Students in Opal 4 have been working to seek connections between some of their experiences in Opal 4 this year, the questions we’ve been exploring around perspective taking, and Opal School’s goals and expectations (which we first wrote about here).
Because we know that the use of materials supports students to seek these connections and deepen their understanding, they were invited to use materials to represent their thinking and then write an artist statement to accompany their piece.
As Devin worked to write about those connections, he used a metaphor to describe and clarify his thinking:
Devin was invited to share his metaphor with the rest of the Opal 4 community.
NJ: So you’re this cucumber, and when you’re soaked with something it makes you this different thing? It’s different but its still you. The pickle is still a cucumber, but you just added stuff. The goals and expectations—you are this thing, you are soaked with the goals, and it’s a part of you.
ABM: It becomes a habit of heart and mind.
In a recent article in EdWeek titled “What Defines a Good School?” the author, David Gamberg, former teacher and current superintendent in Long Island, speaks to Devin’s metaphor when he writes,
“We must choose our words carefully in this fight. We must strive to retain the core values that define a school as a place that upholds the tenets of our democracy and cares about people, rather than a place that efficiently manages the system or pits stakeholders against one another.”
Schools decide every day how they will be defined. The choices we make define what kind of pickle juice or brine we’re going to soak in. At Opal School, the goals and expectations are one piece of that brine.
Last week, Opal 4 continued Devin’s metaphor as they worked to unpack that pickle juice, that brine that we are soaking in. Students shared their thinking and connections and we began to map out the complexities that live within that brine.