Friday, December 16, 2016

We lit up the world: Christmas traditions around the globe

On 14th December 2016 students and teachers from all over the world met in 4 video conferences between 8am and 3pm German time. All teachers and classes took strong effords to prepare a certain presentation and to express similarities and differences in Christmas traditions. Next to different Christian classes there were non- Christian children joining the conference who had nothing to do with Christmas at all.

To raise awareness for different religions, getting different cultures closer together in a conference when people around the world have to search for a new place to live and cultures getting mixed more and more locally, support understanding for diversities for people who live next door to us, or even to get to know how many candles are on a wreath in other countries: all these goals - and many others - were expressed in this conference. Additionally  we trained new ways of using technology in classes combined with different subjects and different students` groups and ages at the same time.

Four weeks before we started to prepare this event. Many classes prepared a little slide show, other classes sang some local Christmas carols or danced to these songs. Students and teachers could ask questions to each presenter`s group before the next group started to express their local Christmas traditions.

We used Google Hangout to gather all participants into four separate video conferences. I set up a sheet to register for this event at a certain time slot. A linked time converter could be used to find the correct local time zone. To avoid problems with time differences classes had the chance to come in to this conference at any time during this 7 hours`session to present and to get to know as much as possible about other Christmas traditions. The link for the video conference was spread around 30 minutes before the registered participants to make sure that all these partcipents had the chance to be present right in time. Some presenters met me in a short video conference to check their technical requirements at school or at home.

We used a second computer and a second camera to catch up all the questions during our own presentation. Girls from my grade 7 class operated that second camera walking around the class while the other video unit were fixed for the presentations.

On behalf of my administration and the music conductor I want to thank you all for your strong effords to let this event become a real illumination. These participants were:

Ängas School, Eva Widdenhielm and Anni Abgarian, class 8, Sweden

Anne Mertschin, Hawkesdale College, Australia
Gyöngyi Tóthné Bàn, class 6, Balatonboglar, Hungary
International Community School Abidjan, Kim Piot, grade 6, Ivory Coast
Saint Molaga`s School, Cliona Brennock, grade 3, Balbriggan, Ireland
Yelena Volina, grade 8, Ryazan, Russia
Joe McNulty, Newtown, USA
Newtown Middle School, Joe McNulty, grade 7/8, Newtown, USA
Maria Colussa, Santa Fe, Argentina
Collège Petit Manoir, Catherine Mongis, grade 6, Martinique
Saint Joseph`s Convent, Renée- Amanda Heywood, grade 7, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Tracy Hanson, So. Acworth, NH, USA
Steve Sherman, Living Maths, Cape Town, South Africa
Katherine Zablatnik, Sankt Veit, Austria
Maryam Waqar, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Ellen Smith, USA

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pre.- announcement 14th December 2016: We light up the world: Advent and Christmas traditions around the world 2016

Many Christians are actually preparing for Christmas. Most of the traditions about the Advent time and Christmas are similar, but there are different characteristics how people celebrate this time. Students and teachers from different countries in the world will meet in a video conference to even point out their characteristics about one of the most important religious feasts. Non- Christians will attend this meeting to learn about religious traditions.

My students, grade 7, have already started to rehearse for this presentation. But further classes and students are still welcome to join. Use the following link to register for one - or more than one-  certain time slot:

You should be familiar with Google Hangout video conference tools. I hope to see you soon!!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

European Day Of Languages 2016

A few weeks ago we had invited our partners to join us for a certain event. On 26th September 2016 we finally celebrated this year's European Day of Languages. The European Council annualy asks schools around Europe to express cultural diversity among its countries expressed by their languages and to identify each country by cultural identities.

Students from Collège Petit- Manoir, Le Lamentin, Martinique 
This year we celebrated this event for the third time. Students from different countries around the European Continent and students from the French Overseas Department prepared presentations and met at video conferences throughout that day to just let these ideas come true. Some classes gave information about their home country and city where they live in. Others offered a short language course or showed differences and similarities between their own language and other European languages. 
The German students finsihed their presentation by a kahoot game. Students from Russia and the Czech Republic competed against each other about Germany. Students and teachers from outside Europe joined as guests to get to know much more about Europe and the Europeans.

Introducing each country and local city and giving a short demonstration of their local language all students and teachers created three wonderful virtual meetings during the morning and early afternoon hours.

