materials

Feb
20

designing for tension

“The most frustrating, agonizing part of creative work, and the one we grapple with every day in practice, is our encounter with the gap between what we feel and what we can express.” -Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play In my own experience as a writer, I know there is a gap between what I feel and […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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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
23

Love, Play, and Mail

“In play, children begin with their own set of premises and learn to follow through, step-by-step, scene by scene in the complex process of creating a logical and literary dramatic project of their own.” – Vivian Paley, The Importance of Fantasy, Fairness, and Friendship in Children’s Play The Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders has […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Jan
13

Exploring the “We That I Am” Through Character

“A child’s most sought after goal is to recognize himself in others, and to find in others parts of himself.” -Loris Malaguzzi At the beginning of the school year, the primary team identified the overarching idea of our work to be exploration of “the we that I am.” Lauren and I have continued to observe […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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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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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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May
30

What kind of community do you want to be in?

Many schools spend the first six weeks of school building community in order to establish a foundation that will support learning through the rest of the year. I can relate to the hope ofl developing caring relationships and problem-solving strategies that will keep us away from conflict. As a person who would inherently prefer to […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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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 […]

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