Thursday, November 30, 2017

A few comments about our Skypeathon

Some of the highlights of our Skypeathon were the following: 

Visiting and being taken on a virtual tour at Fort Loudon in Tennessee by this mesmerizing guide.

Visiting students at Catholic High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A great dialog there..

Touching down in Puerto Rico where we met Darlene Colon and students. 

Playing Mystery Skype with Mr Westermark and adorable pupils in Wales..

Talking with journalist Hannah Engberg in Sweden

and being met by the enchanting smile of Iro Stefopoulou in Birmingham, England

to be updated ....

Monday, November 27, 2017

Our schedule for Skypeathon - November 28, 2017

Tomorrow it's time for a 12-hour Skypeathon for my English 5 and English 6 students. A day filled with many calls to various parts of the world, but also time for socializing and bonding. Here is a preliminary schedule with planned calls. 

Mystery Skype with Burdur, Turkey

They say "third time's a charm" and I suppose that's true with our Mystery Skype with Turkey. After two failed attempts of trying to connect we finally managed to connect without major malfunctions this morning. Some students were questioners and answerers and a few others used Google Maps to search for the location. In 35 minutes we managed to guess country, town and name of high school. Harun Cifti was the teacher in charge in the Turkish classroom - thank you! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mystery Skype with students in Bilbao, Spain

Today we had an opportunity to mystery Skype with students from the north of Spain, Bilbao, and much to the delight of my students we had a fantastic time asking and answering questions! Catrina MacDonald was guiding the Spanish students. We saw this session as a preparation for our Skypeathon which is put in motion on November 28 at 12 pm. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Snapshots from this week

Preparing for Skypeathon

It is a very hectic time right now as I am in the process of planning a Skypeathon on November 28. This time around we will Skype for 12 hours and we will partly conduct some calls in English and some in Swedish. Also, we are more broad this time,  in the sense that we have tried to engage guest lecturers who work in sectors connected to media and communication (e.g. journalists, writers, social media experts). Not so many schools this time and we have tried to match our students with students of the same age to increase the interest.  Now, in the latter part of the planning process, I have one-two slots to fill and then we are ready to rumble!!! Year 1 and 2 of the media and communication program are involved. More news to come shortly...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Skyping and exchanging goodies with Texas

From left: Nina, Amanda, Zainab, Marcus and Isabella and the rest of SA17P in the background. 
Two weeks ago we sent a package containing some candy, brochures, school mercandise to an (for the students) unknown destination. Today was the day to connect through Skype and to open our packages during that session. Five students were randomly selected to be in front of the monitor and to open the package. The goodies can be seen in the last picture below. The clues in the package lead the students to quickly assume that the country was the USA and the state Texas. Then we needed a little bit of help to figure out that the other students were located a little north of Dallas. 

The students north of Dallas in Texas

Getting the taste of Djungelvrål (it doesn't seem like they like it?!):

Some of the things from the package: 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Global Read Aloud - A Monster Calls

Last week we kicked off this year's GRA (Global Read Aloud) with the title "A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness. This year we collaborate with Canada and the USA through the use of Flipgrid topics and it's such a hit! My students have recorded presentations and predictions and are now moving on towards analyzing the relationship between Lily and the main character Conor.

So far, we've seen videos from students in Washington state, Iowa, New York state, Texas, Florida, Ohio, California, Ontario and Manitoba, Canada.

Here are some examples of Flipgrid videos:

Friday, September 1, 2017

Skype Master Teacher

And there it my mailbox...the message that I had been selected as a new Skype Master Teacher, what a wonderful way to finish this week before heading home. Thankful to have been selected and looking forward to many more Skype sessions this school year. I have already started to plan a little for our Skypeathon in late November... :) 

Monday, August 28, 2017

No Limits - a theme project in EN 6

In English 6 we started the year with the theme project "No Limits," with the idea of connecting the theme to the street art festival No Limit that will take place in Borås in a week. Ten street artists will arrive here and paint murals/make installations that will enhance the cultural impact of the city. I saw this as a good way of incorporating the real world with the local community into a project that would focus on limits or the lack thereof. So far, my students have prepared smaller presentations about the artists which they will present to the rest of the class during next lesson. After that we will turn the attention to limited writing (drabbles) and limitless writing (stream of consciousness). The artworks found around the city will be the inspiration for the writing tasks. Finally, putting an end to the project, the students will get to individually record their thoughts about a "world without limitations - pros and cons" using Flipgrid.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert - I've become an MIEE!

