So you know what I said last week about this post being wayyyyy shorter? Well I just want to say I tried, I really tried. There's just so much I want to share. So much has happened int he past few days that I really and truly couldn't cut it down. Hopefully you understand...
One of my favorite parts of elementary school was always going to the school library. Books took me to exotic places and fantastic worlds I could only ever visit within the pages. They taught me to be imaginative and creative. They introduced me to people who inspired me, who impacted me, and made me feel like I could do whatever I set my mind to. Books provided an escape from the real world and allowed me to be transported, even if it was just for a short time. When I found out it was library day on Wednesday, I was so excited. We walked down the stairs and into Malmö International School's quaint library. Compared to the libraries I had in my schools growing up and the one at Coder Elementary where I student teach in the states, it was small. As soon as I started exploring the shelves however, I found that this small library held within it rich literature and profound learning opportunities. Some that didn’t even compare to the inventories of the biggest libraries I've been to. There are books in all languages, books for all reading levels, and books for all interests. And what’s the most amazing part of the whole place? Four years ago it didn’t even exist. That’s right, four years ago there was no library in the school—no books for the students to fall in love with. Ilsa, the librarian, built this little library all on her own when she came to MIS. She bought books, cataloged them, and transformed a dull corner classroom into a place of exploration. She understands these students in a different way than many of the teachers and staff at the school. No matter where they come from or what their own personal story is, each student will find something within the walls of the library that makes them feel like they are meant to be right there. I just love this hidden gem in the school and the way that books have started to transform the lives of the students that read them. It’s safe to say that if you’re looking for me in the next few weeks, you can probably find me in the library, curled up with a good book.
While I was in the library, I happened to ask Ilsa if she had heard of Flat Stanley. She smiled and walked to the other room to grab the book she had just recently ordered. It was fate. I hadn’t yet introduced my small flattened friend that I brought with me from Texas to my class at MIS and knew this would be the perfect opportunity. I borrowed the book for the afternoon and read it to the PYP5A class. Then I shared with them my very own Flat Stanley and all the adventures that he had already been on. I showed them a picture of my class back in Texas with him (left) and so of course they wanted to take a picture too (right). It was fun to be able to share this with BOTH of the wonderful classes I have the pleasure of student teaching. It was as if I was bringing two different worlds together.
Thursday came with the pleasant reminder that although technology can have its challenges in the classroom, it can also be wonderfully rewarding. I am so thankful for technology this week because not only has it allowed me to update friends and family back home, but it also let me stay in contact with my classes in Texas. On Thursday afternoon I was greeted with 54 (yes, you read that right) emails from the fourth graders at Coder Elementary. The classes were working on media literacy. I had sent them an email at the beginning of the week answering some questions they had prior to me coming to Sweden about the school and the country. As part of their lesson on Thursday they all sent me emails back and all I can say is WOW! That was just the mid-week pick me up I needed! I loved reading their emails and getting to hear more about what interested them. They were so curious about everything that was happening here…but more about that later in this post :)
After school on Thursday we spontaneously decided to hop on the train to Copenhagen. We ended up in Nyhavn, a district along the canal filled with unique restaurants and shops. We quickly discovered that it is much chillier in Copenhagen than Malmö but still managed to have fun wandering around. We are already planning another trip over the Øresund Strait to explore even more but next time we might have to pack an extra pair of gloves!
It was all fun and games at MIS on Friday…after a little bit of work though of course. The students began with a math assessment. The assessment was very similar those I have seen in the states. Something that I really liked about the way Hayley did this assessment however was that after the students were done, they did a self-assessment as well. They had to describe their thoughts on mastery of the content and strategies that they knew how to use. I thought this was a really unique way for the students to reflect on their own learning of the unit. After the math assessment, and after a much-deserved break, I got the opportunity to teach a lesson on planning writing. The students are going to be writing a narrative next week and needed to begin the planning process. We went through a graphic organizer that broke apart aspects of a narrative and then had time for students to begin the process for themselves. This was fun because I got to see the creativity of my students in the writing process and help them when they got stuck. After lunch on Friday (it was pasta day which I learned is always a good day at MIS), the students had Genius Hour and free time. For free time, I got to bust a move and play Just Dance with some of the girls in the class. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful first week!