arts

Dec
26

Developing a reflective practice

Story Workshop began at Opal School many years ago with teachers and children working together to research the question, What is the relationship between literacy and the arts? Over a decade later, this question continues to guide the work we do during Story Workshop. When I was first learning about Story Workshop, I remember how […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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Apr
30

Confronting the disimagination machine

Friday, a frustrated colleague texted me this worksheet that a teacher in her school had given to the kindergarteners she works with on an “accountable walk” that day.  My colleague wrote, “This is what the testing craze has done. Kids can’t even go for a walk without a worksheet! At my school, a ‘failing’ one, […]

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Mar
13

Curiosity

Last night I was reading a story to my two-year-old son. On each page he stopped to ask me a question. Sometimes I tried to answer with what I thought, sometimes I asked him what he thought, and sometimes I told him I didn’t know. No matter what I said to him, he followed up […]

By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Jan
17

Who teaches us how to live in democracy?

In his column this week, David Brooks writes, “this year, we’ve been so besieged by Donald Trump’s shriveled nature that we sometimes forget what full and courageous human life looks like.” In response, he introduces us to John Stuart Mill, who he says “demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance […]

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Jan
10

When I feel sad sometimes I get angry

After cracking open the word friendship, we started investigating emotions through literature, materials and dialogue. After reading When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, we asked, What happens in our bodies when we have a big feeling? And what do you do when you have that big feeling? The children offered strategies, […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Jan
07

Going to Materials

One day recently, 4-year old Eliza was busy with an array of materials.  Her teacher paused to observe her just in time to catch her words: “Materials, I love you. They can turn into love when you give them away.” From the time babies can wrap their hands around an object, materials play a powerful […]

By Hannah Chandler | Teaching and Learning
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Dec
04

Pedagogical approaches and their political implications

Opal School led professional development workshops in Vancouver, BC last week. They were rich opportunities to connect and develop new ideas with educators in a region that has been inspired and transformed by Opal School’s work. Our second day’s session focused on play, the arts, and education for democracy.  Before considering the role that play […]

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Oct
23

The Importance of Documentation and Reflection in Building Community

In the Cottonwood community, one of our main focuses in the beginning of the school year is community building – which is foundational to all of our other curricular work. With each new group of children, we try to make visible to them our complex process of becoming a “we”. As teachers, we know that […]

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Oct
20

I can help

How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community? This is one of the questions we included in our letter of intention. Playing with materials (and each other!) offers lots of opportunities for the children to make sense of the idea of community. We […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
15

An Oopsidental Moment

Right now, as teachers, we are working to find ways to explore the intentions we set at the beginning of the year in a way that builds upon what this particular group of children already know and what they are interested in and curious about. This is a delicate dance that Loris Malaguzzi has referred […]

By Heather Scerba | Primary
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