Four hundred and ninetysixth åsic- ”HALF & HALF” or Completely Wrong!

I don’t drink regular milk since I have a lactose intolerance. For my visit here in the US I had to make sure there would be something to replace my usual products with and today it was time to fill the fridge again. After we got back home I wanted to comment on ”milk” in general and since ”my” family here drink something that they call ”HALF&HALF” (a mixture of milk and cream as I understand it). I wanted to know what that was. So I asked…and they both laughed. I didn’t quite get what’s wrong, but I found out soon enough. They repeated what I said and I still couldn’t get it. I said it again, ”HALF&HALF”. Then they said: ”We don’t say that!” I couldn’t understand, because on the box it clearly says ”HALF&HALF” and that was what I said, over and over again. Finally I ASKED them what THEY said then… They said, too: ”HALF&HALF”, but their sound of the ”A” was as far from mine as the distance from here to Buckingham Palace! We all laughed and made fun of the different pronunciations and what would happen if you loudly would shout out in the store HERE, but with my pronunciation: ”Dear, please go and get some ”HALF&HALF”!!

My reflection is that if my friends hadn’t pointed out that we in fact used different pronunciations for the expression, I wouldn’t have noticed. I know that may seem weird to some of you, but different accents don’t ”bother” me anymore and I know my own accent is a strange mixture of different accents. A few people in school last week suggested I’ve got an Irish accent, which I enjoyed, since I have never been there… 😀

Annonser

Four hundred and ninetyfifth åsic- Fika as an ice-breaker is never wrong!

There are many times I have marvelled over the word fika and how it doesn’t seem to have any translation in many other languages. Today was another of those times! 

This morning at the ”Sweden Day” at the school I visit I shared the concept of FIKA and explained what it is to the members of the staff. I was surprised that so many seemed to like the idea of FIKA and that made me think of a completely different situation some years ago. I talked to an American woman, who was married to a Swedish man.

This woman had learned by being in Sweden what fika was, and her idea of it was pretty much like the one I wrote on the whiteboard today (which I share above). As we talked we realized that the two of us had talked to Americans about the concept of fika, but in different parts of the country. I have only met people on the East Coast and she had just talked to people in California about it. Both her friends and mine had to some extent started to USE the word fika in the American English. What I now hope for, is for both the actual WORD and also the CONCEPT to spread across the continent. That would be amazing!

One of the teachers who had fika with me this morning, came back to the classroom after a while and asked me how to use the word in a sentence if he wanted to invite someone for a fika. So now, let’s spread it! There are different ways to invite, depending of the situation, but in English you can say like this if you like:

  • Do you want some fika?
  • How about some fika?
  • Are you up to some fika?

Fika can mean just a cup of coffee or tea, or it can mean coffee+ a sandwich, or it can mean coffee+a bun, or it can mean, coffee+ bun+ cake+cookies+ tårta, which is a Swedish kind of cake with no frosting/icing, but more likely whipped cream. The funny part is that fika also can mean ALL of the mentioned categories… There are really SO many different connections to the word in Swedish that it is very difficult to explain. Instead it is necessary to see the phenomenon as something ELSE, but ”having coffee”. It is a chance to SHARE with friends. What do we share then? It is not just the COFFEE, but thoughts, ideas, gossip, memories, jokes… Having a fika with someone is paying attention to that person, having a good time together with someone for a while. That is why I want the word to spread… So please, help me ”spread the word”… 😀

TILL MINA ELEVER är här en liten ”språkruta”:

Ska vi ta en fika? Hänger du med och fikar? Kom så fikar vi! Nu skulle det sitta fint med en fika! En slät kopp (= kaffe utan något fikabröd till) fika räcker! Vi ses på fiket! Vi hinner kanske med en språngfika om vi skyndar oss? Jag har fikarast mellan nio och tio varje morgon. Men jag brukar kvällsfika vid TV:n också. Stina kör långtradare och hinner inte med så långa raster, men ibland stannar hon på ett långtradarfik. 

 

Four hundred and ninety fourth åsic- The Yellow Wall and The Blue Wallpaper

I used to teach in another classroom a couple of years ago. When I started off teaching there, I had an opportunity to decide for myself what the classroom would look like. I think that is one of the reasons that I liked it there. When moving out , I removed all the details because I wanted to give the new teachers the same opportunity to do whatever they wanted to make the classroom feel like ”theirs”.

