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.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Shakespearean insults - my addition

We have been working with Shakespeare for a couple of lessons now and today it was time to record ourselves throwing insults around, as a way of playing around with some of Shakespeare's special words. Here is my version of an insult, recorded using the phenomenal digital recording tool FlipGrid.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New header!

I was a bit tired of my old blog header so I decided to change it. The new one features some pictures of things essential to me and my classroom. Hope you like it!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Shakespearean insults - Snapshots from today

I am currently preparing for a literary history theme in my English 6 course, and, naturally, William Shakespeare will pop his nose in to say "hello"! So, while looking for some good sources I bumped into this page collecting Shakespearean insults. Some great insults to be found here - lol-funny indeed! This gave me an idea so now I am prepping for a lesson on just Shakespearean insults!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Skolvärlden writes about our Skypeathon

Click on the screen shot below to access the article. 

Student poem - inspired by the art of Alice Pasquini


The city was alive. My eyes burned as I watched the bright neon lights lovingly mingle with the dark clouds. Intimacy. It’s been a long time. I inhaled, and the city exhaled, we’re one and the same. In sync. I am the bird and sky above, the buildings my nest and roots below. 

I was alone, strictly speaking, but I wasn’t lonely, there were others before but they left; plucked by the invisible hand. They were not clever enough; I am. I will not be culled, I will fly. I am a mind and the city is my body. My thoughts resonate with the city, and as the fire flows in my veins, so do the blurred streaks of light throughout the streets, and the growing, blaring sounds of traffic were but a soft murmur, a lullaby. 

It is time. Wings spread, aflame. The people will look up to the charred sky and finally see the stage concealed by this curtain of blue. This is my inferno, my final act of defiance. To set the world ablaze is to end myself, but I am prepared. 

I can feel time becoming physical, it bends, breaks, and loops back on itself. This is where I stay, in a fall where I miss the ground. The wind whistles past my ears and smears the world around me, the city is running paint on a canvas. However, I am no longer part of this composition. I am not the subject, I am not the paint, and I am not the artist. I am the madman and his flame; burning this masterpiece. 

The invisible hand is helpless, a lost child sobbing for its mother, but these cries of an orphan are wasted; resounding across the cold concrete, a mute echo. The hand cries wolf, and nothing cries back. 

I’ve crossed the line, the event horizon, I can no longer escape and neither can the city. What was once a lullaby is now a cacophonic elegy. The smoldering remains of the hand laments and so does the city, but one mourns the revolution and one mourns the martyr. 

The flame has died, and only now may the ashes settle.

Poem by student in English 5

Friday, March 17, 2017

A quick summary of our Skype sessions and our Skypeathon

The map of documented Skype calls currently looks like this:

Documented calls from our Skypeathon - March 16-17 2017:

Call #1:
The first connection turned out to be Sara Gunneriusson, an English/Biology teacher at Bäckängsgymnasiet - due to the snow storm that hit the eastern coast of the USA - our original call was canceled and the next best thing was our own shining star Mrs Sara. With lots of vivacity she engaged the students and set a great standard for the calls to come.

Sara Gunneriusson and students - call #1

Call #2:
Marine geophysicist Dr. Kelly Hogan at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK, was our second call and she quickly gave us a lot of information about her research and the state of the polar ice and glaciers.

Kelly Hogan, call #2

Call #3:
Our third call went to Melanie LeJeune and her students at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana. My students were very happy to talk to students their own age and they got many informative answers to their questions. We hope to do something more with these students in the future.
A photo from the Louisiana side of things....

The students at St. Louis Catholic High School in Louisiana on the screen in the background, call #3

Call #4:
Jennifer Nolan greeted us from a wintery Maine and we were quickly drawn into her enthusiastic way of stressing the importance of the oceans and sea animals. Great call.

Jennifer Nolan, call #4

Call #5:
After a few trial calls with technological mishaps, we were happy to see everything working like clockwork when connecting with Dee Stonis and her students at Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts in Park Forest, Illinois.

