In Finland, Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily so much a romantic holiday as a holiday to celebrate friendship — in Finnish it is called “Friends’ Day,” after all.
As a way to celebrate the friendships we have with colleagues, a few teachers got to work making hearts with every staff members’ name. The hearts were placed in the staff room with the text of “I like you because…” above. Teachers, assistants, the secretary, etc. were all encouraged to write messages to each other throughout the week as a way to spread kind thoughts, words and cheer leading up to Valentine’s Day.
We have been enjoying a beautiful winter in Helsinki: plenty of snow and freezing temperatures with sunny days mixed in between.
Our students, teachers and staff were able to enjoy the wonderful weather during our annual winter sports day. Students were able to choose between downhill skiing or snowboarding, cross country skiing and sledding. We could not have asked for better weather to enjoy the day.
During term 1, aliens took over and invaded the English classroom of Year 5 students. Fear not, no spaceships had to be manned. Students had to answer a single question for which creativity turned out to be their best ally: “If you could interview an alien, what would you ask her?” – Obviously, in English.
Together, students wrote down questions that are simply a must for any competent outer space reporter. Some of the areas covered were alien dietary needs or the existence of WIFI in other galaxies, amongst many others. There are so many things to find out! Students worked in groups to come up with their answers and handed in a first draft of their interview. Corrections to the text were made by the teacher and added to the final version which included a drawing of the distinguished interviewee. Finally, each group gave an oral presentation on their alien creature.
In order to motivate students and make them think critically, they were confided the task of evaluating the artistic quality of each other’s work. Every group had one vote in the shape of a star that they could stick on the poster they thought to be the best one. On this occasion the proud winners of a little prize were students from class 5A. Well done, guys!
As in any cooperative learning experience a rubric was used. It helped students think about the way they had distributed and carried out the different tasks and the difficulties they had encountered. It turned out that students actually did quite a lot of thinking! Class 5B got into a really nice and lively debate about the advantages and disadvantages of working in groups. This is definitely when the magic happens in a classroom!