This is something I wrote when I was still teaching in my old room: 

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is an American short story read  by many, but how many of the readers have spent a fortnight of pure creative language learning in a yellow classroom ? The teacher had painted her classroom herself and turned the dark dull room in the basement into a positive oasis for learning. All walls were painted in a bright yellow colour. Her combination of gifts from previous students, her own creations or things she had got here and there, together with wisdom on little plaques or instruction posters with different themes like weekdays, phrases or words for certain occasions, gave the impression of a nice and welcoming place where the soul of learning was more important than anything else. Soul in English almost sounds like sun in Swedish, sol.

My classroom is not painted by me and it is not yellow either, but I have hanged The Blue Wallpaper myself and I have added a lot of blue accents, such as glass, fabric or decorations. Blue is my fave color and it also lead my thoughts to water or to a realxing feeling that makes me calm. In one of the corners of my room I have a waterdoor… In another corner are verbs connected to language use. The many hearts on the window to our pentry is decorated with thoughs or words on the theme LOVE. I think my students are important in many ways. I also find their background, culture and languages important. I think it is necessary for a classroom where languages are taught, that you actually can see that we speak different languages. All those languages are important. Knowing several languages is a true wisdom!

BLÅTT och GULT

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The teacher I visited in NJ, USA was teaching about weather expressions in Spanish when I was there and both the students and herself were happy… and yellow is the happy color that perfectly suits a classroom for Spanish lessons. A saying by an ”unknown” author that suits the yellow classroom very well:

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow

Four hundred and ninety third åsic- Uppe med tuppen!- Being an early bird!

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I have noticed that one good thing with travelling across time zones is that there is a good chance to change bad habits! 😀

I agree completely with the Swedish saying ”Morgonstund har guld i mund”

Generally I do get up in the morning and start my day, but I’m not really awake…Here, six hours after my regular time zone, I have decided to get up whenever I feel alert, although it’s not ”six o’clock” as usual… Today the hour I woke up was 5.30 and I didn’t mind!

 

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Yesterday night when I accidently woke up in the middle of the night, I got a snapchat from one of my daughters. I replied…although I was tired, saying ”it’s in the middle of the night!” HER snapchat was a very alert and neat pic of herself and her friend singing and playing the guitar at school and I thought: ”Oh, NO! Not NOW! I’m TIRED!” …but it also made me aware of the wonder of TIME.

I’d say TIME is a phenomenon human beings invented. My host HERE would say ”We (the AMERICANS) invented time!” … And honestly, since time flies, I don’t have time to do my homework and find out for real who ”invented” what we all refer to as time.

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I do however enjoy the many aspects of time that make a life worth living. What if we never had any sunsets? What if you couldn’t wake up an early morning in late May in Sweden and have a cup of coffee outdoors while letting the sun warm your face. What if you couldn’t catch a flight to the USA and try to leave the sunrise behind you? There is however one thing I don’t appreciate about the way WE adjust to time. I understand why we all need to do the daylights saving change of time but having said that, I must admit I’m probably the most tired person on earth when we change all our clocks in the spring. I am probably also the luckiest person next weekend when I get my reward for struggling every morning for several months. Kronblom might be TOO lazy, but he is for sure the character I think of, connected to the words ”lazy” or ”relax”.

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Here, during my visit in NJ, I have noticed that I do have a serious chance to give myself the treat of feeling alert at five in the morning! That’s amazing and I love the calm and relaxed morning I get in return for getting up early.

The lunch break in Sweden is up, but here we haven’t yet started our day. When I get back from school this evening, my Swedish friends will be on their way to bed… I can now see why there is a slight problem finding decent hours to chat online with a person from another part of the world. Being here is being ”right in the middle of things” when it’s a decent hour on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean… I’d better keep that in mind when I get back home to Sweden again! It has been said many times in Latin, not quite as many in Swedish, but it is an important thing to remember:

Fånga dagen! 

Four Hundred and Ninetysecond Asic- Second Day in an American Teacher’s Hectic World

At home I don’t teach English, but Swedish as a Second Language. This evening I had the great opportunity to visit an adult learner’s group in Spanish at a College not far from where I am. The students were all taking lessons in Spanish, but volunteered to talk to me about what the conditions are for adult learners at this level in the school system. I found our conversation most interesting and will share their viewpoint with both my students and my teaching friend at basic level of English.

