Intermediate

Mar
31

Materials as Metaphors

My recent post, Say What You Mean, began as this post — but I got so tangled up in thinking about the relationship between knowledge and meaning and learning and relationship and power and vulnerability that I realized I’d better split these posts in two. In this post, I’ll share the experience I had recently […]

DETAIL
Jan
12

Finding a Path to Productive Disagreement: Reflecting on our Response to Uncertainty and Confusion

  When I think about the Opal 3 community, I find and feel evidence of tremendous growth as a community: we are more cohesive and connected than we were early in the fall; we have absorbed many rhythms and routines that help make our days run more smoothly; we know each other better so we […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
DETAIL
Dec
13

Children will tell you what they want. If you listen, they might show you what they need

In my last blog post, I reflected on Opal’s 3’s experience of getting their writer’s notebooks, a process which I hoped would help them see themselves as writers. Pivotal to this experience was our work with two quotations from writers Julia Alvarez and Philip C. Stead. A writing life is a life with all the windows […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
DETAIL
Nov
10

Growing and Celebrating Writers

A writing life is a life  with all the windows and doors open * * * * * * * -Julia Alvarez  Ideas are all around -Philip C. Stead  These two quotations were an instrumental part of launching writing work in Opal 3 this year. We wanted to dispel the idea that the writers we […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
DETAIL
Oct
14

Pressing the Reset Button

As teachers we are continuously reflecting upon promoting healthy and productive classroom cultures.  In designing experiences for children, we consider what we know about optimal learning conditions; those that are high challenge and low risk, those that invite students to experience a state of relaxed alertness. Often times at Opal School, we find that working […]

By MaryGage Davis | Intermediate
DETAIL
Sep
29

Imagine All of Us Coming Together to Wonder

The beginning of the school year marks a time of wonder: What will this class of children be like? Where will our studies, interests, and projects take us? What surprises will we encounter along the way? This year, as I worked to set up a classroom environment to welcome our 3rd graders, I had many […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
DETAIL
Sep
10

Setting Intentions for Our Year Together – Intermediate Team

Opal School has two intermediate classrooms, Opal 3 & 4, which include third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders.  In many ways, the teachers from the two classrooms function as a team.  As a first collaborative effort, the Intermediate Team composed and sent this letter to parents before the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.  We’d love to hear the reflections of Opal […]

DETAIL
Jun
10

Sharing Strawberries

In the spring, because our third graders had become so engaged with statistics of our global population, we decided to share some of the Material World photography collection with them. This powerful project documents the disparity in material possessions around the world. Here is a sampling: COPYRIGHT:© 1994 Peter Menzel www.menzelphoto.com Material World Photograph © 2004 […]

DETAIL
Apr
12

What brine do you soak in?

Students in Opal 4 have been working to seek connections between some of their experiences in Opal 4 this year, the questions we’ve been exploring around perspective taking, and Opal School’s goals and expectations (which we first wrote about here). Because we know that the use of materials supports students to seek these connections and […]

By Kerry Salazar | Intermediate
DETAIL
Apr
04

The Power of Illusion

  The opinion piece is a famously third grade writing assignment. It is, in fact, Common Core English Language Arts Standard 3.1: “Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons”. It seems fair that children should learn to distinguish between fact and opinion and be able to craft an […]

DETAIL