Evaluation of the visit to Iceland

The teachers answered Forms feedback questionary about the visit to Iceland.

1 = I strongly disagree
2 = I disagree
3 = I don´t disagree or agree
4 = I agree
5 = I strongly agree                                                                                            Average of answers

The visit to Iceland  fulfilled the goals of the project.                                                   4,5

The content of the program was interesting and good.                                              4,33

The teachers had prepared their lessons well.                                                               4,17

I got new ideas on innovative teaching methods.                                                         3,83

I got new ideas on learning environments.                                                                      3,33

I got new ideas on ‘pupils as active learners’.                                                                 3,67

I know how the Icelandic school system works.                                                             4,17

 

The teachers gave Finnish school grade to the visit.

Teachers’ comments:

It was very interesting visit. I learned a lot about Iceland and got some new ideas. Some of the lessons were quite hard to follow because we did not have lesson plans  in advance. The outdoor activities were great!

 Posted by Kati Ahlqvist, Armfelt school, Salo, Finland.

Act and make an impact – task about plastic trash

 

Why I did the three days of trash challenge?

I did the three days of trash challenge where I collected all of the plastic trash at my home for three days. I got the idea from my geography lesson, where our teacher showed us a presentation that a boy had made of this challenge. I tought that it would be interesting to see that how much plastic trash would my family produce in three days (the end result was shocking). I also wanted to show a few examples how you can simply reduce the amount of plastic trash that ends up in your everyday life.

Henna Heinonen, Nordic Go – student in Perniön yhteiskoulu (PYK)

English, A movie about us!

We are going to work with the English language with the goal of making a movie about ourselves and a bit about the town we live in.

We can work together with someone, or by ourselves. We start with the strategy of making a mind map, or dots, so e have a plan about what we are going to show, say and how the movie is going to be filmed. We are going to look at some other movies where others have presented themselves and their towns, so we get ideas of what can be fun to watch and learn if you are the ones looking at your video.

When the plans are made, and the mind map is done, you start your work with practicing pronunciation and grammar, so you get it correct. You also decide what order your movie is going to have, and who is going to help you film it.

When you are done filming you will edit the movie in Imovie, an app on our ipad. You can put music, sounds and effects in it if you would like. The goal is to show this movie to a 5th grade in Finland. We will also get to view their movies and learn how to understand others, communicate.

Knowledge that you will be developing and learn during the making of the movie:

You will develop your knowledge in talking about subjects that are familiar to you, everyday situations, your interests and school.

You will develop your knowledge about words, grammar and pronunciation of the English language when you are working with your movie.

You will develop your listening skills, whilst listening to others when they make their movies, and when its done.

You will learn about how students have it in finish school.

You will learn how to follow the instructions for the project.

You will learn strategies in how to make yourself understood, important words and how to adjust the film for your viewers.

You will develop your knowledge in how to present yourself, how to tell about things you know, and how to manage when the language skills aren’t enough.

Abilities that you will develop during the project:

You will develop the understanding of content in the videos you are watching.

You will develop your ability to communicate in both writing and speaking.

You will develop your ability to be understood, while you are adjusting your language for another class.

You will develop your understanding of other English speaking countries.

How will this be evaluated?

You will be evaluated when you work with the movies, your process and your strategies in the making.

You will also be evaluated on the finished movie, how it is done, your pronuncuation and content, and the order of the content.

In art you will be evaluated in how you use the ideas of the movies we are watching in your own movie, and how you relate to the pictures in the movie, how well the represent what you are talking about, or how well they enhance your fact.

(Written by Sweden)

Tillsammansdag – A day spent together

Main goals of the day:

During a day spent together we gather up in groups of about 15-20 students in each, with students from preschool up to 6th grade.

The 6th graders in each group act as a group leader, which practice the students social skills as well as leading skills. They gather the group, make sure everyone understands the different tasks and games, and take care of the young ones so they are a part as well. They also make sure that everyone does what is supposed to be done, and helps the leaders at each station with the tasks. They also practice following a schedule, and how to follow instructions, as well as giving instructions to the group.

The other participants in the group are being led by the 6th graders, and practice following other leaders than adults. They practice listening to instructions, and working together with other students that is not in their own class. Teamwork, social skills and learning about others is key during the day.