Earlier today I first met with a few children with special needs. I shared with them a few thoughts on what it is like to live in a country where we have monopoly money and a” fairy-tale-like” reality with a king…

I also had a chance to contribute with Swedish words in grade six while they were taking a Spanish lesson about furniture in different rooms of a house. Then I discussed with a group of eightgraders why so many Swedes left Sweden a hundred years ago.

I then had a nice and long chat with one of the teachers who has been a resident of Pitman almost all her life, apart from a short period down south. She told me all there is to know about the little town and I was happy to learn all that first hand, rather than read about it.

On Friday a few of the teachers have planned for a Sweden day, where the students will be getting a whole lot of information about Sweden, but also try some typical Swedish activities. I will contribute with a slideshow about Sweden and explain why the Dala horse is a symbol for  Sweden. The collaboration with an art teacher at this school also led to an idea where we let the kids know a little about how one can paint a typical ”kurbits”.

Tomorrow we’re off to Atlantic City, my teaching friend and I. We will study ESL as the NJ authorities wants it to be. I look forward to that very much. I don’t need anyone to rock my cradle! I am exhausted, but I’m having so much fun! Teaching is my life! ❤

 

Four Hundred and Nintieth Asic- Learning Among Friends

This blogpost was first published three years ago when I was visiting NJ, USA a couple of weeks. The following few days you will have a new chance to share what I experienced ”over there”. Enjoy! 


My first minute at school in Pitman

 

Yesterday when I took a walk to the school where I will spend the coming two weeks, I was surprised to find a welcoming greeting outside school. This morning when I arrived for my first day there, I was even more surprised to find another sign welcoming me to my school visit. As if this wasn’t enough, I have felt overwhelmingly welcomed by each and every one of the people I have met in Pitman Middle School. Both students and teachers met me with warmth and generosity.

There are plenty of things I noticed that are different from what I am used to. Even if I now teach adult students, I can miss teaching younger students especially if I meet such nice kids as the ones I met today! Many of them were making impact just by being themselves in their regular surrounding. 

Both students and teachers I met today seemed eager to know more about Sweden and that made me happy. I had anticipated a more anonymous role in this school, but I am very, very happy that it turned out to be so interactive, because it makes it really interesting. I will thus have multiple chances to explore the very soul of this particular school and get a chance to understand the nature of the school system in NJ.  The many opportunities to share thoughts and reflections from my experience of teaching with my new friends in this school will be like a treasure to get back to later when there is more time. Now I merely need a good night’s sleep in order to be fit for what tomorrow may bring of new experiences.

Last time I visited a school in NJ I marvelled at the dress code. I then wrote in Swedish, but I have summoned up that text in English as well:

https://asaole.com/2014/05/18/miniaaseri-a-slingback-would-kill-me/

 

Fyrahundraåttionionde åseriet- Med temaarbete i klassrummet kan man skapa dragspel…

Att uttrycka åsikter och tankar och idéer är något som mina vuxna utlandsfödda elever som regel är ovana vid från de skolsystem de gått i som barn. Min erfarenhet är att de behöver träna sig på att ”tycka och tänka”. Att jobba gruppvis stimulerar eleven att uttrycka sin mening och förklara för de andra i gruppen hur hen menar. Samtidigt ges eleven möjlighet att stämma av sin egen åsikt eller tanke mot de andras och argumentera för sin egen ståndpunkt. I den språkliga förhandlingen om betydelser, skapas den språkutveckling som vi alla arbetar för tillsammans. Jag brukar mingla runt i klassrummet och göra små nedslag här och där om någon behöver stöd i språket, men också för att förklara, förtydliga eller förundras över de samtal jag på detta sätt får ta del av. Vilken förmån! ❤

I undervisningssituationen trycker jag på hur viktigt det är att alla ges möjlighet att tala, ge sin syn på saken, bli lyssnade på. Jag pratar öppet med eleverna om att samtalen på gruppnivå är vägen till ett bättre språk samtidigt som samtalen är målet… Det är ett mål i sig att kunna uttrycka sig muntligt på sitt nya språk… Men alla elever är individer. Den som kanske har en talängslan eller inte är van att samtala i grupp, ska bedömas för sin muntliga aktivitet, precis som den som är självsäker och gärna lägger ut texten. Det är en grannlaga uppgift att hitta talsituationer som inte skrämmer och som samtidigt har potential för den som vill visa sig på styva linan inför sin lärare. Det hinner bli många olika samtal under en kurs, men varje samtal är en ny chans att tala… Att ha skiftande teman för dessa samtal är viktigt för att i möjligaste mån se till att åtminstone något ämne passar en viss elev, så att hen kan visa mig vad hen klarar av muntligt.

