Friday, May 29, 2015

Mystery Skype with Odessa, Canada

The last Skype of the school year was yesterday afternoon and this time we went west to Canada and a little place called Odessa in Ontario. The teacher Brooke MacKinnon contacted me through Skype in the Classroom and we decided to let our students meet via the wonders of technology. Some of my students voluntarily stayed after school hours to be part of the session and they basically kept the questions going back and forth without much of my participation. A great session!

Here's a map of our hangouts/skypes this school year:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Snapshots from today - 7A describes taste and texture

Update: our friends in New Zealand made a video where they recorded their tasting session of the candy we sent to them. Here you can read more about it:

Today we have tasted some treats during the lesson - to my students' delight! The students wrote down, on their mini-whiteboards, the taste and texture and together we practised on how to describe just that accurately. I really like the idea with mini-whiteboards... simple, inexpensive but yet so important when it comes to giving every student "a voice". 

 This is what we tried - sweet, crunchy, soft, chewy and simply delicious treats!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Phrase of the week - To know something by heart

To know something "by heart" could mean that you know something so well that you know it perfectly. This is the phrase for the week for my classes!

Peek of the week 20 - The British Empire

Most people know that the British Empire covered many areas around the globe for a period of time. This week's "peek of the week" takes a look at the British Empire and tries to make a long story short. When was the empire at its height and what areas did in fact belong to Britain? 

Did you know that the British Empire was the largest empire in history? Did you know that it covered close to 25-30% of the world's land surface at one point in time? The British Empire was at its height in the late 19th century and early 20th. Some say that Britain was at its height in the year around 1920.  Three videos will enlighten you, a couple of them in quite a humoristic way, because in hindsight we can afford to do just that...


Colin Quinn makes a long story short! In quite a humoristic way. 

Here Bob Hale gives it a go...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Year 9 - for the lesson on Friday - "The USA - I have a dream"

Students - start at the white star with the blue background. The short story "Flowers", by Alice Walker, we'll have a look at next week (behind the white star with the red background).

year 7 - Taste and texture

Take a look at this video:

And here's an "oldie" goldie. Listen to HOW the Canadian kids describe taste and texture:

Next week I'll bring some treats to class and the idea is for you to taste them, describe the taste and texture by using appropriate and descriptive words.

Tasks for the lesson on Thursday:

1. Watch the two videos together in class - afterwards talk about the words used for describing tastes and textures.
2. Read through the vocabulary list: Vocabulary to describe food
and try to learn the meaning of the words.
3. What is your favorite food, and how would you describe it? What does it taste like and what is the texture like? (Write the answer in your note book or in a word document on your computer)
4. Also, read the following "mini-article" and take the quiz. Quiz

Best of luck! /Pernilla

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A world view of our hangouts/skypes and global collaborations these past few months

As this semester slowly comes to an end (three more weeks to go) I've started to summarize our global connections. Click the picture below to come to our world map with hangouts. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

No walls in the classroom - global collaboration with Australia

I've made a new global colleague in Katie Khoury, a teacher at Clancy Catholic College in West Hoxton, outside of Sydney in Australia. Due to the time difference we had difficulties in arranging a hangout between our students, so we decided to do something else. Katie let her students write down questions that they wanted answers to and here they are:

  • Do you have the opportunity to choose your subjects? If so, what are they?
  • Is English a compulsory subject in Sweden?
  • Explain how the school system works
  • Is it compulsory to wear a school uniform?
  • Are there different types of schools set up in Sweden, such as government and religious schools? If so, what is your school?
  • What type of education is offered to students when they leave school?
  • Are you allowed to choose the profession you want to study, or is this chosen for you?
  • Are there many opportunities for people to have jobs in Sweden?
  • What is a typical Swedish meal?
  • What are considered delicacies in Sweden?

