There is, actually, an official Opal School blog. Someday soon I hope to make it public -- but for now, I have to settle for sharing a post here and there, slurped from that blog over to this one -- just to give you a peek into the incredible work those children and teachers do together. This one is from our classroom of 8 - 10 year olds and their new teacher, Avery Hill. (Her blog is a public one: http://rootedingrowth.blogspot.com/.) It is Avery's first year teaching at Opal School and her first year teaching. She spent last year as Opal's apprentice teacher, studying the ways we work together. And this year she is supported by a part time mentor teacher, an experienced Opal teacher -- later referred to as MG.
In this classroom, as they were getting to know one another this year, some tinkering workshops gave way to some interest in bridges, and the metaphors spilled over as ways to describe and think about the learning community. The concrete bridge images provided tangible, visible, playful opportunities to hold the concept of community. And so what follows makes perfect, if magical, sense. And they are a starting place for the rest that will unfold over the year.
Post by Avery Hill:
Opal 3's work to compose and adopt agreements for our community has continued these past weeks. After brainstorming and refining, the children came to agreement on five ideas to guide the way we will strive to be together this school year. But it felt strange to call them "agreements" after all the discussion about and comparison of our community as a kind of bridge that we are building. How could we envision our agreements in the context of our work with bridges?
The children wrote this letter to our friend, occasional special guest, and founder of Opal School Judy Graves, to tell her about the work we had done: