#ERASMUSDAYS 2019

We are excited to be taking part in #ErasmusDays from October 10-12 in order to share experiences about Erasmus+ and promote our ongoing Erasmus+ project.

Our #ErasmusDays activities are focused on highlighting countries, cultures and languages around Europe. To begin the activities, students took part in a music trivia quiz which involved recognizing the language in different songs. Students were excited to listen to music from different countries and put their own language knowledge to the test.

Continuing with the music theme, many students took part in learning and performing songs in different languages. Our third graders who study French excitedly sang a song called “Ainsi font, font, font” which is about marionettes.

Enthusiastic French students!

Our teacher Leni taught her third grade students “La Cucaracha” with English and Spanish lyrics. Students played instruments, sang and danced.

Third grade students singing, dancing, and playing instruments!

Sixth grade students in an elective international dance class have been working on choreographing dances based on four different dance styles. After their choreography is completed, the students will teach each other the dances.

Sixth grade girls in the beginning phase of working on their choreography.

Continuing with the international theme, sixth graders are able to take part in an elective cooking course in which students prepare snacks or appetizers that are popular in different countries. Each lesson, students first research the food culture in the specific country they are focusing on that week. After the students have completed their research, they add the recipe for the week to their notebooks. Finally — most likely the most anticipated part of the lesson — the students are responsible for thoroughly following the directions of the recipe in order to prepare the food.

Spain was up for this week’s food tour and Janne, the teacher of the course, had decided to have the students prepare pinchos, a popular snack in northern parts of Spain. Students were very interested to learn about the food culture in Spain before being able to make their own pinchos.

There are many fun and exciting events taking place in order to highlight Erasmus+ projects for #ErasmusDays from 10-12 October. You can follow along and find events near you with this link: https://www.erasmusdays.eu/

The link to Töölö Primary School’s #ErasmusDays event can be found here: https://www.erasmusdays.eu/event/funtastic-in-finland/

Happy #ErasmusDays 2019!

SPENDING TIME TOGETHER

As our colleagues from Finland say well, we are back to school, but still making time to enjoy being outside. Teachers and students have also spent time outdoors:

Back to School…

…but still making time to enjoy being outside.

It is already our second full week back at school in Helsinki and the students and teachers are easing into the routines and activities of school life.

The most excited students are most likely our new first graders who have taken the first days of the school year to familiarize themselves with the school, their new classmates, and their teachers. As we have been fortunate enough to have lovely weather continue in Helsinki, teachers and students have been able to spend time outdoors. Our principal, Paula, led a school year kick-off in the yard that welcomed our first graders to school as their ‘big brothers’ and ‘big sisters’ presented them their very first ABC school book. Our 6C teacher, Hanna, led a “dance recess” during which she taught a choreographed dance and all students were able to dance along with Hanna in the school yard. In addition, many teachers have used outside spaces for lessons and activities and some teachers have taken their classes on field trips like fishing and familiarizing themselves with the nature that is very easily accessible in Helsinki.

First graders playing and exploring in a nearby park.
Fishing was a fun way for second graders to spend the day outside!

Yes, school might be back in session, but we believe that there is so much that we can learn and teach in the nature around us. And we here at Töölö are happy to make every last warm-weather-moment count.

Europe Day

9 May is Europe Day. Many people know how important is being part of Europe. As European citizens, we are able to collaborate with each other in order to reach peace, cohabitation, and freedom all around the continent. In addition, we have to accept the differences between all the countries and cultures, and we have to take advantage of all of them for our own growth.

European people need to be a model for the rest of the world. We strongly believe in the power of education based on European values for our pupils.

For this reason, we would like to wish you all… HAPPY EUROPE DAY!

Science Fair and Phenomena-based learning at Töölö Primary School

Last week, Töölö Primary School students spent science week in various FUNtastic ways.

As a school, teachers decided to use this week as a phenomena-based learning week, with all students taking part.

In order to get the whole school involved, students and teachers were first divided by grade; 1st and 5th graders worked together (big brothers/sisters with little brothers/sisters), 2nd and 6th together (also big brothers/sisters with little brothers/sisters) , and 3rd and 4th grade students worked together. Teachers planned a science-themed week specifically for their groups.

Teachers had amazing ideas for their groups and planned an extremely successful science week.

Additionally, all students were able to participate in a field trip to our science center Heureka where students explored exhibits such as ‘Mind your Brain’ and the much anticipated Dinosaurs exhibit.

2C and 6C students were able to visit Heureka on Monday. Students were instructed to explore the science center freely with their big/little brothers/sisters but were instructed that they had to visit the ‘Mind Your Brain’ exhibit in order to participate in workshops about the brain and work on group projects on the same topic at school.

Our 2C teacher Leni, our 6C teacher Heidi, and our English teacher Anna planned workshops about the brain for 2C and 6C students.

Heidi held a mindfulness workshop that focused on the importance of taking brain breaks and taking care of our minds and finding ways to calm down, even in the middle of a school day. The students practiced mindful breathing on yoga mats as Heidi directed students to take deep breaths from their stomachs.

Heidi also taught the students how to make a calm down jar. Students filled a glass jar with water, dish soap, and glitter and then glued the cap on. When students shake their jars, there is a storm in the jar (much like our emotions and perceptions during stressful times). Eventually, the glitter settles to the bottom of the jar, just like a storm settling.    

Our 2C teacher Leni held a dance and rhythm workshop. Dance and rhythm have been proven to be great activities for brain function, so Leni took the opportunity to use her dancing talents to guide students in exercising their brains.

Students practiced repeating different rhythms with fun games and tasks such as the triangle dance, the hand give, desktop drumming and the hand clapping game Sevens. The students practiced these challenging activities with their big/little brothers/sisters.

