Our collaboration with Hong Kong started in August 2016. 1K-class from Jalavapuisto School in Espoo was happy to get a friend school called Holm Glad No.2 (The Mission Covenant Church Holm Glad No. 2 Primary School). Holm Glad No.2 has started an academy project called ‘Learning by Doing’. This project aims to change culture at the whole school level for example, by giving teachers s supportive school environment that puts people instead of grades first.
We have been emailing, sending pictures and videos telling about our class and school day whereas they’ve been telling about their school and taking us to ‘the trip’ around the town introducing their neighbourhood. And we also started a match ‘Checkers’ going on on WhatsApp between Hong Kong and Espoo.
We teachers have been chatting on Skype two times now. Listening to each others plans and hopes and of coarse getting to know each other better.We are going to go on our collaboration after the summer.
This far this has been rewarding yet challenging. We’ve been happy to learn about their culture which differs from ours quite a lot. Several emails and Skype chats have been a great way not only to get to know the teachers better but also their always optimistic way of thinking.
Linda Mattila from Koulumestari School in Espoo has also been working with Holm Glad No.2 with me. Planning and sharing ideas together has been a great help when thinking about this in all.
Hanna Mäkynen, Jalavapuisto school, Espoo
We had a great school day in March when we got two Fulbright visitors from USA. We don’t have visitors often so the children (and adults too..) were really excited and happy to meet them. We had planned water-themed workshops for the preschoolers and children in the first and second class. Also the children with special needs took part in the workshops. Overall we had six teachers and 50 students doing this project. The visitors were science teachers and they told me beforehand some very good tips for planning the day.
For many children it was a unique experience to meet people from another country because not so many of them have ever traveled outside of Finland. Nat and Stephen took part in the workshops doing the same things as the children. We found that nonverbal gestures are really international. The kids don’t speak English at all except some phrases. Especially I liked that Stephen and Nat went out with children and played with them. For example one of the preschoolers asked me what is kivi paperi sakset in English and when Stephen knew he meant rock paper scissors he was so happy to play with Stephen. The kids found out that the visitors also knew hide and seek.
We have been following spring coming to our village with SYK. It has been a really strange spring as you know. This year it has been snowing in May even in Helsinki. And suddenly we noticed that after few warm days we could find spring flowers near the school! My students wanted to send cards to those in SYK because the next autumn they will have a new teacher and I will continue cooperation with the new class. They also wanted to show what they have been learning in English lessons during the school year. So they filmed videos with iPads introducing themselves.
-Heli, Hankasalmi Asema School
On this May we have worked very hard with our new project called: On a Journey. Our project here in Finland and in China is about a library as a learning space. We work with our school library and so do my colleagues in ZhongGuanCun no 3 Primary School. We have shared ideas about design thinking in Education, and design in general. My students have visited their neighbor libararies and made some observations about places they think is a good place to work and to concentrate. Students have learned the difference between 2D and 3D, they have studied and learned the idea of a square meter and a scale. Now they are doing their ‘hands on’ part: beautiful floor plans and scale models are designed and made by student teams. How many fourth graders fit in a one square meter? Twenty..
We also got a photo of design work from a school in Zhengzhou, my partner no 2 Lu works there. Their idea of modelling and designing is very different from ours. But it is very good to see different ways of thinking, isn’t it!
Raini Sipilä, SYK
These pictures were taken on the very same day: 31st March 2017 in both Beijing and in Helsinki. My colleagues in China didn’t believe me when I told them the springtime in Finland is quite cold. But after this snowy picture they knew the same fact than I..
During this spring I have mostly sent text messages and photos to my colleagues in Beijing. My partner Song Liting and her colleagues have discussed a lot about the ideas I have sent them. Our project will take place next week and we will concentrate on space design. Our aim is to make ZhongGuanCun no 3 Primary school’s library a better learning environment. We will start the process here and my colleague Song Liting will start her process in her school. It will be nice to see what kind of renewals our students will invent!
Raini Sipilä, SYK
As we have worked with a Chinese school and my students have written a blog about KaiKai’s and XinXin’s visits – dolls we got last year as a present from Zhongguancun nro 4 primary school – my students’ parents decided to organize our own Chinese New Year party. The evening was a real success! First we had Chinese meal and green tea. One mother even made real, traditional New Year’s dumblings to us. Of course we ate with chopstics!
At my classroom students gave their performances to parents. We also did Eye protection rehersals all together; we learned this from Aleena last year. Then we had a visitor from Confucius Institute University of Helsinki, Mr. Xinsheng Li gave us a short lecture about Chinese calligraphy. Our last visitors gave us a kungfu-show – for me it was a bit scary, but my students really enjoyed the show. What an evening we had! Have a good rooster’s year!