Knowledge that you will be developing and learning during these days:

A day spent together focuses on the first two chapters of our curriculum, at the same time as it brings up important goals from the other subjects. The first two chapters are about school values and assignment, and overall goals and guidelines.

Equality is a focus during these days, when students from all classes gather up to do things together. Equality is being learned hen getting to know new friends, and listening to their stories. When you listen you learn that not everyone has the same background as you, and that all people have their problems and issues, as well as strengths and skills. Our goal is to promote understanding about others as well as your self. Its a democracy we live in.

The schools goals is to promote individuals and their knowledge, and encourage different opinions. During these days spent together we can listen and learn about others opinions during the tasks we do. We have done a friend painting, where everyone could write how they thought about friendship, we have done a culture day where we learned about different languages and countries, where students from the other countries could tell about their language and culture. This also shows an international perspective of learning about the world around us, as important as it is with the many cultures we have in our school today.

These different tasks gives the students opportunities to communicate, learn and discuss with others than their own class, which we see as developing their communication. This is a big focus for the 6th graders who are the leaders and have to learn how to communicate so that everyone understands what to do.

To be a part of a bigger project also gives the feeling of belonging, a feeling that you are welcomed and important in school. You see your star on the tree, or your part of the long snake we made together, or your thought about friendship on the painting, and hopefully you learn the values and that you as a student is important. This promotes learning, creativity, curiosity and confidence.

Goals:

Respect others.

Understand other student situations and act accordingly.

Develop their problem solving in different tasks.

Develop social skills to cooperate with others as a team.

Develop communication skills in both Swedish and English.

Develop student abilities to do ethical positions based on knowledge.

Develop student sense for democracy and how it works in school and in society.

How will this be evaluated?

The day spent together is a day that is included in many subjects, and the goal is that you take what you learn from this day to other subjects and show your skills there.

The day is mostly focusing on social skills, learning and understanding others, and for the 6th graders, learning how to take care of others and how to be a good leader. This is something that is useful in everyday life, and one of the main goals of our curricula.

(Written by Sweden)

Evaluation of the visit to Sweden

Sweden

The teachers answered Forms feedback questionary about the visit to Sweden.

1 = I strongly disagree
2 = I disagree
3 = I don´t disagree or agree
4 = I agree
5 = I strongly agree                                                                                            Average of answers

The visit to Sweden fulfilled the goals of the project.                                                   3,71

The content of the program was interesting and good.                                              3,86

The teachers had prepared their lessons well.                                                               3,86

I got new ideas on innovative teaching methods.                                                         2,86

I got new ideas on learning environments.                                                                      2,43

I got new ideas on ‘pupils as active learners’.                                                                 2,57

I know how the Swedish school system works.                                                               4

 

The teachers gave Finnish school grade to the visit.

Arviointi2

Teachers’ comments:

Posted by Kati Ahlqvist, Armfelt school, Salo, Finland.

Visit in Sweden – Bruksskola, Åtorpsskolan and Stora Valla

Visit in Sweden 11. – 15.12.2017

Posted by: Minna Kirsi-Lahti, Rita Keskitalo, Kati Ahlqvist, Heli Meriläinen

This SWOT-analyses is based on our observations and the many discussions we had with both teachers and students in the schools we visited. At some point we might have got the wrong impression and we would appreciate if you gave your comments in the end and corrected the parts in which we were mistaken.

Strengths:

We were impressed with the co-teaching system at Bruksskolan. The classes were relatively small, and having two teachers working there simultaneously was a great asset. The system was also very flexible, i.e. the teachers could divide the class in two, and plan their methods etc. according to the needs of the students in each group. Giving the aims of the lesson explicitly at the beginning provided the classes with a clear structure.

At the secondary school we visited, the classes were organised so that every class was divided into two groups in most subjects. The actual teaching groups could well have only 14-16 students each. This made the teaching effective since the teacher had the time and resources to help every student individually.

We also admired the professional take the school assistants had to their work. They actively sought out students who needed help and stayed at their side during the classes. There was a high number of immigrant students in the classes and the assistants and good learning materials paved their way into the Swedish school system. The number of immigrant students and the way they were helped contributed to the multicultural atmosphere in the classrooms. We got a genuine feeling of equality.  We also witnessed some incidents where a student was not behaving appropriately, but these cases were handled calmly and without extra drama. Overall, the students behaved politely and gave a very positive impression of themselves. The relationship between the students and the teachers seemed to be warm and open.