Thanks a lot to everyone who supported this event:
Bakalka Elementary School, Brno, Czech Republic, class 8; Pavel Hodal, Katerina Janu
Boglári Általános-es Zeneiskola, Balatonboglar, Hungary; class 5; Tóthné Bàn Gyöngyi
NIS for Chemistry and Biology, Shymkent, Kazakhstan; class 9; Assel Sarseneva
Ägnas Skola, Orust, Sweden; Eva Widdenhielm, Maria Lidqvist
Örelundskolan, Olfors, Sweden; class 5; Nicolas Jacobsen
Shi- Weih School, Kaoshiung, Taiwan; class 3; Lin- Lin Than
Lyceum 1, Kansk, Russia; class 9; Lyudmilla Golubeva
Tripur Kinder Academy, Dang Community, Nepal; class 3; Govinda Prasad Panthy
Pleincollege Nuenen, Nuenen, The Netherlands; class 8; Bart Pardoel
Srednja Skola, Zabok, Croatia; class 11/12; Ljubica Savic
Porpaczy Kozepiskola, Fertöd, Hungary; class 9; Ibolya Kalocsa
St. Molaga's SNS, Balbriggan, Ireland; class 3; Cliona Brennock
Collège Petit- Manoir de Lamentin, Le Lamentin, Isle de Martinique, Territoire D'Outre- Mer Francaise; class 8; Catherine Mongis
Städtische Realschule Sundern, Sundern, Germany; class 7- 9; Reinhard Marx

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beautiful Places Of My Island 2016

This year's island project started this morning with its first presentation. Students from class 7a did their second video conference ever by presenting German islands from the North Sea and the Baltic Sea to their class and to two guests from the USA and Croatia. This meeting was done in German.
The islands Amrum, Borkum, Juist and Norderney (UN heritage) and the off shore island Helgoland, all located in the North Sea, and the island Rügen from the Baltic Sea  were introduced. They reported about geographical locations, beautiful sights and places on the island, geological features and how people on these islands get their drinking water.

While most of the people living on an island close to the mainland get their water by pipelines. Only a few German islands in the North Sea use this opportunity. They have a drinking water lens below the island , fed by rain water, they can use to offer adequate water supply for the people and all the guests visiting the islands throughout summer mostly. The off shore island Helgoland uses a remote osmosis technology to desalinate sea water.
Our guests from abroad had the task to vote for the best presentation to fill in a prepared questionaire after each presentation. The best presentation was about the island named Borkum.

Five video conferences were held to share all islands.
But they do not present their islands only. Teachers and students from abroad reported about islands we haven't known before and how life is going on there at all (including water supply).

Thanks to all participants who took great affords to prepare certain presentations as well as to the local water supply companies. Special thanks to the Juist tourist board and the municipality of Juist for their support in getting information about the island.
There will be a new "Beautiful Places Of My Island" issue in spring 2017. With the experiences we have gained this year and last year we will set up a new students collaboration project. See you soon and take care.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Hartelijk welkom in Sundern aan de Sorpesee" at Pleincollege Nuenen, The Netherlands

Video conferencing in the internet is one of my favourite tools I use in my chemisty lessons giving my students the chance to communicate around the world about global issues. Or they just tell teachers, classes or librarians around the world what they have learned so far about a certain topic.

After I had the chance to meet my internet colleagues from Sweden, Russia, the USA, from Austria and Hungary personally the years before I got the chance to meet another fellow teacher, Bart Pardoel, and his students "live". I travelled to my neighbour county, the Netherlands, to teach German in two German language classes at the Pleincollege in Nuenen.

I prepared a slideshow about my hometown. I named it "Hartelijk welkom in Sundern aan de Sorpesee" (Welcome to Sundern at Lake Sorpe, in Dutch) and we discussed some local German cultural traditions at a grade 8 GFL class and a grade 9 GFL class, learning German by a mother tongue speaker. After the presentations we played a Kahoot! game in German about the presentations to make sure what they have learned that lesson.

After the lunch break I had the opportunity to attend and help Bart and four colleagues at this school in a PBL "OPEDUCA" pilot course. The European OPEDUCA concept means "... developing Open Education regions for future- oriented learning and teaching." A concept which is very new to me. The main topic was "buildings" and the students started to prepare a moodboard after they had created a mindmap at home. This project is a moodle based project at Pleincollage and the students have to digitalize and upload all material and must type in at a virtual diary. They have to fix in a protocol what they have done that day and what they plan to do next time. The students left the room that day to extract some research questions from their moddboards. The teachers adviced them about how to evaluate different reliable and non- reliable sources to get sufficient answers to their questions.

