play

Mar
24

Materials In All Phases of The Writing Process

The kindergarten and first grade children in Cottonwood have been preparing to publish stories about characters that they invented and developed over time. These characters include hummingbirds, snapping turtles, crabs, ladybugs, deer, a peach, many different kinds of owls, and even a hiker named “Mikey Hikey.” In the early stages of writing, the children were […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Dec
20

Keeping space for creativity and inventiveness in PE

If developing creativity and inventiveness is a fundamental purpose of schooling, those dispositions need to be inspired throughout the day. In Story Workshop, children might be invited to use clay or collage materials to find their stories; in PE, we use movement and game systems. Children might have a basic game with one or two […]

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May
08

Inventiveness emerges through the tangles found in play

At a recent meeting Opal teachers were asked to reflect on the ways invention has emerged in their respective learning communities this year. Using a resource describing dimensions of invention education at Opal School crafted with Project Zero’s Ben Mardell and Mara Krechevsky (who will be sharing this work at our Summer Symposium), we revisited the […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Teaching and Learning
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Feb
19

Reworking Scary Experiences Through Play

A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what they have experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions they have acquired. – Lev Vygotsky Each week, the Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders hikes in Hoyt Arboretum. Last Tuesday, we hiked to the Upper Meadow, where the children had time to free play. They […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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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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Sep
23

Partner Explore

  “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” –Brené Brown We’re only in our third week of school, and the Dogwood community has been spending a lot of time thinking together about […]

By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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May
18

Play, the arts, and education for democracy?

Next month, Opal School will host it’s 16th Summer Symposium.  We determined the theme, Play, The Arts, and Education for Democracy, a year ago.  Knowing that it was an election year, we figured that questions of democracy would find their way into classrooms.  Little did we know how forceful that impulse would be. As we inch […]

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Jan
20

Boys Only Ice Cream

“Boys only ice cream! Boys only ice cream!” a child called out. Ice cream shops are part of outside play for Opal Beginning School. One of our outside destinations is a beautiful woven twig sculpture with lots of little windows that turn into many things – but most commonly it transforms into an ice cream […]

By Amy Gannon | Beginning
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Nov
07

A response to the “Governing Cancer of Our Time”

Our focus for this year’s Summer Symposium is Play, the Arts, and Education for Democracy.  Setting that theme guides our attention throughout the year.  How might play and the arts support education for democracy?  What might that look like when working with young people in Portland in 2016? When we turn our attention away from […]

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May
24

All under one roof

To readers of Opal School Online, it might be easy to forget that Opal School is a project of the Portland Children’s Museum. To Portland Children’s Museum visitors, it’s not always visible that Opal School lives within it. It’s an unusual organization, doing so much under one roof – exhibits, programs, an elementary charter school, an […]

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