In addition, we found the first teacher-system we were told about an excellent idea. The system of professional development through reading, discussion, trying out different methods and evaluating the experiences was impressive. The Swedish teachers really seemed to be interested in improving their work!

Finally, we would like to mention the school lunches that were versatile, healthy and delicious.

Weaknesses:
Although our impression was, on the whole, a very positive one, there were some weaknesses as well. Some of them had to do with the physical surroundings in the schools we visited. Especially in Stora Vallaskolan, the classrooms weren’t exactly cosy. In some classrooms at both schools, the students were sitting alone just facing the teacher (although there might have been a sound pedagogical reason for this). Overall, there didn’t seem to be many opportunities to stand up and move during the lessons.

We also paid attention to the lack of technology used in the schools we visited, for example the students weren’t allowed to use their own devices in class. This might render achieving the so called 21st century skills more challenging.

On the human resources side, we found the lack of special needs teachers and a school secretary a drawback. The secondary school was also lacking qualified teachers in some subjects. We were told that this is an even bigger problem in some other parts of Sweden. Especially in the big cities, there are also problems with too big classes.

Opportunities:
We found the Swedish system also had some opportunities for further development. For example, the learning environments could be modified to be better suited for different learning themes, e.g. in music or art.

During the breaks, especially the long ones in the middle of the day, students could be involved in organising different activities (cf. school on the move: www.liikkuvakoulu.fi/English). In addition, the lessons could benefit from a more active approach: students could move more freely in the classroom for example when they need to get handouts, glue or other equipment. We have also noticed satisfactory results in a more active way of learning and teaching; especially students with special needs benefit from all kind of action in the lessons. They sometimes need to get the energy out in order to learn and concentrate better.

There could also be more co-operative learning in small groups since there were enough professionals and room available for this. There were also students who were more advanced than the others, they could act as ‘peer teachers’. Overall, the means of differentiation could be further developed. There were a lot of techniques that we could see being used already, such as the use of assistants, folding screens etc., but perhaps more could be done in terms of the content and methods (or possibly is done already, but we didn’t get the chance to see it).

Threats:
As much as we admired the co-teaching system in Bruksskolan, there might be an inherent problem there as long as the teachers themselves can’t decide who their co-teacher pair is. In most cases cooperation is undoubtedly fruitful, but what about when it is not a match made in heaven? We also feared that the skilful, more advanced students might suffer with the classes where teaching is organised in terms of the weakest students. This might lead to boredom and underachievement.

In other parts of Sweden there are perhaps different threats: are some schools with lots of immigrant students and big classes becoming something parents are starting to avoid? The ranking lists, and perhaps the national exams, published about schools may contribute to this school shopping phenomenon.

………………………………………………

6  things we would like to have in our schools too

  1. Co-teaching system
  2. Professional school assistants
  3. Feeling of equality in multicultural classrooms
  4. Polite students
  5. First teacher-system
  6. Delicious school lunch

…………………………………………………..

Finally, we would like to thank all the teachers, the principals, and the assistants at Bruksskolan and Stora Vallaskolan  for welcoming us so warmheartedly. Especially Linda, Inger, Erina, Malin, Annelie, Bettina and Lars never grew tired of answering our questions and taking care of us.  We learned so much during the week, tusen tack alla!

 

 

 

 

Greetings from Armfelt school!

Before Christmas holiday 15 students of Armfelt school gathered together to start their first assignment in Nordic Go! -project. These pupils are on the 7th grade (they are 13 years old) and everyone is in the same class, 7K. This class is a ”Luma-class” which means that the students share a common interest in science. A group picture was taken and they thought about things they would want to know about Iceland. We all wish you a Happy New Year 2018!

Written by Kati Ahlqvist

Sweden – Bruksskola, Åtorpsskolan & Stora Valla

December 11 – Bruksskolan & Åtorpsskolan

Bruksskolan

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We were welcomed by the teachers and after that we were escorted by three students around the school and they were very well prepared and seemed to enjoy themselves.

