Author Archives: katisormunen

Autumn greetings from Global Innokas!

This week our Global Innokas Network experienced global education in many angels. First, we participated in a state grant applicants’ seminar day organised by Finnish Board of Education. We heard speeches of global competences, how to grow up to be global citizen and new sights of language education. We also had an opportunity to connect with actors from Finnish educational field that implement global education in their municipalities. kuva1

Second, we had a meeting with Finnish Global Innokas teachers in the University of Helsinki. The teachers shared best practices from the last school year and planned this year’s activities and events. Fruitful face-to-face conversations and working together for the same goal is fairly important to teachers as well as us organizers. In such skilful and ingenious group, new kind of educational innovations can truly nourish!


Helsinki meets Oulu and Hankasalmi – thanks to Facetime and Skype

At last Global Innokas -meeting teachers from different parts of Finland gathered together, had great conservations but also built mental bridges together. The idea of ‘Our Neighbour School’ started to grow in teachers’ minds: we decide to connect our classes here in Finland by FaceTime and Skype. We didn’t tell our pupils what part of Finland we were going to connect them; they had an opportunity to make up some questions to find out the city where the other class was.

So during past couple of weeks pupils in Helsinki have been searching Finland. Boys and girls have made little presentations about Helsinki and we will send them to both Oulu and Hankasalmi. Today we saw a wonderful trailer made by Hankasalmi teachers and pupils!

We had difficulties with Skype: weather we saw only picture or just heard voices. We’ll try again! But FaceTime worked fantasticly. Pupils in Helsinki were really exited to talk with pupils from Hankasalmi. This work will continue!

– Raini, SYK

Sightseeing in Beijing area

On Saturday we had a sightseeing tour. Some of us went to the Great Wall. It was a very impressive experience considering both the amazing view and especially if you think the history of the Great wall. Half of the group went to the Tian’anmen’s square with two teachers from Janesville. It was a breath taking place to visit because of its’ history, huge size, monumental buildings and unreal security system. Even though the temperature (+37°C) and the humidity were high we all had a marvellous time!


Raini at Tian’anmen’s Square


Our local guide, young English teacher Steven, Anu, Minna and Tiina

In the evening we all GEC educators gathered together to have dinner at famous Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. We all ate Beijing’s roasted duck with great appetite. The duck was absolutely delicious! It amazed us how carefully every part of the duck was prepared so well. This was a perfect way to end our conference week – eating with GEC family and sharing different sorts of dishes symbolizes our global cooperation.


Famous Beijing’s roasted duck

Teachers are learners too – getting to know Chinese culture

Part of our conference program was to get to know more of China and it’s rich culture. Finnish team got lessons on Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting and traditional music. It is wonderful how proud the pupils and the teachers are of their cultural heritage. Chinese calligraphy is part of the curriculum in China but paper cutting and playing an instrument are optional.

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Tiina and Chinese calligraphy


Kati and Chinese paper cutting


Minna and Chinese traditional instrument

Eating with chopsticks was a bit challenging but we learned by practicing daily at the hotel and school’s cafeteria. For us the Chinese food was excellent: full of tasty vegetables, spicy chicken, fish, meat and pork, soups, dumplings and fresh tastes. As dessert there was always fresh seasonal fruits.


School lunch

Drinking tea is part of Chinese culture and very popular in China. We were honoured to participate in Chinese tea ceremony in a very beautiful Tea House. We tasted many different kinds of teas and learned some health effects of them. We bought tens of tea packets from there.


Beth from Janesville and Anu at tea tasting

Learning the Education systems of participant countries

One key issue in collaborating globally is to understand other countries’ Education systems. We had a Panel discussion session where every country introduced their Education system. Moreover, to understand some practical issues One day at school examples were presented.


