For me, the term evoked images of data collection and analysis, statistics and percentages. […]
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By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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