In the late afternoon I left the Pleincollege after lots of gainful discussions with the German language teachers and the school`s principal.

Thank you very much to Bart, his colleagues, especially Hermine, and to the principal to be a guest at Pleincollege in Nuenen, the Netherlands. I hope to welcome them at our school as well sometimes.

"Do you always eat bread in the morning?" Students from around the world exchange the content of their lunchboxes

In January my students had some experiments in their 7th grade chemistry classes about food and what it may consist of. Some tests using medical dipsticks were done to find out which ingredients were in the lunch of their lunchboxes. They assayed their lunch searching for glucose, protein and ascorbic acid gathering all their results in a certain test protocol.

Taking pictures from their lunch in their lunchboxes was the first step to show the audience what they like to eat and they informed them about some ingredients.

Talking about food and meals is a wonderful opportunity to exchange traditions like "Do Germans always eat bread in the morning?? We eat warm rice and chicken then".  Comparing the lunchboxes from different countries you can talk about
- when you eat at home or/and at school.
- how the school's time table impacts the eating habits.
- what your cantine offers for the students ( as far as a cantine exists at all).
- if it is allowed to take sweets to school or not (and what will happen with uncomprehending kids).
- who is next to them while they eat their lunch.

To cover time differences some single teachers presented and commented pictures and videos late in the evening (or early in the morning, local time) their students prepared in advance. Here is a 50 mins video from one of these meetings:

(Thanks Lin-Lin for recording this session!)

A lot of teachers and students met during January and February 2016 to exchange all these aspects and to let the students from abroad get an opportunity to have a view into foreign, German traditions from the distance. They met in several video conferences to exchange their habits from all continents around the world. And the Germans got a view into different European, Asian, Australian, African and American traditions. It was a good way to combine chemistry lessons with English language and social studies.
This was the first time for my German students to do such an international presentation. I had to guide them a little.

Finally we exchanged recipes (by the cantine managers) from different school cantines to celebrate a special day at lunch in the cantine. The recipes had to be translated both ways: from German into English and from English into German: an exercise for the students in their foreign language classes at our school.

Thanks a lot to all participants, students and teachers:
Athalo Carrao, Global English School, Brazil
Stine Waage, Bokn Skole, Norway
Govinda Panthy, Nepal
Cliona Brennock, St. Molaga's Sns, Ireland
Lin-Lin Tan, Sih-Wei E.S., Taiwan
Mike and Anna Bukhtoyarov, SibFU, Russia
Huy Tran, Japan
Begaim Adilkhanova, Shymkent, Kazakhstan

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We light up the world: Advent, Christmas and New Year traditions 2015: Students report from around the world

A week before Christmas Eve students and adults from different countries around the world are meeting in a videoconference to express cultural similarities and differences concerning their Advent, Christmas and New Year traditions. Some of these reports and celebrations are done by students. Coming up with time differences some single teachers from foreign continents do a very good job to let us take a view into their traditions over there.

At this conference students of different ages meet and represent their local traditions as ambassadors.

Most of the classes present their slides while they tell us about their traditions. Some of the classes present some Advent or Christmas songs as well.

The grade 10 students from Mumbai/India share different traditions from Goa as well as from Kerala.

Joe McNulty from the United States gives us the opportunity to have a look into his private living room at home very early in the morning.

Anne Mertschin is talking about Christmas traditions in Australia.

Students from France are singing a Christmas Carol in French most of us know in our local language as well.

Some impressions:

Thank you all for joining this very interesting meeting. The presenters are (in order of their appearance):

Anne Mertschin, Hawkesdale College, Australia
Monika Uppal and her students grade 9- 11, Archana Tyagi, India
Yvonne Dalqvist and her students grade 5 and 8, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden
Sophie Gaiffe and her students grade 6,  , France
Gabi Wahle and her students grade 8, Realschule Sundern, Germany
Cliona Brennock and her students grade 4, St. Molaga School, Balbriggan, Ireland
Patricia Liguori/Rosaria de Luccio and their students grade 8,  , Italy
Ulrica Karlberg and her students grade 6, Vareskil school, Sweden
Joe McNulty, Newtown, Pennsylvania, USA
Elena Guseva and her students grade 5, Uljanov, Russia
Meryem Unsal and her students grade 10, Istanbul, Turkey
Catherine Mongis and her students grade 8, Martinique
Reinhard Marx and his students grade 7, Realschule Sundern, Germany