I have to start off by saying I am sorry to all of you visual people (trust me I'm right there with ya) because I don't have as many pictures this week. It was just such a good week that the last thing on my mind was to remember to document it all on camera. If you need some more pictures for reference though, hop on over to Flat Stanley's page...he never forgets to take pictures so you will find plenty over there.
It’s crazy to think that I have been in Sweden for two weeks already. I look back on when I was preparing to come and think of how nervous I was because I had no idea what to expect. I have loved my student teaching experience in Texas and there were just so many question marks in my head when I thought of what life at Malmö International School was going to be like. I was excited of course but leaving your own, comfortable world for the unknown is scary no matter what the situation is. Two weeks in though, I’m glad I took the leap of faith to come here and be put in a place way outside of my comfort zone. That’s where true learning happens right? At the edge of your comfort zone? Here’s to being halfway through and already bursting at the seams with ideas and knowledge to take back with me to use in my future classroom.
PYP5A’s schedule is different every day of the week. Lunch and breaks stay the same but the events that happen in between are always a little bit different depending on the day. I thought this would drive me crazy at first because if you know me, you know I like a plan. Having such a wacky this-way and that-way schedule is not ideal for my very organized mind. That being said, it’s kind of growing on me—it keeps me on my toes. Who knows if I could last like this for a full school year but for the past two weeks it has been fun. Another thing that keeps me on my toes are the students. They are always coming up with wacky ideas and crazy schemes (another thing kids in the US and kids in Sweden have in common). This week groups of students in my class preformed “invisible theater” which is kind of like a flash mob but with acting not dancing. During break they preformed skits and tried to see if people would realize what was going on. They got REALLY into it. They emailed all of the teachers to let them know what was happening and to make sure they didn’t break up any of the scenes. They made pamphlets to hand out to other students saying “You have just been a part of invisible theater.” Their skits were fun and they were so proud that they had come up with the ideas all on their own. I’m not sure how I can incorporate fun activities like this into my classroom but after seeing how much the students enjoyed it, you can bet I will definitely try!
On Wednesday, the dad of two students in my class came to do story time. It wasn’t story time like you might think where someone comes in, sits on the carpet, and reads a picture book to the class. Bram, the father, is a librarian and storyteller who imaginatively makes tales come to life. He comes in once every term and tells a story related to the unit the class is covering. He has no script and just talks from memory. The students LOVE it and I did too. He had a magical way of captivating all of us and hooking us into the story as if we were there ourselves. The students got content relating to the unit in a unique way that was different than the typical academic lessons.
On Monday Hayley had approached me about creating some math activities based on material that needed to be reviewed from the students’ diagnostics tests they had done earlier in the year. She said many of them were lacking understanding of certain mathematical concepts that weren’t going to be covered in class. She asked if I would use their “Switch with Mitch” time, a time they devote every week to separate different math levels with the other PYP5 teacher and cover material, to teach these concepts. She plopped down the diagnostics tests in front of me and it was my job to investigate them to decide on 3-4 topics to review and create activities for. This was challenging for me in the best of ways. I have developed many lessons during my time at TCU but never ones where I had to decide what to cover based on tests like these. It was hard because I don’t know the academic abilities of the students in my class very well yet so all I had to go on was the tests that were sitting in front of me. After looking over them, I found that probability, angles, spatial reasoning, and elapsed time were the four most commonly missed topics. I developed a quick review of each of these and then considered what would be good activities for the students to rotate through and complete. The activities I created/decided on were: