content standards

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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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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Sep
12

Intentions: The we that I am

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the pre-primary schools of Reggio Emilia Dear Primary Community families, At Opal School, we see all children as competent, creative, curious, and courageous. We believe they come to school full of experience […]

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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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Jan
03

Compasses for navigating labyrinths

I imagine that, for many of you, the holidays included time for reconnection, reflection, and play – and lots of reading.  I found myself immersed in the varied and layered traps of “civilization” that people across time and space find themselves enmeshed in.  The challenges Cora, Yeong-hye, Alexander, and all of us face are varied – and their efforts […]

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Sep
10

Focusing our intentions

Don’t for heaven’s sake, be afraid of talking nonsense! But you must pay attention to your nonsense. -Ludwig Wittgenstein As Opal School staff reconvened last week to launch the new school year, we were inspired by and found connections in two essays.  In Zadie Smith’s Speaking in Tongues, we saw our drive to support children […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Jan
25

It Starts with a Seed

As teacher-researchers, we feel strongly about nurturing children’s connection to nature through playing, making, and sharing. Stories are one way we play and share with one another, seeking understanding and connection, and further developing empathy.  How might we, through playful inquiry, consider the stories that nature has to tell?  What stories might we uncover within […]

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Oct
23

Playing With Mathematical Theories Together

The first graders have been exploring these questions: How big is a number? How do numbers work together to make new numbers? These big, overarching questions provide the doorways into the mathematical landscape for children to theorize and investigate concepts such as addition, subtraction, skip counting, unitizing, and place value. As teacher-researchers that believe in […]

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