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Åtorpsskolan

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There are 59 students in Åtorpsskolan and about 10 – 12 teachers. The students are in grades 0 – 6 and some of the classes are taught together because the students are so few.

The values of the school are grounded in inclusion and the effort of everyone contributing to the well-being of themselves and others. Everyone is encouraged to give one another chance to work in peace and quiet, and help each other in every way.

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The school wants every student to feel that they are secure and an important part of the school community. The students are encouraged to treat others as they would like to be treated themselves.

December 12 – Bruksskola, Degerfors

When we arrived at Brukskola we entered the 6th grade class and listened to the advent calendar with the class. The advent calendar is broadcast-ed via the radio so that every student in Sweden can start the day by listening to the story.  Then the teachers picks a student, at random, that will open the next window and he/she tells the class what that window reveals and shares with his/hers class mates.

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Linda (the teacher) and Heli (a teacher from Finland) are collaborating on a project between those two classes. They focus of the project is that students share a bit about themselves via video and are therefore able to get to know each other culture. The Swedish students watch the video from the Finnish students and they seem to like what they see. Then Linda shows a selection of videos from the Swedish students and the plan is to send the video the Finnish students after Christmas.

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There are 20 students in Linda’s class and she co-teaches alongside Betina, and it’s quite interesting to see that there are always two teachers in each class. That makes it much easier to attain a calm atmosphere and each student gets more attention.

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Students had a choice of creating ornaments for their class Christmas tree or to continue with their math assignment. Erina came and collected two students at a time to create their plaster masks in the room next door. Instead of taking a whole class to make these masks the amount of student is controlled by dividing these two subjects and therefore the students get a lot more done. The students had fun making their masks and the next step is to decorate them.

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Inger showed us all the materials available in Sweden for students that study Swedish as a second language. When you enter the school system in Sweden as a foreigner you get eight weeks in a class that is all about teaching the students Swedish. During these eight weeks, students learn the basics of Swedish and that way the students are being prepared to enter the regular classes and should be more comfortable when they join their classmates in different subjects. Brukskola has seven students in these classes at this time. There are numerous books and tools that are available for the students in different subjects but for some reason many of these books are not utilized as they are meant to. The reason for them not being used after those eight weeks in all subjects is that there aren’t enough teachers not hours to put them to good use. After those eight weeks, the students attend one class a week with Inger where they continue to learn Swedish as a second language.

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As soon as you enter the school you are welcomed by a very warm and positive atmosphere. There are of course challenges that need to be dealt with, but Bruksskolan clearly cares about their students and that is apparent as soon as you enter the building.

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After the school-day was over we went to Kulturcentrum Berget in Degerfors. There we enjoyed a delicious Fika in the most welcoming cafe. Berget is a fantastic place to see all kinds of different Swedish handcraft and we had a great time there.

December 13 – Bruksskola

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The students of Bruksskola celebrated Lucia today and we were invited to the show. They have been practicing for quite some time and the show was a delightful one. After the festivities, the students were divided into groups and each group had a certain craft-task.

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Next stop was the Alfred Nobel museum in Karlskoga and the museum was amazing. So much history and the many pleasant surprises.

December 14 – Stora Valla

Stora Valla has about 300 students – 15 students in a group with one teacher. The headmaster told us he chose to use the resources of the school in that way instead of having bigger classes with help from extra teachers and assistants coming and going. In most places in Sweden the classes are bigger than in Stora Valla.

First we attended a chemistry class in the lab with 7th grade with Sara. Everyone was participating in the experiment and writing down their answers. There was no negativity and all the students seemed to be in a good mood.

We liked the music rooms a lot – they were very well equipped and spacious. We also enjoyed seeing the many staffrooms and the facilities the students have. The rooms are big with sofas, tables, televisions and more.

There is one special class in the school with five students. Those children are allowed to attend regular class when they can.

In the school there is a reception department for immigrant students. They have an introduction course for about eight weeks and they learn Swedish as a second language for about two more years. However, this is assessed individually. There is one Arabic teacher who works with Arabic speaking students in the classes and there are also teachers or assistants in some of the other languages that work part time.

December 15 – Bruksskola

Posted by: Anna Sigríður Eyjólfsdóttir, Þóra Skúladóttir, Ragnheiður Valgerður Sigtryggsdóttir Háteigsskóli, Reykjavík Iceland.