Putting a face on art history

This week, we have an art exhibition from our year 1 students at VRG Odenplan.  They just finished a unit of study on portraits.  Their task was to use the methods of a famous painter to do a portrait of themselves.  The results were impressive:

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Ska(m)dinavisk TV / Scandinavian TV with a twist

This post describes a recent assignment in our Swedish 2 course.  Students are required to study Scandinavian languages.  The teacher used the current TV show, Skam, as a theme.  Students were required to create films to show their learning.  We believe that when using a current events theme, authentic applications and creative assessments,  students are more motivated to complete their assignments.  This is one example of how we achieve our goal of “hjärnan vill ha roligt” (entertain the brain).
helena aGuest blogger:  Helena Adler
En del av det centrala innehållet i svenska 2 är språkförhållanden i Sverige och i övriga Norden. Vi omgärdas av mycket ljud och rörlig bild i vår vardag. Oftast hör vi våra grannspråk genom att se på TV, film och serier (namnet på momentet är en vinkning till SKAM-seriens stora inflytande). Filmmediet blev därför en naturlig uttrycksform för momentets arbete och examination.
Eleverna blev i grupper tilldelade antingen det norska eller danska språket. De fick se flera kortfilmer på danska och norska som inspiration och även analysera en långfilm (Sameblod). De fick sedan först spela in en egen kortfilm där det tilldelade språket skulle användas. Det var en övning i att bygga och dramatisera en berättelse. Kortfilmen kopplades inte till kursmatrisen, dvs de bedömdes inte på hur bra/dåliga de var på att tala norska/danska, men kortfilmen var en förutsättning för diskussionsfilmen de sedan skulle spela in.

Click here to watch this film

I diskussionsfilmen eller “TV-soffan” kommenterade och diskuterade gruppmedlemmarna sedan kortfilmen. De gav exempel på sådant som lömska ord som kan missförstås, uttal och kopplade till fakta om norska/danska. De diskuterade sådant som skillnader på dialekt och språk, den nordiska språkgemenskapen och skandinavisk identitet.
synd soffa

Click here to hear the students’ discussion.

Kortfilmerna visades avslutningsvis i helklass. Utvärderingarna av momentet visade att eleverna tyckte om att få vara kreativa och att analysera och arbeta med film.
Dansk kortfilm: SNYD
Diskussionsfilm: här
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Hattie and Nottingham on Learning: Visible, Measurable, Effective

article written by guest blogger, John DiMaria (Director of Innovation and Technology at Stiftelsen Viktor Rydbergs skolor)

Every teacher, student, parent and school leader has their focus on learning. Whether it’s grades, feedback, problem-based or individualized; the goal of schools is to empower students to learn. James Nottingham and John Hattie reminded our principal group this last Friday with their powerful and thought-provoking seminars based on their research, but in this, they also reminded us to continue to ask the right questions about learning.

Hattie’s story of his daughter-in-law resonated with the audience as he told of her journey into the teaching profession. He described an individual motivated by a strong desire to impact young people’s development, but who soon encountered the pitfalls of a shifting focus from student learning to something else entirely. All too familiar to many in the profession, Hattie explained the desire to create learning resources, to ensure marking was complete, to demonstrate that “I, the teacher” can be independent. Teachers are arguably one of the most vital factors to generating student learning, but in their essential role are they encouraged to ask the fundamental question: What do my students need?

What do students need in the learning process?

Hattie argued that affording teachers and students opportunities to work together on defining their impact on the learning process, developing common understandings of success, welcoming teachable moments for learning, and varying between surface and deep learning are methods to building this process. He collected these concepts under what he defined as “collective teacher efficacy,” but “how do we accomplish this” is perhaps the next question to ask ourselves. What Hattie’s research speaks to is a culture of sharing, of collaboration and of collegial learning to increase efficacy within an organization and the profession as a whole.



Measure growth, not grades

Grading and summative assessment are crucial elements to a student’s education. They provide students with information about their results, but how do we measure student learning? James Nottingham’s research deals largely with this question, though he defined it as measuring “progress” or “growth.” A student’s progress speaks to where they are now in their learning and where they will eventually be later on in time. Track growth, not grades felt like Nottingham’s mantra that day. It resonates and lies at the heart of the formative process that is our educational system.


Difficult to measure, but not impossible

Nottingham’s lecture also reflected upon the contrast between a system based upon letter values and end result and what society values most: happiness, sociability, curiosity, literacy and numeracy, it-literacy, health, creativity, resiliency, and possessing high ethical and democratic values. These societal values Nottingham mentioned are certainly difficult to keep track of unless we have the right tools to do so. Tools that stimulate the concepts of collaboration and the culture of sharing that John Hattie had discussed are not tools for the future but are within our grasp today. Digital tools aren’t necessarily a silver bullet to all issues we might encounter in education, but they are promising methods to reducing the administrative elements to the profession. Our current work with tools like Canvas and G-Suite have already demonstrated their abilities to assist us in sharing pedagogy and measuring student growth. It’s now to continue this focus into the future.


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Creative learning in French

Year 1 students at VRG recently put their French skills to the test.  It was not a written test, it was a creative test.