Yes, I'm a little bit happy right now, because I was chosen as one of the many Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts for 2017-2018. Feels good!! :)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Flipgrid presentation

Have not used FlipGrid yet? Well, try now! Here is a presentation in case you are not still familiar with the awesome video response platform.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Tip of the day: add to the students vocabulary

I was watching a very good series on Netflix yesterday (Hostages) and kept my hands busy at the same time by carving a little on my pencils and adding some words in black ink. The idea is for my students to borrow pencils during the lessons (someone is always in need of one!) and to learn a new word that day. Or, if nothing else, it will make it easier for me to keep track of my pencils. :)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Classroom screen - this I will give a try in August

On Facebook I saw that Patricia Diaz recommended "Classroom Screen" and after taking a look I do think it's something that I can use in my classroom, starting in August. Usually I have made good use of the whiteboard but since I'm using my computer every lesson it would probably be a good idea to use this to project onto the board instead. I like the features that you can use but also hope for more neutral backgrounds as they might be a bit distracting from the content.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

End of year reflections

The school year has come to an end and I am off on my summer break tomorrow. Looking back on the year I have a few comments to make.

For me, this school year has been fantastic in many ways. First of all, I got the chance to start at Bäckängsgymnasiet, the biggest high school in town with around 520 students, in August as of last year. I have taught five courses in English and gotten to know many wonderful students and teachers along the way. The year has given me possibilities of working with new and old digital tools and to emphasize the importance of evaluating sources even more than before. My love for English has grown deeper and the zest for evolving as a teacher is as big as it will probably ever get!

The biggest event of the year was the Skypeathon that took place in March. It was an enormous task of organizing the close to 35 calls with regards to classes, groups, staff, time differences, continents and so on, but we managed and it was a huge success! In November we will give it another shot, this time however looking at around 12 hours and not 24. More about this in the fall.

When it comes to digital tools used during the year, I often return to my favorites Canva, ThingLink, Kahoot, Socrative, Google Forms and Presentations, Sway and Flipgrid. Right now I am a Flipgrid ambassador and I am trying to spread the word about the great tool as much as my energy levels right now allow me. If you want to try Flipgrid you can enter the code PERNILLA to get a FREE upgrade to Fligrid Classroom. The promotion is valid to September 30.

My objectives for the next school year is to work even more with digital tools and I am also looking forward to going back to teaching History again! Another thing on my list is to take a university course about ICT and languages. The Global Read Aloud awaits in October (reading "A Monster Calls" by Patrick Ness and then in November the Skypeathon, to name but a few things....

But now, I am closing down the laptop for the summer and I will be back in early August again...

With that said, I wish you...

ever! :) /Pernilla

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Snapshot from today - the bookmarks

I have to admit that I like laminating things, and the latest to go through the machine were the bookmarks that the previous entry showed. New ideas pop up once in a while so there are also always something new to it!

Friday, June 9, 2017

The final Skype session of the school year - Dunkirk and Joshua Levine

The final Skype session of the school year was guest lecturer Joshua Levine, British author, barrister, actor and historian. He has currently worked as historic advisor on Christopher Nolan's new film "Dunkirk," due for release this summer. We had a chance today to ask him questions about the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940, the Second World War in general, the significance of the event on world history and the shooting of the film. Levine told us that Harry Styles did a good job as soldier in the upcoming film and that was to the delight of a few of my students... :) We were left with the impression of an extremely vivacious (despite the early hour and the British general election) man with a wide field of expertise about World War II. What a great Skype year it has been! 

Majken, Emilie and Tilly listening to Mr Levine.

Joshua Levine telling us about the trick with the wooden soldiers on the filmning of Christopher Nolan's movie"Dunkirk".

