playful inquiry

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
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
01

Working Within Our Intentions

At the beginning of this year, we posted the intentions letter that we craft to focus our attention, activate our eyes and ears as the children play with new ideas, and offer opportunities insights towards next steps. As a teaching team, we worked to craft a big question that will serve us through our journey.  Taking […]

By Nicole Simpson-Tanner | Teaching and Learning
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Oct
24

Play, school, and the future of jobs

As much as I find good reason to treat anything that comes out of Davos with a measured dose of skepticism – and as resistant as I am to describe the function of schools as a workforce delivery mechanism – I find the periodic Future of Jobs Report to be provocative.  As the World Economic […]

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Oct
23

Unpacking Compassion

“Empathy is a gateway to compassion. It’s understanding how someone feels, and trying to imagine how that might feel for you — it’s a mode of relating. Compassion takes it further. It’s feeling what that person is feeling, holding it, accepting it, and taking some kind of action.” – Lori Chandler My colleagues and I […]

By Kerry Salazar | Teaching and Learning
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May
22

Reflecting on Leaning In With Curiosity (Part Two)

In my last post, I told the first part of our story of using Playful Inquiry to create conditions for children to lean into making sense of the world with curiosity rather than judgment, to accept and seek out complexity, and to develop empathy and understanding for people and perspectives different from their own through interactive […]

By Hannah Chandler | Teaching and Learning
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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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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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Feb
26

Leaning in, Plunging Deeper: Going beyond Reading

I recently came across the following passage in The Sun: The less you are caught up in your own hopes and fears, the more you can see suffering straightforwardly. Accountability here means being honest, incredibly honest. You see that harm is being done: you see someone harming a child, an animal, another being. You see […]

By Hannah Chandler | 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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