Category Archives: Schools

Schools involved.

The Project of the Kitchen Waste

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In this update I’ll shortly tell you about the China co-operation which happened in summer 2016, the aims of the co-operation and specially of meeting the Chinese students. Co-operation brought up many new ideas, notices and particularly lovely memories. Making a short blog posting of this material has been slow – What not to write, because everything was so wonderful.

In spring 2016 three Finnish teachers got a Chinese teacher partner as their co-worker pair with The Global Innokas network. Our task as a co-worker pair was to plan and carry out a project which we first carried out in our own country with our own class and again together in the summer conferences in Peking and Shenzhen. The audience of the conferences had opportunity to follow the last lesson of the project and comment on it. The aim of the co-operation was to build understanding by using PBL (Project Basic Learning) to understand differences of cultures and to learn new aspects from each other concerning possibilities of collaboration.

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Mine and my Chinese partner Kathy’s project theme was Kitchen Waste – recycling and reusing of kitchen waste. The theme was practical and actual enough, so it was also accepted in Kathy’s Chinese team. Our first project theme The Mathematical Forms was rejected by the team as a too abstract. For a Finnish teacher this kind of approval method was strange because we in Finland are used to making decisions more freely without any approval method used by the school management. On the other hand Kathy’s backup team did fine work for example in making teaching videos.

Meeting The Chinese Student

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The students of both Chinese schools were absolutely sweet, brave and charming. The first meeting with the students of the Peking project class has remained in my mind especially well. There two future students of ours were running sweating from gym class in to our project class and one of them lifted a plastic bag full of recyclable kitchen waste on the table. Immediately without any hesitation we started to chat openly:

– What is your name and where are you hurrying form so sweaty? Oh, you have your recycling material already with your. What have you brought with you?

So, he started showing what kind of kitchen waste he had brought with him. There was an empty beer can among other things. The student told that he had bought the beer can on the way to school and that he had poured the beer on the ground. I wondered in my mind how a fifth grader has been able to buy beer. Kathy reminded the student that too much soda can be fattening. The open and joyful atmosphere of the meeting impressed me at once and I felt cozy and relaxed – this project will succeed.

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The classes were delightful, where everyone participated eagerly and actively. The students used our common language English well and I understood that the knowledge of English had been one of the criteria to get in to this class and this project. Due to students good activity, possibly other criteria were good manners and working skills. During the teamwork it seemed that students had difficulties in sharing ideas and planning together, both of these had to be emphasized before starting to work and have a clarifying discussion on what common planning means. In Shenzen once I had to interfere in children’s tone of conversation and tell them that they lacked common understanding. I asked them to talk in English so I could help them. It looked that a member of the group didn’t want to take others in to consideration at all and others didn’t like the situation. There were also other similar situations in which you could see the children’s difficulty informing one common plan of the group. Many children had planned a fine plan of their own which their wanted to stick to and not to change it because of others’ opinions.

While working the children were able to ground their working finely and tell of their aims. They were eager to tell of their work thoroughly and theoretically. I might miss a bit more spontaneity and a braver desire to experiment. Was the perfection of the result the most important thing?

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Outside the classroom children looked and giggled what we did and were very eager to help. While we were visiting the Peking school the learning street held there introduced the students’ fine work. As a presenter I got a boy of my project class who guided me by hand form one stand to another. There was almost a dispute of my attention – who will be able introduce his own work to me. Altogether the Chinese children performed briskly and talked loudly in front of the audience.

The most evident thought of the journey was how fluent it was to get along with the students and create interaction despite the differences between the cultural backgrounds. The Finnish and the Chinese school system perhaps approaches children’s capability and individuality from different goals, but despite them children are children anywhere in the world. A smile meets a smile!

The experience of the co-operation with the Chinese colleague was fine and successful! The experience of peeking the Chinese school system was amazing and eyes opening, without saying anything of all possibilities to meet all the friendly and helpful people who I met during the journey. Thank You!

– Minna from Metsokangas Comprehensive School, Oulu, Finland –

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Skype call to Indonesia

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53 students from Metsokangas Comprehensive School had a Skype call to their new friendship class from Indonesia. During the first call students from both countries presented their country, traditional food, dance and daily life. All students were very excited and eager to learn from each other.

Children from Indonesia presented their traditional dance with the traditional costumes and properties.

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The Finnish students presented the traditional song of Finland.

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The Skype connections will be continued. Next time our students will present acrobatic show to their new friends.

– Petri and Jaana from Metsokangas Comprehensive School –

The project of the gliders and flying effect

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Jaana’s and Yiwen’s project was about the gliders and flying effect. The theme came out from the Finnish Curriculum and Yiwen’s will to have a project about gliders. For Jaana this theme was a great option, because Jaana’s and Petri’s students were on the 5th Grade and they studied physical information about the planes and flying effect during the spring 2016, so this project was easily integrated to their physics lessons.

