materials

Oct
16

Setting the Table: Loose Parts

How might materials support young authors and thinkers? Teacher-researchers Lauren Adams and Kathryn Ann Myers explore how processes of growing and and revising big ideas are catalyzed by working with loose parts collage. Sustaining Members can view these previous episodes the Setting the Table series: Setting the Table with Watercolor Black Line Drawing and Perspective-Taking […]

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Oct
09

Setting the Table: Tempera Paint

What does tempera paint do? So many investigations of a material start with a question just like this. This time is essential for developing the relationship they’ll depend on as they use it as a tool for thinking down the line. As children explore a new tool, they’re discovering its qualities. It’s a question that […]

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Sep
25

Blackline Drawing and Perspective-Taking

We enter the school year filled with assumptions – about each other, about ourselves, and about the world. How might the arts help us bring those assumptions forward – and to begin reimagining those possibilities? In this short video, Nicole Simpson-Tanner talks with Kathryn Myers about how she is using observational drawing to introduce perspective-taking […]

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Sep
13

Glimpses into the first week

When people come to visit Opal School, we often hear the question, “What does all of this look like in the beginning of the year? How do you start?” And really, that can feel tricky to respond to, because it never looks just the same as it did before. New children, new families, new teachers, […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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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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