Author Archives: jahekkanen

The 4th GEC Conference in Beijing

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The 4th GEC Conference was held in Beijing from 15th to 16th of June 2016. The Finnish team arrived in Beijing on 9th of June. They had one day for sightseeing and from 10th to 16th of June they worked with their Chinese partners. Minna’s partner was English teacher Kathy from Shenzhen, Raini’s partner English teacher Sienna from Beijing and Jaana’s partner English teacher Yiwen from Beijing. They all worked in pairs with the group of Chinese 5th Graders. Tiina took part in the conference as keynote speaker, interviewer and commentator.

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Global Education Community (GEC) organised the international conference in the new school campus of Zhongguancun No. 3 Primary School. The new campus was opened only 100 days before, so we were invited to visit a brand new school. We liked the architecture of the school much as well as we were happy to see how much group working spaces they had, how well they had paid attention on co-working by having the openable walls between two classrooms and also how they had moved teachers’ desk next to each other so teachers were able to work together in the common lobby.

The view from classrooms was also beautiful and through the wide windows the sunlight came inside. Outside they had also a nice garden where the students could learn to take care of plants, flowers, vegetables and trees. On the second floor they had also a big sports arena where the students played football.


To improve the air inside they had also thousands of plants. On the second day we got to know that every student has his or her own plant and it was their job to take care of the plants. We also got to know that all plants were risen by students. That’s why we saw many cuttings all over the school.

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Raini, Jaana, Minna and Tiina also visited other schools nearby. Those schools were older, but for us they offered a lot to see and it was also nice to meet other students and talk with them. Almost all spoke very good English and they also translated well, if someone didn’t understand. In one of the schools 6th Graders’ had also a show, where they song, danced, had a talk show in Chinese and played traditional musical instruments. For us it was nice to notice that old traditions were very important also in Chinese schools.


In the schools students used iPads, but BYOD method was totally new thing for students, because they were not allowed to bring their own mobile phones or other devices into school. However, for us the most interesting device was found in the library: students were able to load e-books on their own devices by using a QR code. Great idea! This could be suitable for Finnish schools, too.

Sightseeing in Beijing


During the 4th GEC Conference in Beijing Minna, Tiina, Raini and Jaana had one day and one afternoon to go sightseeing. At first they visited the Forbidden City.  The temperature was around +30 Celsius Degrees and the sun was shining. As a great surprise for everyone the sky was bright and we could see the clouds, too.

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The Forbidden City was amazing and huge! We loved all the old buildings, the beautiful decorations and paintings and also the history of the area was interesting. During the tour our guide translated the history information into English that helped us to understand the history of the area better.

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On the another afternoon Minna and Jaana visited the Lama Temple. In the Lama Temple their guide told a lot of Buddhism and they saw many different Buddha Statues. The highest one was 18 metres high. Their guide also told that it was one of the highest Buddha Statues in Beijing.

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After visiting the Lama Temple Minna and Jaana took a short, 15 minutes tour in Hutong area. Their guide told them that usually people who have small shops or restaurants nearby live in Hutong area. Their guide also recommend to taste the speciality called Honey milk. It was delicious, sweet and sour at the same time!


During these tours the volunteer students from Beijing Universities helped conference visitors and told us information about sights, Beijing, China, Chinese traditions and helped us also to find a taxi back to the hotel. Sometimes we also took a riksa taxi and yes, it was enough big for five people.


Volunteers also recommended us the good restaurants and the traditional Chinese food. It was a great opportunity to taste different foods and get to know more about the food traditions.

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On the last school day 53 students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School worked with the project with the theme of planes and the flying effect. During the introduction we watched together a picture about the plane. Teachers asked students to think and answer which parts are the most important while the plane is in the air. They answered wings, elevator and rudder. Then we talked a little bit why the elevator and the rudder are important, how the plane can land, how does to shape of the plane affect to the flying effect, which forces affect to plane and also  we talked about the shape of the wings. All students made a wing by using their hands. Almost all students knew that the bottom of the wing is straighter and the top of the wing is curved. Then we rehearsed how the air moves above and below the wing and how it is related to the flying effect.

