Teaching and Learning

Jun
17

On the edge of Symposium, thinking without bannisters

Opal School’s Summer Symposium begins Wednesday.  It’s a frenetic time around the building: having said goodbye to students last week, teachers are setting up their classrooms for visitors, creating documentation panels, and writing presentations (not to mention annual academic reports).  It’s a time of long days and nights consumed by deep reflection and meaning-making – of […]

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Jun
13

What school should be like

Fourth-graders gave these cookies to the graduates “to remind you to always find a third door and to not ignore that there are third doors all around you.” Friday, another group of students said goodbye to Opal School, moving on to middle schools around the city.  I think the annual graduation ceremony is made beautiful […]

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May
23

Everyone plays a role

The fourth- and fifth-graders in Opal 4 have been stretching out, finding ways that their gifts can address the world’s needs.  Many of their stories will be told at next month’s Symposium.  Here, eleven-year-old Chase shares her project – and invites you to contribute. A couple months ago, my teacher, Susan, asked my class how […]

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May
18

Play, the arts, and education for democracy?

Next month, Opal School will host it’s 16th Summer Symposium.  We determined the theme, Play, The Arts, and Education for Democracy, a year ago.  Knowing that it was an election year, we figured that questions of democracy would find their way into classrooms.  Little did we know how forceful that impulse would be. As we inch […]

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May
08

We are influencing our own play. Yes!

Periodically, Opal School’s community of staff, parents, and children come together. Recently, the community tended to its outdoor space as the sun came out of hibernation.  The children moved like a team over mounds of dirt and bark chips, fully engaged in their work. Inspired by the beauty of this moment, I stopped and pulled out […]

By Kathryn Ann Myers | Teaching and Learning
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Apr
19

Reading the World 2017: Literacy, Creativity, Sustainability, and the Principles of Engagement

In order to read the world, we must be moved by what we see. In order to create, we must have a strong desire to examine what has moved us. In order to sustain this world we have made and seen and read, we must understand why we were moved. We cannot be moved without […]

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Mar
31

Say What you Mean

We’ve been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it. I mean, the true material of knowledge is meaning. … And the only way to glean knowledge is contemplation. And the road to that is time. There’s nothing else. It’s […]

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Mar
02

Constructing Identity

Because it’s Opal 4, we knew we would deeply explore the complexities of perspective this year. Because it was a presidential election year, we knew we would be thinking together about the issues and the process. Because 4th and 5th graders have a right to know their state’s history, we knew we would focus on […]

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Feb
26

Dear Future School

It’s that time of year when our oldest students start seriously thinking about the schools they’ll go to next. These transitions are always bittersweet. It’s so hard to go, and at the same time, everyone is eager to know what’s in store. We always wonder what the children will take with them into the world. And […]

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Feb
15

Getting the lights right for dancing

At Visitation Days, we explored this definition of Playful Inquiry with educators from across the United States and Canada – and we’ve been chewing on it here ever since.  There is so much to unpack, as every clause crawls with meaning, opening the door to vital (and complicated) questions: Who is this community? How is […]

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