Dee Stonis and students, call #5

Call #6: 
Nathan Doerr, at Wyoming State Museum, welcomed us in an entertaining and educational Mystery Skype manner which we took to heart.

Nathan Doerr, call #6

Call #7: 
Next thing on the list was to visit Dan Horton and his students at Broadway High School in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Students in Virginia, call #7

Call #8:
At 5 pm it was time to focus even further west and we connected easily with Vicky Trevino and students at Colegio San Patricio in Monterrey, Mexico. It just happened to be a Twin Day for them (during Spirit Week) so some students were dressed up in similar outfits. They sang their national anthem and persuaded us to do the same. 

Call #9: 
Chrissy Gregg was nice to escort us around the World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. She showed us planes and war memorabilia while being very hospitable during this Q&A/Virtual Field Trip-session. Thank you! :) 

Call #10:
Next up was a Mystery Skype and the students quickly understood that we were dealing with the USA again. Questions back and forth until we had pinpointed them at North Plainfield High School, North Plainfield, New Jersey. Kelli Beard was teacher in charge on the American side.
New Jersey students on the screen, call #10

Call #11:
My American colleague and fellow teacher Rick Bleemel was helping us out and let us touch down with him north of Dallas in Texas. He revealed that he is cheering for Notre Dame in College basketball and (I think) they actually beat their opponents in the latest game. Yay! One student asked what his favorite historical era is (he is a History/Geography teacher) and I believe he said "the American Revolution."

Call #12: 
We turned a little east for the next call with friend Kelly Fykes and students in Vero Beach, Florida. We played a Mystery Skype version and it took a little time to find them on the east coast of FL. Great questioners and answerers. Always a pleasure Kelly! :)

Students from NA16F were in charge of this call, call #12.

Call #13:
I had arranged a session with Debra Erdmann and her students and today Veralice Estrada helped out in actually going through with the activity. We could find the students at Oxnard High School about one hour's drive north of Los Angeles. Excellent questions were asked on both parts, with special focus on political systems, and it sure was fun to be able to get an insight into the differences between the schools.

A look into a classroom at Oxnard High School in Oxnard, California.

Call #14: 
You could tell that Yellowstone ranger Greg Malloure was used to educational and informational sessions with students telling us about the importance of the national parks and Yellowstone in particular. The students learned that Wyoming is the least populated state in the US with around 600,000 inhabitants.

Call #15:
Our first (and only this time) visit with Canada came true through Dean Vendramin, teacher at O'Neill Catholic High School in Regina, Saskatchewan. I sent over a few questions from my students to his last week and earlier this week we received answers in a flip grid. Next week I will make sure my students answers with flip grids of their own. Thank you helping us out, Dean!

In between sessions this happened:

Call #16:
Is a canceled call still is a call? Well, if it is then we connected with Hampton High School in Hampton, Nevada. But, we really didn't, because our call wasn't picked up. :(

Call #17:
Kerri Thompson is wonderfully creative teacher that I come back to now and then since she is so committed in using digital tools. Her colleagues Alastair and Debbie joined in while we played Mystery Skype/Q&A with students at Tamatea Intermediate School in Napier, New Zealand. Love their uniforms and manners!

Students at Tamatea Intermediate, Napier, NZ. Call #17

Call #18:
Brian Johnson is also a teacher that I have come back to, because we share a common interest in digital tools and collaborations. He graciously answered my students' questions and gave us book tips (he's also a librarian). Brian lives in Arkansas, USA.

Brian Johnson, call #18

Call #19:
As March 16 turned into March 17 we connected with Richard McLaren and his students at Shirley Boys' High School in Christchurch in New Zealand.

Call #20:
Juneau and Alaskan resident Sam Jordan answered many questions about life in that part of the USA. We saw a snow-covered landscape behind him and learned that he moved to Alaska a few years back, from New England. This summer Sam and his family will tour Scandinavia and visit Sweden for a few days. Therefore, he asked what kind of food dish he should eat while here and the answer was a quick "meatballs!". What to avoid? Fermented herring.

Sam Jordan in Juneau, Alaska. Call #20.

