questions

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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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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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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Mar
13

Curiosity

Last night I was reading a story to my two-year-old son. On each page he stopped to ask me a question. Sometimes I tried to answer with what I thought, sometimes I asked him what he thought, and sometimes I told him I didn’t know. No matter what I said to him, he followed up […]

By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Feb
12

Why Put Our Ideas Into the World?

The Cottonwood Community of kindergartners and first-graders has spent the last several weeks preparing to publish small moment stories that children have written from their lives. The children have taken care to slow down and zoom in on the small details inside these moments. After writing a first draft, the children received their first editing […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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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
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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Dec
10

Valuing differences through Brain Buddy work

As a primary team, we have organized our intentions for the school year around the idea of the “We that I am.” One of our big questions within this frame is: What does it mean to belong to a community that recognizes and values differences?  Recently, first grade math paused from the counting work we […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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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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Oct
09

What is a Teacher-Researcher, Anyway?

  The teacher is the chief learner in the classroom. Donald Graves (quoted in Nonfiction Matters)   When I was in my first (and second, third, and fourth!) year at Opal School, I wondered what it meant to be a teacher-researcher. For me, the term evoked images of data collection and analysis, statistics and percentages. […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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