Opal School Blog

Nov
07

From Teaching to Thinking: Book Club Conversation

Opal School hosted a conversation about the book From Teaching to Thinking: A Pedagogy for Reimagining Our Work with readers and authors Ann Pelo and Margie Carter on November 5, 2019. Enjoy!

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Oct
31

Developing Norms for Ambiguity and Complexity

This presentation, provided by Kerry Salazar at our October 2019 professional development retreat, is available for Opal School Online Sustaining Members.

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Oct
23

Human Knots and Tangles

The Sitka Community’s year started in a unique position: all of the students and the teacher had a history of being together. Although this group knew each other well, I wondered: How will we make space for each of us to continue to grow and evolve our stories of who we are? How could we […]

By Heather Scerba | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
16

Setting the Table: Loose Parts

How might materials support young authors and thinkers? Teacher-researchers Lauren Adams and Kathryn Ann Myers explore how processes of growing and and revising big ideas are catalyzed by working with loose parts collage. Sustaining Members can view these previous episodes the Setting the Table series: Setting the Table with Watercolor Black Line Drawing and Perspective-Taking […]

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Oct
10

Setting Intentions to Guide Our Learning

Last week, Opal School staff came together to revisit our thinking about teacher-research. We cracked open “teacher-research” to unpack the varied meanings the idea holds to us (the photo shows the dry erase board by meeting’s end. We (re-)visited a piece of writing our colleague Hannah Chandler wrote about the practice two years ago this […]

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Oct
09

Setting the Table: Tempera Paint

What does tempera paint do? So many investigations of a material start with a question just like this. This time is essential for developing the relationship they’ll depend on as they use it as a tool for thinking down the line. As children explore a new tool, they’re discovering its qualities. It’s a question that […]

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Oct
03

Join our book club?

We believe that educators—like children—have a vast capacity for deep dives of mind, heart, and spirit. Their thoughts are “ample and greedy”; they seek substantive questions and complexity. Their work is challenging and exhilarating, and demands their full intellectual and emotional attention. Educators deserve—and are sustained by—professional learning that strengthens their development as thinkers, researchers, […]

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Oct
02

Setting the Table: Not just filling the space

We design for beauty because we know that helps people slow down and notice. Listen in as teacher-researcher Nicole Simpson-Tanner reflects on the choices she makes as she sets up her classroom studio at the beginning of the year. How do the choices Nicole makes in preparing for work with nine- and ten-year-olds in Portland […]

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Sep
28

Blocks (and unblocking)

This year, the Primary Team is framing their intentions through a study of self. During the first week of school, teachers set intentions and committed to processes of observation, documentation, and reflection to open new questions and possibilities. During the first week of school, teachers wondered what provocations they might offer early on in the […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Sep
25

Blackline Drawing and Perspective-Taking

We enter the school year filled with assumptions – about each other, about ourselves, and about the world. How might the arts help us bring those assumptions forward – and to begin reimagining those possibilities? In this short video, Nicole Simpson-Tanner talks with Kathryn Myers about how she is using observational drawing to introduce perspective-taking […]

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