En jämförelse av något slag, brukar kunna leda till samtal där många kommer till tals. Det kan vara en jämförelse mellan hur bostäderna ser ut här eller i hemlandet eller kanske hur man reser här eller i hemlandet. Men det kan också vara en jämförelse mellan två texttyper, kanske en artikel och en novell eller mellan ett formellt brev och ett informellt. Vid jämförelser är uppgiftsinstruktionen alltid viktig. Eleven behöver veta vad som ska göras. Är detta klart formulerat så kan man jämföra snart sagt vad som helst. Men nuförtiden är det inte endast det skrivna ordet som anses vara en text. När vi läser styrdokumenten från Skolverket ingår även så kallade multimodala texter, vilket kan vara det som sägs i en film eller det vi kan se i en display online. I klassrummet pratar vi om de många olika texter som elever möter i vårt samhälle.

 

”Genom undervisningen ska eleven ges möjlighet att utveckla kunskaper om hur man formulerar egna åsikter och tankar i olika slags texter och genom olika medier”

Källa: Skolverket, ur syftet för GRNSVA 2

När elever ska skriva en jämförande text, så är det också viktigt hur uppgiften är formulerad. Även här handlar det om att möjliggöra för elever att visa sin bästa nivå. För någon är det att visa mig ett E, men för någon annan kan det vara att visa mig ett A. Min uppgift blir att skapa möjlighet för båda dessa elever att visa sin bästa nivå.

Att jämföra en skriven novell med en filmatisering av densamma, kan ge elever med olika förutsättningar möjlighet att visa sina kunskaper. I SVT:s öppna arkiv finns många sådana filmer, till exempel denna, som jag och eleverna just nu gett oss i kast med:

POTATISHANDLAREN av Lars Molin

Det finns en poäng med att hämta filmer från just SVT:s öppna arkiv. Det möjliggör för även den elev som kanske inte har tillgång till TV eller olika kommersiella kanaler att se filmen många gånger. Texten och filmen kan läsas och ses många gånger och jämförelsen kan eleven lägga ner mycket eller litet tid på. Det bestämmer eleven själv…

Dragspelet… skapar jag genom att ge tre olika uppgifter att välja på, men detta är inte i sig det jag menar med dragspel… Dragspelet är snarare för mig en fråga om att ge elever möjligheter att bidra på sin egen bästa nivå och dragspelet blir då de individuella och ytterst personliga lösningar jag får in på en och samma uppgift…

Om uppgiften är att jämföra, så är det viktigt att visa att man kan just jämföra. Det första uppgiftsalternativet är avskalat och innebär i princip endast att eleven visar själva jämförelsen. Men för den som vill passa på att visa mig något mer, så brukar jag skapa ytterligare två uppgifter, en som är styrd och en som är väldigt fri.  Den styrda uppgiften innehåller tydliga instruktioner och ofta handfasta tips om hur och vad man ska göra… Den sista uppgiften är medvetet opreciserad och lämnar mycket till eleven själv:

”Skriv en så nyanserad jämförelse som möjligt, på ett sätt som du finner lämpligt och dela dina egna tankar om novellen och filmen på ett sätt som blir både smidigt och tydligt för läsaren. ” (OLÅ, 2017).

Genom att skriva så, har jag inte styrt, utan snarare lämnat över ansvaret till dem av mina elever som vill visa mig vad de kan. De kan skriva en avancerad text med många finesser där de språkligt visar både djup och bredd om de så önskar, men de kan också snegla på de två tidigare uppgifterna och skriva en ordinär text som jag skulle anse vara godkänd. Det fina i kråksången är att många elever trivs med den där friheten att själva skapa sin text. De skriver fritt från sitt eget huvud, med egna lösningar på en allmänt hållen frågeställning och det blir en vinna-vinna-situation för både dem och mig, eftersom det ger en mer nyanserad spridning av elevtexternas kvalitet än vid hårt styrda uppgifter. I bedömningen är det därför ofta lättare för mig att skilja agnarna från vetet än när uppgiften är hårt styrd… Den som kan sin sak kan visa det både med tekniker, lexikalt och grammatiskt. Att läsa den typen av fritt skapad text på ett tema som en hel grupp har gemensamt, är alltid lika spännande. Det är bland annat därför jag trivs så bra med mitt yrke! Nya texter från nya infallsvinklar berikar mig varje dag. ❤