  • What sports/activities do they offer at school?
  • What are some of the most popular sports in Sweden?
  • What is the most common type of sport played in Sweden?
  • Is there a national sport?
  • What are popular hobbies amongst young people?
  • What is the legal age for young people to learn to drive? drink alcohol? enter a nightclub? leave school?
  • Are there any festivals  / international events held in Sweden? If so, what are they? have you attended any?
  • Describe a typical weekend for someone your age

  • Weather
    • What is the weather currently like in Sweden?
    • Describe the fashion in Sweden
    • What is the most common religion in Sweden?
    • Is Sweden considered a religious country?
    • Is Sweden considered multicultural?
    • Are there any current issues / controversies taking place between Sweden and other countries?
    • Describe the seasons / climate in Sweden
    • What are some typical pets that Swedish people may have?
    • What are popular cars in Sweden?
    • What are some of the popular genres of music /artists/bands among young people?

    My students recorded a video (8th and 9th graders) and answered most of the questions above.... The video was appreciated and the Australian teenagers sent one back with answers to OUR questions. Here is their fantastic video of how their life at Clancy is like. (Some of my students haven't seen it yet, some have though, but I'm so impressed by it - great job!):

    Life in Australia (link to video)

    To make things even better, my students in year 8 are currently working with Australia and finding out more about the country. They are making video diaries about a trip they're making in the country and this fits right in - talk about "no walls" in the classroom. :)

    Monday, May 18, 2015

    Mystery Hangout with Napier, New Zealand - Kia ora!

    Kia ora!* We started off Monday morning with our next to last hangout of the school year. We have about three weeks left of school here in Sweden and we will have the last hangout on Thursday afternoon. I definitely hope to pick it up again in August/September, but I also need to put a new spin on it... 

    This morning we connected with an unknown country (for the students) and very early on one of my students said "their accent - it sounds like they're from Australia or New Zealand"...and soon enough we had guessed the right part of the world. As usual, it's trickier to track down the exact city/town/village, but when the 30 minutes were up we had found out that they were to be found on the east side of the North Island, in a place called Napier. The name of the school: Tamatea Intermediate School. The students' teacher, Kerri Thompson, had organized an evening with students and parents and there was an energetic vibe from the New Zealand classroom. Two girls sang a little song for us with some accompanying hand movements...what was that, Kerri? Would love to find out! :)

    Due to the big time difference it was 9.30 am in Sweden and 7.30 p.m. in New Zealand. So wonderful that we still could organize an event like this! Lovely! Here are some snapshots from the hangout:

    On our big screen

    Pinpointing New Zealand on the map

    Melanie and Isabella

    Lauri, Mukhtaar, Paolo, Lucas and a tiny hint of Liridona hard at work

     The wonderful Kerri Thompson

    The students had roles assigned to them

    From left: Liam, Felicia, Alma, Afnan, Isabella, Maya, Yasmin, Oden, Limar, Vanessa and Linda.

    Bye and thank you!!

    P.S. Next week we hope our surprise reaches the students in NZ... ;)

    * = a Maori greeting meaning "be well" or more casually "hi"

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    Q&A with Anyang, South Korea

    Today we re-connected with the students in South Korea (the ones we Mystery Skyped with last Wednesday) and asked questions about each others' cultures and life. Things we found out today was that the students in South Korea:

    * start school at the age of 7. A normal school day they start at 9 o'clock and finish at 4 o'clock, and afterwards they have something called "Academy" for three hours, every day. In other words, a South Korean student comes home late in the evening. 
    * get lunch for free at school, generally they eat a lot of vegetables, rice, soup, meat, pork and kimchi. The lunches are very healthy.
    * They have many subjects in school, like Math, Science, Art. P.E. and Chinese.
    * wear school uniforms
    * outside of school a typical teenager might dress in jeans, t-shirts, jerseys..
    * like kimchi and it's a very South Korean dish
    * think that Hyundai and Kia are two famous Korean car manufacturers. 
    * wear special traditional outfits for the holidays
    * were 14-15 years old

    The students in South Korea

    a Korean girl in a traditional Korean holiday dress

    a Korean boy in a traditional Korean holiday outfit

    Saying goodbye to us

    Thank you for skyping with us today!

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    Mystery Skype with Gryffe High School, Houston, Scotland

    For my 9 graders I had booked a Mystery Skype today. As usual, we asked yes/no-questions to try to determine where they were. During the Skyping...

