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Susan MacKay
Director of Education and the Center for Children's Learning at the Portland Children's Museum
Recent Activity
We are so pleased to present our very first ebook! The first to come in our Symposium Series, this ebook documents a project facilitated by Opal Beginning School teachers Lauren Adams and Caroline Wolfe with children ages 3 - 5 years, which they presented at the Opal School Symposium in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Opal School Blog
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The Magical Tree of Birdland At this morning's whole school gathering, Opal 1 told us about what they've been studying. Taylor explained that they were studying birds and then they saw a giant nest in the woods and they wanted to figure out how big it was and then they... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at Opal School Blog
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Last month, a group of teachers and administrators from the Fishback Center for Early Childhood Education at South Dakota State University spent two days engaged in observation, investigation, and conversation at Opal School. In this post, Dr. Kay Cutler, Professor of Early Childhood Education and Director of the Center, discusses... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2014 at Opal School Blog
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When the rains come to the Northwest, I love to spend weekends searching for chanterelles. During all season, I find transcendent pleasure in wandering through an old growth forest - but in the fall, when it's covered with leafy debris, that joy is enhanced by the delight of stumbling over... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2014 at Opal School Blog
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We know that children are full of capabilities and ideas the world needs. They are today's citizens - not tomorrow's. How can children's museums be a place where this is highlighted and discussed? How can we make children's thinking visible in a way that strengthens our environments? The Portland Children's... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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In recent years, much has been said about creative thinking, teamwork and research as positive resources that will support the advancement of human culture. I believe that it is important for those of us who work with the children and youth of today to constantly rethink these concepts, and make... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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This Friday, a group of four of us head to Italy for a study group with colleagues from other children's museums. We're anticipating a provocative, inspiring, delicious week - I'm feeling super lucky. I'm reposting this week’s Opal 4 post here in the spirit of the long reach that inspiration... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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Re-reading this article tonight, after a particularly creative third grade Literacy Studio today, I was thrown against the cold reality of the mindset of those who really would have us believe that control, certainty, and the dehumanization of the students in our care is the way to a more robust... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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It's August and at Opal School that means there are 3 of us here ready to begin the ball toss that will evolve into our 13th year of school. Every year, this ball we toss first is a little different than the one we tossed the August before. At Opal... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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Today was the last day of school for the 2012/2013 school year! Tonight we congratulate a new class of Opal Graduates as they head into the wide world. Also today, I read a recent interview with a 16 year-old Opal graduate who responded to this question: What did you take... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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Anna Craycroft is a New York-based artist who is in residency in Portland over the coming months for a Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) installation. We've had some conversations with Anna and her collaborators that have excited us - because it links elements of our work to communities we... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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As with any other school, the end of the year brings a whirlwind of excitement. Today, the Early K took their wings to the Arboreteum, flying down the hillsides. The fifth graders have been hard at work preparing their gift to the museum and writing their graduation speeches. From the... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2013 at Opal School Blog
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We partner with the A Year at Mission Hill project because we believe in its premise: Through looking carefully at quality in varied educational contexts, we can find common threads. This week’s video looks at assessment. It asks a profound, complicated question: How do we know what children are learning... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2013 at Opal School Blog