Students practice the popular Triangle Dance challenge.
Students practice the hand clapping game Sevens.

Anna held a brain teasers and brain exercise workshop. First, the students discussed the importance of exercising our brains and ways that we can exercise our brains.

The group had a lot of fun first practicing bimanual interference which is when the brain has to simultaneously control two or more movements. The classic example of this is rubbing your stomach with one hand while patting your head with the other hand. The group tried different examples of bimanual interference with varying levels of difficulty.

The students also practiced the multicolored text exercise. Color words (for example orange, purple, green, etc.) are written in colors different than what the word is. The challenge is to say the color in which the word is written instead of the word that is written. For example, the word yellow might be written in green text. This tricky task exercises both sides of the brain, as text perception and color perception are located in different hemispheres of the brain. Using both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously helps to establish new connections which improves concentration and attention.

Students then partnered with their little/big brothers/sisters to try different stations of brain teasers and tasks set up around the classroom.

Students used the afternoon lessons of our science week in order to work with their big/little sisters/brothers to prepare a small presentation or an exercise for the class.

One group of students used familiar smells and tastes in order to create their presentation. Students instructed their peers to smell and taste different items and foods with their eyes closed and to then write down what kind of a memory they have associated with the specific scent or taste.

Students testing their memory of different smells and tastes.

Another group of students created a fun Kahoot! in order to have their peers interact in a fun test-your-brain trivia game.

Students are always excited to play Kahoot!

The Teachers and students had a variety of science -based workshops and activities for an extremely successful Science Fair week at Töölö! We all enjoyed a week of science learning and exploration in a variety of learning environments!

Visit to Cyprus

Γεια σας

How can I explain that the best way to learn is traveling?

Monday

We started with the Second Transnational Meeting at IMS. Cyprus team showed  us Institute of Maths and Science. After that all of us shared our different experiences and presented how we worked during last months.

In the afternoon we visited  Limassol Castle,  where we learnt a lot thanks to Maria.

Tuesday

On tuesday, we had the opportunity to visit the town hall, where we learnt  more about Limassol and Cyprus. In this respect, we are really grateful to the mayor of Limassol, Mr Nicos Nicolaides, who received us  and spent time with us talking about Limassol and answering our questions.

After that, we  visited Kurion Archeological Site. These greek ruins are in an amazing place by the sea. Really beautiful!!

Wednesday

Midweek, we had two training meetings at IMS. The first one was about Google Classroom and the second one about Effective Classroom. In fact, we used this time to assess some of the project activities, preparing future activities and also reflecting on how to use eTwinning for the project. Thereafter we visited the entire IMS.

Thursday

On that sunny Thursday, we visited another awsome place: Leukara. Our wonderful tourist guide, Maria, explained to us the most interesting details about these neolothic remains and the lifestyle developed there. Near to Leukara we visit an Bio Olive Farm, olive oil and wine are very typical from Cyprus. 

To finish, we had a farewell Dinner all together at Nitayia, one of the most tasty restaurants in Limassol. Everybody used the dinner to thank for the warm welcome we have received. 

Friday

Our last meeting was celebrated to summarize the week, fix targets and prepare schedule dates for Norway. Later, we journey to Platres, really nice forest path with falls, and a beautiful town, Omodos. We also visited Lambouris Winery where we enjoyed different types of wine. None of them were fighting.

Thank you again Pavlos Pavlides, Athi Demosthenous, Maria Ergatoudi, Margarita Sofokleous and María Soteriou for your hospitality. 

We’re really glad to see all of you there.

Τα λέμε σύντομα

Spanish food week!

This week, our cafeteria staff gave our students and staff a taste of Spanish-inspired food during our Spanish food week.

Our two teachers were inspired by the Spanish food week and decided to have a cooperating lesson with their first and fifth grades to recreate famous Spanish art. Big brothers and big sisters worked with their little brothers and little sisters to create some beautiful artwork. The artwork was then hung in the cafeteria and brought more Spanish inspiration to our students. 🙂

The artwork — and food — brightened up our week and gave students an opportunity to get to know a little bit about a different culture through food and art.

Thank you to Johanna and Tarja for such a lovely idea!

Mathematics made fun

Teachers are often looking for ways to make teaching fun! Mathematics can be a subject that, with some tips and tricks, can be more exciting for teachers and students.

In Töölö Elementary School many teachers have been motivated to get creative with teaching mathematics. The pictures below show a few wonderful math ideas that our teacher Katariina often implements with her third grade students.

Katariina has emphasised cooperative and peer-supported learning as well as a functional approach to math that focuses on concrete examples. Students often work in pairs or groups in order to help each other and learn together.

Using place value blocks outside.

In the above picture, a student uses place value blocks in order to match the written number with the number of the place value blocks. Students worked in groups in order to practice using the place value blocks. One student wrote a number (this time with chalk outside!) and another student used the place value blocks to match the written number. The student placed the place value blocks next to the written numbers as a way to show and recognize that they have the same value .

An easy way to make multiplication tables practice more fun: Katariina used an old puzzle to create a multiplication game. The cardboard base has multiplication equations while the puzzle pieces have the product. For example, the student working on the puzzle in the picture above has the equation 8×6 uncovered and in the picture the puzzle piece 48 fits the puzzle over the equation.

Students are challenged to not look at the picture of the puzzle while they are practicing their multiplication! 🙂

Bee-Bots and coding

Bee-Bots and coding have been popular with students in many grades. Katariina made a path made of tape on floor. Students then used their coding skills in order to try to get their Bee-Bots to the end of the path.

 

Valentine’s Day

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.

Winter sports 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.