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 relationships.

L.C., teacher-participant

Last week, we were thrilled to host Opal School’s annual Reading the World conference.  There, participants from around the world considered the ways in which literacy, creativity, and sustainability drive patterns of artistry in teaching and learning.  The workshop was guided by a range of voices: those of Opal School students, who participants were able to observe while school was in session; Opal School teachers, who reflected on their work with students and the way in which that work is influenced by and, in turn, inspires new theory; and Paulo Freire, whose 1985 interview with Language Arts kept finding its way into conversations.

A program highlight – for visiting educators as well as Opal School staff – was having Ellin Oliver Keene in attendance.  Ellin’s work has been an influential force at Opal School and, in turn, her current research inspired her to visit Opal School.  In front of participants, I asked Ellin to reflect on her days at Opal School and relate her reflections to her thinking about student engagement and the aesthetic dimension.





  1. Wow!! That interview with Ellin Keene really synthesized the essence of learning at Opal School!
    So jealous I couldn’t be there this year!!

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