Call #21:
Call #21 was another call that never really became a call. This time confusion about the time and other school activities hindered us from connecting. Melbourne, Australia would have been the destination but this time it was a no go. Unfortunately.

Some singing occurred when a call didn't go through:

Call #22: 
At 2 am we called up Daniel Parsons in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for a tour of the battleship USS Missouri (aka Big Mo), involved in the attacks on Iwo Jima and Okinawa among other things. The virtual field trip was very professional and we could tell that they had lots of experience in conducting educational field trips.

Call #23:
My old-time friend Désirée Harton Gold agreed to help us out with a vacant slot in the middle of the night. It was 9 pm in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she lives, as we connected and got talking about her life as a pastor, American values and the political climate. We have been friends for about twenty years but it was fifteen years since I heard her voice and got to see her "live" again. So thankful for this opportunity Désirée!

Call #24: 
St. Mary's International School in Tokyo, Japan was next. But somehow there must have been confusion about the time because they thought we would call an hour earlier than what we had planned for. So, this time no Japanese connection but we hope for a rain check.

Call #25:
3 x Olympian aerial flyer Emily Cook called us up at 4 am and despite being utterly tired my students managed to ask her interesting questions about her life. Emily was in high spirits and we felt so lucky to be able to meet her like this. Emily told us about how to persevere and not give up even when the going gets tough as an athlete.

Call #26: 
Malaysia was our next Mystery Skype and we connected with Kidurong High School in Borneo, Malaysia. Maggie Muuk was in charge of the call. Unfortunately we experienced some technical difficulties and had to call back many many times after the connection broke down. Still, we felt lucky to have added Asia and Malaysia on our virtual world trip. Thank you!

Call #27: 
The Mitahato Education Development Fund was in charge of this call where we got to learn more about Kenyan Food Culture and recipes. Kiambu, Kenya was the place we connected with and they were two hours ahead of us. Corn flour is a staple in Kenya and we compared that to the wheat flour status here in Sweden.

Call #28:
New Delhi, India was the next place and this call became short and I have to say that we had some problems understanding each other and energy was really lacking at this point in time. Still, my students managed to pull through - great effort!

Call #29:
Early Friday morning we turned our attention towards our own country, Sweden. A Mystery Skype was on the agenda and it sure was fun to see how the Swedish students reacted when they found at that they were both in Sweden. Borlänge was the town, Hagagymnasiet the school and Annika Karlin the teacher in charge. Great fun!
Students at Hagagymnasiet in Borlänge, Sweden. Call #29.

Call #30: 
Our next call, scheduled at 9.30 am, was with the Swedish minister for Upper Secondary School and Adult Education and Training (such a short title!) Anna Ekström. Some students felt an added nervousness in talking to a member of the government but the questions they asked were well thought through and the minister gave them good and comprehensible answers. An added bonus was that the minister's political advisor was Marcus Strinäs, a former alumni of Bäckängsgymnasiet.

Call #31
Anders Jacobsson, writer of many very popular Swedish tween books connected with us at 10 am on Friday morning. The students in SA16M had been fortunate to get to read his new unpublished manuscript and this was an opportunity for them to connect and give him some feedback on that script before it gets published.

Anders Jacobsson talks to the students, call #31.

Call #32:
As some of my students are prospective writers and journalists I thought it would be a good idea for them to speak to a well-known journalist. As luck would have it, I was happy to get hold of Håkan Steen, free-lance journalist/music editor at Aftonbladet and at 10.30 am we reached him for a 20-minute interview. He was a wonderful interviewee as he explained his career path and music interest to the students. His favorite artist? David Bowie. Best concert? Probably Håkan Hellström.

Swedish music editor and journalist Håkan Steen.

Call #33:
Tobias Rosvall, digital manager at Bonnier Broadcasting, works with sports in Stockholm. He got the students to talk about what his job entitles and he Skyped with us from C more's tv-studio.

Call #34: 
The final call of the Skypeathon was to Brighton College in Brighton, UK. Richard Grice talked about his previous experience of working with nuclear weapons and how he changed his career into teaching physics. A great way to end our 24-hour Skypeathon.