Opal School closed in 2021. You can continue to access these resources for free at teachingpreschoolpartners.org/resource-library/.

What is the view through a window into Opal 4 this week?

What is the view through a window into Opal 4 this week?

Some images, captions, and quotes from a little over a week in the Opal 4 classroom.

What languages and materials are supporting our work as community builders, meaning makers, and co-creators of curriculum in our classroom?  How does who we are as individuals inform who we are as a group and how we spend our time together?


How will you play as the characters from Jane Yolen’s picture book, Encounter, in a historically imaginative way?


TP is Christopher Columbus exchanging gifts with an indigenous girl, IM.


MR was an indigenous girl from the Taino tribe.  She stayed true to her role in that she refused to speak English or “understand” OD who was playing a man from Columbus’s ship.  OD had to use gestures and pointing to communicate with her.  When he was successful in getting his message across, MR turned the plot of the play by taking OD and the other Europeans to the Taino’s source of gold.  History comes alive in the Arboretum!


SK gathers plants.  She is the Taino healer, the Medicine Woman.


In our community building work, we are practicing mirroring what our classmates need.  For this morning greeting, one student, MR, is showing the student next to her, AD, how she feels this morning.  AD mirrors her, practicing reflecting and honoring what each of us brings into the classroom with us on any given day.



And we have spent some time creating shared meaning around the word RESPECTFUL and how we want to manifest it in our classroom.  The children pulled these words out of the idea of Respectful.


SK:  I want to add Reverse Respect to the poster.
Levia:  What is Reverse Respect?  Respecting yourself?
AB:  It’s like in (our mentor text from) The Higher Power of Lucky, “There is no I in TEAM.”  For us there is an I in TEAM.
DW:  There is a difference between I, myself and your team, like your soccer team.
MG:  You work as a team, not by yourself.
LH:  You’re by yourself, but as a team.  As a team everybody can have different ideas as yourself, but you have to work as a team.
AI:  Having independent ideas, but working together.
AB:  We’re all working individually in our heads, but physically together.  For the good of the team.
MG:  (reads the definition of team from the dictionary ends with,) “To harness or join together so as to form a team.”
LH:  harnessing together to do work!


How will you sculpt a classmate into words from this poster?


KG shows us how she was sculpted into, “Tune In.”


a fourth student, RD, sculpted this group into, “Honor”


SK started sculting a group of 12 children into the word, “Structure,” and as other groups came to watch, she sculpted them in as well.  As more children got added to the sculpture, EL got upset, he wanted a turn to sculpt.  After a minute of consideration, SK offered to give up her role and hand it over to EL.  Each student took a turn coming out of the pose to see what it looked like. “The word is structure.  It’s straight, not uneven.  That is order, not individuality.”  -MB


How can you draw the contour line that shows where the earth encounters the sky?


Practicing with an image of the Portland skyline in the classroom, a manmade skyline.


2013-10-23 11.20.35

and in the upper meadow, a skyline created by hills and trees.

2013-10-23 11.28.20

Getting ready to travel to new places for our Historically Imaginative Play – Where on the globe are Portland, Oregon, Plymouth, England, Leiden, Holland, and Plymouth Massachusetts?



And receiving special tickets inviting each child on the historically imaginative, dramatic journey – either to Wampanoag Territory in 1619, in what is now the area near Plymouth, Massachusetts, or to Leiden, Holland, where the “Pilgrims” of Mayflower fame lived before they set sail to the “New World.”


Taking a symbolic journey from the far end of the Lower Meadow (Portland, OR) to the bottom of the Magic Bug Forest (Plymouth, Massachusetts) where we left half of the class, the Wampanoag Indians, and then across the freeway overpass (The Atlantic Ocean) to the trailhead (Europe) where we left the rest of the class, the Europeans, and played a fun community buidling game with a nautical theme, “Land Ho! Man Overboard!”  We are starting to imagine the places where we might have lived.


And getting to know the affordances of blue tape and how to create line with it.  Next week the groups will work together to create skylines of Leiden, Holland and Wampanoag Territory in our classroom with the blue tape.

All this, and no mention of PE, of math where we had gallery walks and congresses today on two dimensional and three dimensional arrays and are discovering exciting properties of multiples and factors, or of Literacy Studio where we are drafting Encounter Stories informed by our mentor texts, or of our read aloud, Because of Mr Terupt – ask your children about this work too.  We are busy and loving it in Opal 4!

October 25, 2013