perspective

Dec
17

Listening With Intention to Go Big

The weeks leading up to Winter Break provide teachers with a unique opportunity to pause and reflect on the work that our learning communities have been so immersed in. Our recent staff meetings have been structured to support this processing. We have been exploring how we might support the children in our respective learning communities […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Nov
16

Fear can’t survive proximity

What happens when fear drives our actions – and how can we interrupt it? This is a story about four-year old Mason. He is a passionate person, full of ideas, questions, and working theories of the world that he readily shares with his community. He has a generous heart with everyone and his perspectives of […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
30

Practicing strength by being vulnerable

Maintaining connection while feeling big emotions is something that we work hard on and practice a lot at this school. We want children to experience discomfort so they can practice being vulnerable and taking chances. When placing their idea into the world, like Bella did when she asked “are you still my friend?,  the children trust […]

By Tara Papandrew | Teaching and Learning
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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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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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May
09

How do conflicts, oopsies, and the strategies we use to work through them help support a community over time?

“It is important to practice problem solving strategies so we can use them solving our problems. We get better and better the more we practice! We might not even have to think about it next time.” -Ben, age 6 I strongly believe that all children hope to bring the best person they can be to even the toughest […]

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Jan
12

Finding a Path to Productive Disagreement: Reflecting on our Response to Uncertainty and Confusion

  When I think about the Opal 3 community, I find and feel evidence of tremendous growth as a community: we are more cohesive and connected than we were early in the fall; we have absorbed many rhythms and routines that help make our days run more smoothly; we know each other better so we […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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Oct
22

Surprises

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. ― Albert Szent-Gyorgyi  As the children shared images and reflections of their trip to the Portland Farmer’s Market, they stumbled upon a discovery — that there were many unexpected surprises of all kinds within our trip together. We wondered: How might the sharing […]

By Kimie Fukuda | Beginning . Teaching and Learning
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Sep
29

Imagine All of Us Coming Together to Wonder

The beginning of the school year marks a time of wonder: What will this class of children be like? Where will our studies, interests, and projects take us? What surprises will we encounter along the way? This year, as I worked to set up a classroom environment to welcome our 3rd graders, I had many […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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Sep
18

Tough Guy

Every word and action can send a message. It tells children — or students or athletes — how to think about themselves. It can be a fixed mindset message that says: You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Or it can be a growth mindset message that says: You are a developing person and […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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