    ...we found out that they

    * had bad weather - it was rainy
    * were in Europe
    * were in Great Britain
    * were in Scotland
    * were not in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Dundee
    * were close to the coast
    * were west of Glasgow
    * were not in a big city
    * were close to Paisley, west of Glasgow
    * were 12 years old

    From our end we could tell that the students looked very stylish and proper in their uniforms, and had a wonderful Scottish accent, of course!

    We're closing in on them.... :)

    The Scottish students at Gryffe High School

    Kani and Mona

    In our classroom

    Gryffe High School Emblem

    This is where we have traveled this far... a couple of places to add before we go on summer holiday.

    Sunday, May 10, 2015

    Phrase of the week - Curiosity killed the cat

    Peek of the week 19 - Mission US

    At the moment in my year 9 we're working on a project called "The USA - I have a dream". Among other things, the project includes learning about US history and then especially about the slavery and the Civil Right Movement. Mission US is a good interactive way of learning more history and I see it as a complement to the other material we have. There are four missions: For Crown or Colony - about life in the late 1700's and the Revolutionary war, Flight to Freedom - about a young teenage slave girl fighting slavery, A Cheyenne Odessey - the life of young Indian boy in the 1800's and City of Immigrants - about Lena, a Russian immigrant, and her starting a new life in the early 1900's in the US. I'll try it with my students next week.

    Saturday, May 9, 2015

    Mystery Skype with Greece

    We finished off the week with a Mystery Skype with my year 9 students. This was the first time that I hadn't prepared the students for the Skype session in advance...and that was a mistake for sure. Six students wanted to ask and answer questions and we came off to a good start, however, I was a bit disappointed in a couple of male students who didn't manage to keep an entirely good tone with our mystery guests. The students still managed to ask questions but preparation is indeed a good thing and my 7 graders got to prepare questions today for our Q&A session with South Korea next Wednesday - preparation is the key here. I'm sort of glad that things didn't fully work out according to my plans - I learned something from it and learning is awesome!

    Rebecca and Lola are asking the Greek students a couple of questions. A bit of the school yard in the background.

    The 17-year old Greek students

    Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    Mystery Skype with Anyang, South Korea

    This morning we had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Alyson Rudy and her students in Anyang, South Korea through Mystery Skype. I've done numerous Mystery Hangouts but this was the first time with Skype. It worked well until we got a problem with our loudspeakers and we had to continue with just the computer's sound, more difficult, but it worked out well. Unfortunately a couple of my students saw a South Korean flag in the back of Alyson's classroom so we quickly figured out that we were in South Korea. Next time we also have to make sure not to "give away" any clues. Alyson's students didn't have computers so we had an advantage there, but I think both sides used their mobile phones instead too and we both found out each others' cities after about 25 minutes.

    Thank you Alyson for this opportunity to travel halfway across the world! Next Wednesday we're connecting again to ask each other questions about our different cultures...looking forward to that indeed! :)

    Some pictures from today's Skype:

    Hi South Korea!

    Some of the questions we asked...
    A couple students used Google Maps in their quest for the location...

    From our end, year 7 students looking at the screen...

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    Peek of the week 18 - Great books for teenagers/young adults

    I encounter students on a weekly basis who say "I hate reading" or "I just can't focus on a book" ...times are changing - a great deal - and it's a fact that teenagers are becoming more digitally literate, but unfortunately more BOOK illiterate. I find this to be a necessary part of our digital evolution, however I also see it as a tragic part of a lost era where kids today are finding it hard to focus on a book, or anything else, for a longer period of time. 

    I still remember the books that I read as a nerdy teenager, the books that became a part of my daily life, the books that still linger with me because I was sucked into them and could never leave them, books that haunted me, books that taught me a valuable lesson or two, books that made me realize that there was a different, mesmerizing, world outside of my own room, books that I need to recommend to anyone reading this. Peek of the week 18 takes a look at GREAT books:

    Lord of the flies by William Golding

    The Body by Stephen King
     The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    The Wave by Todd Strasser

    The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

    A current favorite for the teenagers who actually ARE reading is this one. I haven't read it myself yet(but I've seen the movie and it's great!)

    What's your favorite teenage/young adult book?