Intermediate

Dec
04

Setting the Table: Graphite

School is oftentimes a place where certainty reigns – but it can be a place where people develop comfort with uncertainty. New experiences with the arts can play an important role in building that relationship. In this video, a group of fourth and fifth graders reflect on their first experiences exploring graphite. Opal School Online […]

By Kathryn Ann Myers | Intermediate . Teaching and Learning
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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 […]

By MaryGage Davis | Intermediate
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Nov
27

Finding a Community to Turn To: Community-building, Revision, and Feedback

In the beginning of October, the Willow community embarked on a field trip. We headed to the Bybee-Howell Preserve on Sauvie Island, a beautiful refuge complete with wetlands, meadows, an orchard, and more. Our intention was to spend the day together engaged in various community building activities. As we have mixed age classrooms at Opal, […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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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. […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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Oct
05

Nudging toward rhythm

As a teacher, I am continuously reflecting upon decisions to nudge students, whether nudging them to try something new, to take a deeper dive into something familiar, or to lift the quality of their work.  We’ve been nudging students in the Sitka classroom to grow their writing muscles and stamina as they begin using writer’s […]

By MaryGage Davis | Intermediate
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Sep
18

The Writing Kind of Life

“A writer’s notebook is like a ditch – an empty space you dig in your busy life, a space that will fill up with all sorts of fascinating little creatures.  If you dig it, they will come.  You’ll be amazed by what you catch there.” -Ralph Fletcher, A Writer’s Notebook Receiving a writer’s notebook has […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Intermediate
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Sep
12

Intentions: Interdependence and perspective taking

Dear Intermediate Community families, At Opal School, we see all children as competent citizens with rights.  We see them driven to connect, eager to empathize and be understood. We know that the arts are powerful pathways to develop understandings of ourselves, each other, and complex ideas. We value increasing proficiency with the conventions of communication […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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Jun
08

What are the children teaching me?

As a student teacher in Opal 3 this year, I continually find moments where my own growth parallels, intersects, is inspired by, and connects with the children’s growth. One instance where I experienced this was when the children began to unpack what it means to “listen to understand” vs. “listen to reply.” As a community […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Intermediate
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May
30

What kind of community do you want to be in?

Many schools spend the first six weeks of school building community in order to establish a foundation that will support learning through the rest of the year. I can relate to the hope ofl developing caring relationships and problem-solving strategies that will keep us away from conflict. As a person who would inherently prefer to […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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May
11

It’s not about the spelling…

  Recently in Opal 3, we were sitting together in a circle with our writing notebooks, a not uncommon scene for our third grade community. We had just watched a short video (How Wolves Change Rivers). I had asked the students to write to capture their thinking about the film and, perhaps through writing, to […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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