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After the introduction teachers told students what they will do next. They had heard before that they will have a possibility to fold planes on the last school day, but before they started to fold their planes they watched one example video. After that teachers told them about the schedule and they started their action.

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At first all students had to decide which material they would use. Almost all decided to use printer paper that was easy to fold and it was light enough.

Students were allowed to use their own phones to find ideas how to fold planes. The most of them found instructions from Google or YouTube. After getting an idea what kind of plane they designed their own plane and folded it.

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During folding the planes they were also allowed to test their planes in the PE class where the final competition was organised lately. After testing they knew how their plane glided and got ideas how to improve their planes. Many students folded several planes and tested them to get to know which one is the best.

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After one hour planes were finished and decorated. For us as teachers it was nice to notice that almost all students liked more to fold planes than to decorate them. They used a lot of time to make their foldings better and they tested their planes many times before the competition instead of colouring them.

The competition with only one throw per student took 20 minutes with 53 students. However, this project worked well and students learned many new theoretical things about planes and the flying effect.

Next Jaana will implement the same kind of project in Beijing with her chinese co-worker Yiwen.

– Jaana, Petri and 53 students, Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, Finland –

The Project of planes and flying

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Students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School has been working with the theme of planes and flying during the past two weeks. At first all students got a few questions about the theme. Then they found knowledge by using their own devices. All founded knowledge they wrote down on the mind maps on Popplet. After that they shared their knowledge and we made together a common Popplet mind map and some students also wanted to add a few pictures and YouTube-videos into the map to give more information.

Our co-workers in Beijing has done the same last week. The next step in Finland is to fold planes and measure how far they fly. This will be organised this week before the summer break.

Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School

Collaboration across the Atlantic Ocean

Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, Finland, and Jefferson Elementary School, Janesville, USA, have been collaborating for a year. During this collaborative project students have got pen pals, made a presentation video of their schools, sent Christmas Greetings videos, had a Skype chats on their spare time and also they have started to make a common video about similarities and differences between their cultures and students’ everyday life.

And all this will continue. Keep on waiting for the next step. 🙂


Minna, Petri and Jaana + 80 students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School

Christmas Greetings from Oulu, Finland, to Janesville, USA

Class 5B in the Metsokangas Comprehensive School sent Christmas greetings to their pen pals to Janesville, USA, by making a Christmas play called Secret of elves. Students filmed this play by themselves. They used their own iPhones and edited movies with iMovie. After all, the movie was subtitled into English.

Classes 5CD made also Christmas greetings by using digital camera and shooting their play from four different directions during the Christmas Festival. All parents of seven classes came to see their play and after that night the movie was edited by Final Cut Pro X. Students also composed music by using GarageBand and at last the movie was subtitled into English.

There are some pictures of students practising and preparing for these plays.

We wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2016!

– Jaana, Petri, Minna and 80 eager students –

Global collaboration seminar in Tampere, Finland 25.-26.11.2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 18.18.50National Board of Education organized global collaboration seminar 25.-26.11.2015 in Tampere, Finland. Global Innokas participants Petri and Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, took part in this seminar.

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During the first day we heard an interesting presentation about teacher and student exchange programs. Via exchange programs teachers and students could have shorter and longer exchange periods in Scandinavia and Europe.

Speakers also told us why it’s important for schools to have international connections and offer their students international co-operation and friendship during the school years. The main idea was: the more contacts you have during your studying in the primary and secondary schools, the more courage you will have to use your language skills. This motivates you to study languages. Also the different cultures become more familiar and you get friends from different countries.

In one of the workshops we also got to know about a co-operative project between school from Finland and Africa. They had f. ex. made a photo book of children’s every day lives in Finland and Africa. Actually, the idea was almost the same than we are going to do with our students’ penpals from Janesville, USA. The world is so small and ideas so similar between teachers.