Australian team – Gavin Hayes and Tim Coakley


Canadian team – Michelle Cordy and Jonathan So


US team from Butler – Marielle Slagel


US team from Janesville – Karen Schultz, Eric Wahl and Chris Kohn

Team Finland

Finnish team – Minna Kukkonen, Raini Sipilä and Paavo Oksanen

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Chinese team – Dr. Kan Wei and Principal Li, Xiaoqi

Panda presentation

Finnish team Anu Kahri and Kati Sormunen told about projects made in Finland. Teachers from China were very interested in projects and they asked many questions about them. Questions concerned planning, evaluation, content, skills needed and Finnish educational context. Chinese teachers are very willing to change their teaching style but they also seemed to be a little bit afraid of new roles of teacher as learners’ guide. The key message from Finnish teachers’ is: there is no progress without mistakes!

Giant panda playing in Beijing Zoo.

Teaching demos


On this year’s conference participating teachers were supposed to give demos of their project based learning units. Every group worked with pupils in their unique way. Finnish team began with drama exercises to “break ice” and getting to know pupils. First pupils were quite shy but later on they began to work eagerly in Finnish way. Everyone enjoyed! Pupils from the fifth grade (11 years) were from Beijing Cuiwei Primary School.


Pupils and teachers are the same everywhere! We have the same goal: understanding between cultures and learning 21st Century skills.


The theme bridge was learned in many ways. Building different types of shapes and constructions with peas and sticks was an enthusiastic experience to both pupils and teachers.


GEC Conference 2015 in Beijing, China

The third international GEC Conference was held in Beijing, China from the 6th July to 10th of July 2015. GEC members from all over the world came to feel the atmosphere of global educational community.


The second from the right Head of Innokas Network Tiina Korhonen from University of Helsinki and her team: Innokas Coordinators Minna Kukkonen from City of Espoo and Kati Sormunen from University of Helsinki, teachers Anu Kahri from Jalavapuisto School (Espoo), Paavo Oksanen, Koulumestari School (Espoo) and Raini Sipilä, SYK (Helsinki).


Educators from Australia, Canada, China, Finland and the United States.

Trip to Korkeasaari Zoo

We went to the zoo on a spring trip. The weather was great and we had a wonderful day! There was no panda but at least one of his relatives. Can you find it in the pictures?

We have 6 more days of school left before summer holidays so have a great summer everyone!

Jalavapuisto school, class  3K, Finland

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The game night with parents

One aim of the Global Educational Community is that children, their parents and their teachers can learn from, and teach each other as they are welcomed into a community where all can become more competent as global citizens. I decided to welcome parents to join our panda project by creating a game night for the whole family.

I used a game platform by Smartfeet ( It’s an online platform for educational games. I used the map from our school’s surroundings. The map I got from Google earth. Gamification is an easy and motivating way to get children to learn things when they don’t even realize that learning is happening. 

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The game night started by the students, sisters, brothers and parent coming to school. I gave brief instructions on how the game works and then the teams were off.

The story behind the game was:

Panda rescue 

Great news! Ähtäri zoo has finally been given the ok from China and are getting a panda. And not just one panda but an exceptional panda twins! All the hard work has payed off. But there now lies a huge problem! Ähtäri has been collecting money for only one panda and is now lacking the missing 1 000 000 $ for the second panda. You have to help! Otherwise the twins might be separated. Or even worse -there might be no pandas coming to Finland!

By completing exercises on the blue checkpoints in the map you will be able to collect money for the panda. One checkpoint exercise can give you up to 200 000 $. The team that collects the most money for the panda wins! Go -quickly!

Each blue marker on the map marked an exercise. I stayed at school controlling the game and scoring the exercises. 


In the exercises the teams had to work for example with math, gaining data, problem solving, teamwork, orienteering and drawing. The answers were sent straight to the teacher from the iPad or the mobile phone they were working with. Some selfie exercises were included.

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All in all a fun night! The parents said they especially enjoyed working outside in the fresh air with the kids. And what’s best? We did save the panda twins!

Class 3K, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo, Finland