Beginning

Jan
18

The Secrets of Wire: Play, Reflection and Relationships with Risk

As my colleagues and I continued to think together about our big idea of transformation and some of our research questions, we wondered what materials might lend themselves to playing with this big idea. Wire came to mind as a material to explore together: it is easily transformed, offering these young children a concrete experience […]

DETAIL
Dec
09

Intention Setting and Habits of Mind

Last March, Cedar Teacher Caroline Wolfe wrote a blog post about some of the resources that we use at Opal School when thinking about goals and expectations for children, which includes a body of work by Arthur L. Costa and Bena Kallick identifying 16 habits of mind to use when you are confronted with a […]

By Kimie Fukuda | Beginning
DETAIL
Oct
28

Learning to Walk and Talk (and Write)

When I first began as an assistant teacher long ago, I attended a parent meeting at the school on the topic of young children and writing.  I remember someone sharing that their 4 year old child didn’t write but scribbled.  The teacher shared that scribbling (and other mark-making) IS writing — a necessary stepping stone […]

DETAIL
Oct
22

Surprises

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. ― Albert Szent-Gyorgyi  As the children shared images and reflections of their trip to the Portland Farmer’s Market, they stumbled upon a discovery — that there were many unexpected surprises of all kinds within our trip together. We wondered: How might the sharing […]

By Kimie Fukuda | Beginning . Teaching and Learning
DETAIL
Oct
21

Riding the Chocolate Train

Within a social-constructivist context, shared experiences offer children a chance to build their understandings of themselves, each other, and the world. Earlier this week, the Cedar community visited the Farmer’s Market in downtown Portland. This rich environment — filled with a variety of colors, textures, flavors and scents — provided us with a memorable, multi-sensory experience. In the days […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
DETAIL
Oct
04

In Collaboration with the Natural World

“The wind comes creeping, it calls to me to come go exploring. It sings of the things that are to be found under the leaves. It whispers the dreams of the tall fir trees. It does pipe the gentle song the forest sings on gray days.”  ~ Opal Whiteley   At Opal School, we look […]

By Kimie Fukuda | Beginning
DETAIL
Oct
04

Partner Explore: Connecting with Materials, Ideas and Each Other

Recently, as the children have been getting more familiar with the routines and setting of school, they are becoming more comfortable with one another, too. As a result, they are revealing deeper expressions of who they are while testing the strengths and limits of their newfound friendships. This is a natural and important next phase for building trust […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
DETAIL
Sep
29

What lives inside of joy?

In the days before the children arrived at school, my colleagues and I considered how to prepare the classroom environments and we developed our intentions for the year.  We wondered together about the role that risk plays in the big idea of transformation, our intention for this school year. We wondered… What is the relationship between […]

DETAIL
Sep
18

Tough Guy

Every word and action can send a message. It tells children — or students or athletes — how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed mindset message that says: You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Or it can be a growth mindset message that says: You are a developing person and […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
DETAIL
Sep
10

A Sneak-Peek Into Our Intentions

The Beginning School Team sent this letter to parents before the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.  We’d love to hear the reflections of Opal School Online members: What do you notice?  What do you wonder about? How do you imagine the process of composing this letter will influence the work of this group of teachers? […]

DETAIL