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One of the main topics during both days were refugees and how we can take them into consideration in the school. We also talked a lot of multi-cultural and school environment and how we could give students and teachers from diffirent cultures a possibility to share their knowledge about their own culture with other students and teachers. Many of speakers emphasised the value of meeting refugees. If they come to schools as visitors, it would be great way to learn from their countries and would also dispel preconceptions.

On the other day we got a new point of view after participating the workshop under the topic ”Education of peace”. This presentation waked us up to notice that how important is to support every student to reach their own target – they don’t have to have similar target’s or way’s to reach their targets, because they are individuals and teachers role is to find the best way with the student, not on behalf of the student.

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Last but not least we got a task to write down our ideas of global education in groups of four. In our group we thought that global education should be

  • an encouraging possibility to meet people all over the world
  • broad-minded, curious and equal collaboration between people from different countries
  • a way to make people understand what kind of changes Finnish School and Labour Market will face in a near future
  • a way to understand what kind of benefits multicultural environment will give all people in Finland and abroad
  • a way to notice that the word ”we Finnish people” mean all people in Finland, not only people who look Finnish or speak the same language, but also people who live and work here and feel the Finnish beat in their hearts


Jaana and Petri from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, Finland

Penpals from US and Finland

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The students from Oulu, Finland, and the students from Janesville, US, have written letters to each other during this Spring. Because of the long distance and delivery time, students signed into Edmodo and continued chatting there.

For Finnish students being penpals with students from US it have been very exciting experience. They think that they will learn a lot of about America, different culture and people while chatting with their penpals on Edmodo and by using other Social Media Apps. Also Finnish students will learn English skills and they will understand why they study English – not only for school, but also for communicating. For us as teachers, it was nice to hear one student saying that maybe when she is old enough, she will fly to Janesville to meet her penpal. We teachers hope that she will make her dreams come true someday.



As a communicating tool Edmodo has been a great choice. It’s easy to use for students and also we teachers see all what students are writing to each other. After summer holiday students will continue collaborating with their penpals on Edmodo and also they will send each other paper letters and some small gifts. A few of them decided to send to their penpals euro coins, because they got dollars from them this Spring.

– Jaana, Petri and their 53 students –

Pandas and Bridges on the Game Boards





Greetings from 53 eager students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School!

Jaana’s and Petri’s students on 4th Grade have built bridges by using marshmallows and tooth sticks. While building they studied by themselves information about triangle structures and how to build a strong bridge that won’t collapse. Many of them used their own mobile phones to find information on the Internet about building bridges.






After building a bridge or bridges students created the idea and the rules of the game. Then they planned and made the game boards including a river, the starting point, the finishing point and they made also some obstacles which would slow down the players’ race.



While a few students of all groups were working with the game board, other students planned and created panda-look-a-like pawns for every group member. As a material they used bigger marshmallows and marker pens. For pandas’ ears students used smaller marshmallows, but they had to invite, how to combine the head and the ears together. A few groups used the clue and other the tooth sticks. After getting ready with pawns some groups made also a dice by using one big marshmallow.





When every group had finalized their game boards students got a possibility to play their games in groups of four and five. For the last lesson of the school year, it was cool to see how motivated and eager all students were even on the last school day!

– Jaana, Petri and 53 students –

Robo Greetings from Metsokangas Comprehensive School


The Robo Project has started at Metsokangas Comprehensive School in Oulu. Our students made wooden game boards by using Google Maps, painted them using six different colours and after that they marked the names of the biggest cities all around the world.


When the game boards were finished, students started to learn programming. A few of them had programmed before, but for the most of them it was the first time to program EV3 Lego Robots. At the beginning they programmed their robots to walk from the city to another. Next time they will start to learn to avoid obstacles and to program robots to turn around.


During this spring our students will create many own playing strategies in groups and design how to play the game by using the robots. They will also make ship outfits for the robots, because robots are moving along waterways from continent to another. Students will also make pawns during this spring. Pawns will look alike pandas.


Päivi, Jaana, Minna and Petri (and also our 106 eager  students) from Metsokangas Comprehensive School