research

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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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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Oct
20

I can help

How might the process of creating, imagining, or inventing support the children’s sense of purpose and belonging in a community? This is one of the questions we included in our letter of intention. Playing with materials (and each other!) offers lots of opportunities for the children to make sense of the idea of community. We […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Oct
15

An Oopsidental Moment

Right now, as teachers, we are working to find ways to explore the intentions we set at the beginning of the year in a way that builds upon what this particular group of children already know and what they are interested in and curious about. This is a delicate dance that Loris Malaguzzi has referred […]

By Heather Scerba | Primary
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Oct
13

Coming soon to Office Depot

At this week’s Opal School staff meeting, we continued our research into invention education (see earlier posts here and here). We decided to start considering the inventions children might create into three big buckets: Systems (Amy brought up all the games children invent as part of PE; this card game is another example) Art and other […]

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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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Oct
01

Casting a line toward invention

As Susan wrote in her recent post, Opal School staff gathered Wednesday to discuss their observations of times when children were being inventive. I was in a group with Caroline Wolfe, who described her observations with our youngest learners in Cedar classroom. At a fundamental level, she explained, the children in Cedar are inventing what […]

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Sep
28

Looking for Invention

With generous funding from The Lemelson Foundation, Opal School is embarking on an exciting journey this fall to research Invention Education alongside our friends and colleagues at Project Zero of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ben Mardell and Mara Krechevsky. The task in front of us right now is to frame our research questions. […]

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Sep
24

Writing curriculum

A new post at Cadwell Collaborative responds to a familiar request: Will you write the curriculum for a new Reggio-inspired school? The post thoughtfully responds that the request cannot be fulfilled.  We make that road through walking. While there are known guideposts to help orient that path and great tools to have in your kit, […]

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