The second schoolweek at SYK started with an idea of our mutual world and its’ many stories. In my classroom 28 students from different grades concentrated on China. My students did big posters about pollution in China, about Beijing and Shanghai and also about Chinese New Year. We drank tea everyday, we tasted noodles (and of course learned to use chopstics), we listened Chinese music, ate fortune cookies, wrote Chinese characters, decorated the whole classroom with paperlanterns and papercutting; older students even wrote Chinese calligraphy to decorate our frontdoor with traditional couplets.
Students together prepared a perfomance to other students. First every visitor was given an airmask, that was because of the pollution in Beijing area on December 2016. Then my students told visitors what kind of towns Beijing and Shanghai are and what is the New Year in China like. At the end of their show students made a shadow play about 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals. Before our guests left they were given a red envelope: one won 8 euros. And as we know eight is a lucky number in China.
During this week students learned a lot about China. I must thank to my colleagues in Beijing, they helped me a lot by sendind addresses to useful websites, sending Power Point -presentations about Tea, traditions, Chinese couplets etc. It is fine to continue cooperation with Chinese colleagues this way. Thank you Aleena, Sienna, Gao JingJing, Song and Cherry!
BR, Raini / SYK
We have been extremely busy for the last 6 months due our new school buildingproject. Our new school was ready just before christmas and we started our school year in a brand new building at 9th of january.
In the building there are many different partners, we have school classes from 1-6 at the moment, but we´ll have also classes 7-9 in three years. Preschool works at the same premises as well as youth centre, library and child health centre.
Our new sportshall is total of 970 cubic metres, and can be divided in three parts. WomanVolley, the women’s volleyball team will have their home games in our hall.
Our crafts classroom is extremely well equipped with 3D-printers and laser cutters. We will use Arduino as part of our craft projects. I will tell you more after our grand opening at 14th of february. We are quite busy at the moment with arrangements of the opening fest. Finnish minister of education will be giving a speech at the party. Here is some photos included from the first 3 weeks of studying in our new school. You can also check our schools pages in facebook, by looking Ounasrinteen Koulu.
Happy but exhausted Juhana
At the Global Innokas network meeting in September we talked about sending Christmas greetings to each other. This autumn we’ve been learning about northern lights in our school. They’ve been doing research about northern lights for 40 years in Hankasalmi and this year there was a northern lights themed seminar including a drawing competition for school kids. For the drawing competition we studied some myths about northern lights. We have read many stories and poems. We have also done crafts. That’s why we felt like it would be appropriate to have northern lights themed Christmas celebrations in our school. We’ve learned a song about a fire fox, painted scarves and practiced a dance for it. We want to share a video of our practice as a Christmas greeting to you. In this video we see preschool, first grade and second grade students singing.
Heli, Aseman koulu, Hankasalmi
Last spring I worked very intensively with my Chinese colleague Sienna. During the GEC Conference we had time to really know each other. I really enjoyed working with Sienna. During this Autumn Sienna has been very busy: she has been trained by an International School. So we will continue our co-operation next year. We keep on WeChatting.
At the beginning of this November we got visitors from ZhongGuanCun nro 3 Primary School and from Beijing Capitol University. I took these five ladies to Oppimisen Fiesta -Conference where we had an opportunity to meet for example Finland’s former president Tarja Halonen. Teachers from ZhongGuangCun Primary School were very impressed!
Teachers also stayed a whole day in our school SYK. They visited different classes and took part in teachers’ meeting. After teachers’ visit, a student from Beijing Capitol University stayed on my class for a week.
Liu Jia, alias Aleena, was very interested of Finnish ways to teach and learn. Liu Jia had lots of questions, she recorded and filmed her thoughts, she interviewed both me and my students from different grades. Liu Jia gave my students many presentations about Chinese School culture – we even had a face massage moment (as every schoolgirl and -boy in China daily have at 9.20 – 9.25 am.).
We also spend our weekend together; we visited Nuuksio National park, baked cinnamon buns, had sauna and dinner. I appreciate Liu Jia’s attitude: she was brave to taste everything!
I wish my colleagues in China a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Ps. My class will celebrate Chinese New Year at the end of becoming January..!
Raini Sipilä, SYK
As the Christmas comes nearer the more my students work with Christmas decorations: they have cut snowflakes, panted our windows full of snowmen and they have made beautiful Christmas cards. We decided to send our Christmas cards to both Oulu, Metsokangas school and to Hankasalmi, Asema school. We hope our Finnish friends to have a Joyful and Merry Christmas!
Raini Sipilä, SYK