From teachers’ point of view the main point of this project was collaboration between Finnish and Chinese teachers. That was the first time for both of us, so that’s why it was at first quite exciting. We tried to get to know each other via WeChat and in Beijing we started to work together and at the same time we got to know each other better. On the first day we went through our project plan and made decisions how to make gliders. Yiwen also showed Jaana, what kind of glider she had built with her students by using ready cut pieces. Jaana also showed Yiwen, how to fold a simple paper glider. As a common decision we decided to give students an opportunity to choose, how they would make the glider: by using ready cut pieces or folding the glider.

From students’ point of view the main point was to learn group working skills, learn information about the structure of the plane, to learn information about forces which affect to the plane during the flight and also to learn to make a glider by using different kind of materials and also to learn the techniques how to throw the glider.

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Our project plan contained 8 lessons. Lessons from 1-5 contained introduction, studying information about the gliders and flying effect, making mind maps in groups of 3-4 and presenting mind maps. We started this part in Beijing by teaching students the specific words in English and in Chinese, because words were quite new for students. To find correct words in English students used Chinese-English dictionary on iPads. Then they came one by one to the front of the classroom to clue words into the picture of the plane. At the same time we also discussed what is the meaning of each part and students found answers from Internet or just thought what could be the answer and then told their idea to the others. The most important question was, why the planes need all those parts and how those parts affect to the plane and flying effect.

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After the common start students made mind maps in groups. They got three questions to find out: how do you think each part of the plane affects its flying effect, which forces act on the plane during the take off, gliding and landing and why the plane can fly. To find information students used Baidu on iPads. One student also gave others a tip to find information from the site en.wikipedia.org. That was something new for others, because this time they found information mainly in English, although some of them also found information in Chinese and used Baidu translator to translate it into English or to translate information from English into Chinese. As a teacher I think it was a correct way to find and understand found information, because there were so much specific words that they didn’t know in English or in some cases not even in Chinese.

Students used 3 lessons to make their mind maps. After that they presented their mind maps to others. For them it was exciting that all students had to go to front of the class, not only one. During the presentation they also taught each others by drawing pictures and writing down the most important words f. ex. about the forces that affect to the plane. One group also showed animations from wikipedia about the aileron and elevator.

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In our project plan lessons 6-7 were for making a glider. In Beijing we offered students a possibility to choose, how they would like to make their glider: by using ready cut pieces or by folding a paper glider. On our demo lesson we had a 60 minutes to implement this part, so after a short introduction about our project and information rehearse with students, students started to work in pairs.

Many of our students chose to use ready cut pieces, but there were four eager boys, who would liked to know which one flies better, the folded glider or the glider made by the ready cut pieces. At the beginning of the lesson they thought that ready cut piece glider flies better, but after testing and adjusting their folded glider flow better, even through the open window. 😉

During the testing students also marked down how far their glider flies. Then they had to think about, how to improve their glider to fly further. For this they had a work sheet to draw the altitude and to mark down, how they adjusted their glider. This work sheet worked well and gave students more understanding what they are learning.

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Demo lesson was filmed from each corner of the class room. At first all students were quite excited because of the cameras, but quite quickly everyone forgot all the cameras. The audience followed our lesson in the hall next to our classroom. After our lesson we teachers went to stage to tell more about our project and about evaluation. All slides we made in both languages and all questions and answers we got and gave also in both languages. That way all members in audience understood what we want to say. Tiina and audience also asked us about our project and collaboration. Jaana answered all in English and Yiwen translated it into Chinese.

In Shenzhen we had a same kind of project, but in there their own teacher had started the project by making mind maps with her students. On the first day we had 4 lessons with the students and during those lessons students got to know information about Finland, made posters about the differences and similarities between the Finnish and Chinese schools and after that we taught them information about the gliders and flying effect. This time Yiwen taught them more in Chinese than in Beijing, because the students in Shenzhen were younger and they didn’t know so much about the theme in English. After the common start students continued working with their mind maps. Many of them made their mind maps both in Chinese and English, because writing everything in English was quite hard for them, they were so young. After finishing the mind maps they presented them to others in English. One boy was a translator for some groups, because they were so shy to have their presentation in English. This kind of collaboration worked well and every group could have their presentation.

On the demo lesson in Shenzhen we had the same PowerPoint introduction than in Beijing in both languages and after that a short rehearse about the main parts of the plane in English. After that we taught students how to fold a simple paper plane. After that we told them about the schedule and they started to fold planes by using different kind of papers. They also had a work sheet such like in Beijing. During the testing students noticed that the paper can’t be too thin or too thick, so they had to test which paper could be the best option for folding.

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For me as a Finnish teacher this experience was amazing and this opened my eyes to see the meaning of the global collaboration deeper! It was nice to collaborate with the Chinese teacher Yiwen, all students, all professors from Beijing and also I learned a lot of Chinese culture and school system. I think I also learned, how to plan and have project with teacher who I haven’t known long – collaboration doesn’t depend on how well you know your partner, but it depends on how much you want to work together and find the common understanding.

My deepest will is to have more collaboration with Yiwen next year. 🙂

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.

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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.

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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.

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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