The director himself and Harry Styles on the set. Joshua Levine at the bottom of the picture. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Some very good educational channels on YouTube

Some of my favorite channels on YouTube have a good focus on the educational aspect. Here is my current top ten list: 

* Ted Ed
* Tedx Youth
* Tedx
* Amy Poehler's Smart Girls
* SoulPancake
* Upworthy
* Anglophenia
* Story Corps
* Mental Floss
* Crash Course

Last lesson - a fun music quiz with focus on people and places

I put together a playlist with some songs where names of places or people are mentioned in the lyrics as a last lesson challenge for my students. Quite fun and also a bit difficult for them....nice prizes to be awarded to the winner... :)

Self-nomination for Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I'm a Flipgrid ambassador!

I'm honored to have been chosen as one of the Summer 2017 Class of Flipgrid ambassadors. I really like Flipgrid and it will be something that I will use quite frequently to be able to give all my students a voice. In class today I was having my students record their answers and reflections to a short story they had read. Before that I used it to document my students reflections on gun control in the USA or as a follow-up to a news article about Botox. It can be used for so many things and I will return to how I have used it in more detail as time allows. #flipgridfever

Friday, May 19, 2017

Snapshot - there are some national tests to correct and assess....

Pile shows all the national tests I have to correct and assess within three weeks. Around 580 tests = 10 minutes á 580 = 5800 minutes = close to 97 hours = more than two whole weeks of work. I get three days "off" to work my way through the pile....then it's up to me! But, wait, I am supposed to still have all my lessons and to keep doing everything else on top of this? I sure am! It's indeed a crazy situation, one that needs to improve! 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Non-fiction reading comprehensions - a few tips

The last few lessons of the school year in English 5 we will devote to reading comprehensions, and especially the non-fictional variety. I am giving my students a selection of different kinds of reading comprehensions, and some of them I have taken from this excellent web site: E reading worksheets

Here is one about the Maginot Line

and finally one about Nutrition Facts

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Snapshot from today - writers through time and place

Starting tomorrow the national tests for English 5 kick off with the writing test. On Friday the same procedure for the students in English 6. At the same time I am starting the first part of the final project in English 6 by giving them a picture of a famous person. Their job is to find out who the person is and to present their findings in a keynote accompanied by a voice-over. A critical evaluation of the sources used should also be included. Handing out the pictures I quickly understood that the majority of the writers were unknown to them, only Shakespeare and Churchill were subjects for identification. Below a few of the ones I handed out.
From top left to bottom right: Alice Walker, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison, Arundhati Roy and Oscar Wilde.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Snapshot from Today - Quiz Quiz Trade Cards

Slowly I am integrating collaborative learning techniques during our lessons. Quiz Quiz Trade cards are a favorite right now to start off a lesson or to activate the students in the middle of one. General questions about school, learning and student life to get some interaction going and learn more about each other - and themselves. Next I will make cards with questions and given answers (like vocabulary, grammar queries). So far, it has been an appreciated segment of the lesson. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Test your information literacy skills - the Eiffel Tower Challenge

We are in the process of assessing and evaluating sources but at the same time we are also taking a look at information literacy and how that literacy can be increased in the classroom. Here is one first task to complete - test your skills with the Eiffel Tower Challenge. When you are done - try the Lego challenge. Be prepared to describe how you went about finding out the answers.

Task 1 - the Eiffel Tower Challenge

Task 2 - origin of LEGO

Preparing for the national tests - things to have a look at before the tests

Click HERE for preparation material for the national tests. 

In the material you will find 1. Reporting verbs 2. Linking words and phrases (sentence connectors) and 3. Useful phrases for oral interaction - giving and asking for opinions. Have a look at all of them as they will be useful for the writing and speaking tests. There will be more preparation in class when we meet. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Asking for opinions + giving opinions - phrases for oral interaction

In English 5 we have focused on oral interaction - discussions - for a couple of lessons. Often we have taken a look at a short film and then discussed the content, characters, theme and/or message of the film. The discussions have been good and generally students have been very proficient in stating their own opinions. However, I see a need of getting the students more engaged when it comes to interacting, asking for other people's opinions and ideas. Consequently, I put together a list of phrases (with linkings to the source) that will come in handy before we have our next session with oral interaction.