After visiting the Old Town in Stockholm and reviewing travel vocabulary, students were challenged to create a film showing their skills.  In small groups, students researched, wrote scripts, created storyboards, filmed and edited.  They were coached by their teacher, Nathalie.  The results were impressive.  Here is one example:

Nathalie ParmegianiWhat do you students learn in this type of assignment?  French, yes, but also how to manage creative processes and how to work together.

What happens now?  We will share these films with a school in Paris. #sharingiscaring

Thanks, Nathalie, for creative learning in French.


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3-steps to blended learning – an example from Geometry

Originally published at:

innovatemyschoolwww. innovatemyschool.comarticle3

article 1Read a true example from our Geometry class. article2

The entire blog article can be found  here>>

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Media and Information Literacy – our VR Librarians are hard at work!

IMG-4925Guest blogger:  Maria Axelsson and Anja Vikingson


This is a busy fall for our libraries and our librarians.  There are many activities and a lot of development happening. And, with that, a lot of transformations, just like outside!

First, we have opened up a brand new, small library in our new school in Sundbyberg, where Maria will welcome students on Tuesdays. The focus will be digital but the shelves are slowly filling up as younger students need physical books too!

IMG-4885Secondly, we are changing our library system – a big step towards easier navigation for our students and for keeping track of all our books that go between schools. This has meant a lot of hours cataloging and making everything work, and we are just now starting to see the benefits of the change as the students find their way around the libraries.

To keep up with the new curricula directives on digital competences, we have both attended engaging professional development courses focused on source criticism and media literacy: Bokmässan, Scener & Samtal, Nobel Teacher Summit and Nationell Sammankomst kring medie- och unnamedinformationskompetenser (Media and information literacy) are some of the events we have or going to attend. To share our knowledge with our teachers we also held a workshop at our annual VR Workshops – So much fun! Teachers participated in discussions, speed dating and tried out new lesson plans on media literacy. This also resulted in some new resources on our web page focusing on MIL for teachers.

bibliotek3Meanwhile, we have been busy with our regular activities; library introductions for new students; tons of workshops and guidance on how to search for scientific sources for Diploma Projects and other activities; book talks; film screenings (about space!); book clubs; LGBTQ+ group and also a Sprint reading group which is new for this year – a group consisting of Sprint students teaming up with Swedish speaking students to learn even more Swedish.



We are also planning for “Klarsittning” (a 


teacher+library supported study hub), author visits for junior classes, and meeting with our student library council in the coming months. All in all, an exciting fall for us! 

All in all, an exciting fall!

Maria Axelsson & Anja Vikingson

Follow us @vrg_biblioteket

vrg library


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Using Word Feud to build vocabulary

Our Lead Teacher, Robin Smith, explains in this article how he uses Word Feud to build vocabulary.  Need the article in English?  Open the link and translate the page in Chrome.

robin article word feud

Click here>> to read the full article.


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VRG and Stockholm University work together to improve the learning in Physics


(Guest blogger: Lead Teacher, Patrik Friggebo)

New school year and our physics project at VRG Odenplan is starting its second and last phase, exciting!

physics project.PNG

physics 1.PNGThis year, we will focus on Physics 2. For those who do not know, I can explain that the project, which is a collaboration between the physics teachers at VRG Odenplan and Jakob Gyllenpalm, from the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at Stockholm University, focuses on developing lab activities that allow students to learn about the characteristics and the ways of working in Physics. There is research  that suggests this is a better way of working rather than using lab work primarily to learn about the concepts of Physics.  Additional evidence can be found here>>

Last year, we developed activities related to the course Physics 1a, and today we have a series of labs, which we think provide the students with good opportunities to learn about the characteristics and nature of Physics in this course.  We have to be careful not to draw conclusions about educational benefits too early, yet based on a limited number of students’ feedback, it felt that Physics 1a students were more skilled in the lab methods than they usually were.

This year, it is time for us to take on Physics 2 in that same spirit. A key feature will be to develop lab activities that, in combination with theory, teach students a method of quantitative error analysis. This will, in addition to giving students the opportunity to reflect on the concepts of sources of error and accuracy at a completely different level than before, give students the tools to compare different methods and discuss how relevant and reliable their results and conclusions are. Developing students’ understanding of hypothesis is another challenge we intend to meet this academic year.

If you think this sounds interesting and would like to know more, you are welcome to contact me. I would like to tell you more about our work and the activities we have developed.

Nytt läsår och fysikprojektet vid VRG Odenplan går in i sin andra och sista fas, spännande! Detta läsår fokuserar vi på kursen Fysik 2.

För den som inte vet kan jag berätta att projektet, som är ett samarbete mellan fysiklärarna på VRGO (Elena, Fredrik, Mats, Tobias, Ulf, Åsa samt undertecknad) och Jakob Gyllenpalm, lektor i naturvetenskapsdidaktik vid MND*, fokuserar på att utveckla laborativa aktiviteter som ger elever möjligheter att lära sig om fysikens karaktär och arbetssätt. Det finns vetenskapliga rön som föreslår att detta kan vara en bra idé snarare än att använda laborationer främst för att elever ska lära sig om fysikens stoff (den intresserade kan läsa om detta med mera här och här).  Förra läsåret utvecklade vi aktiviteter tillhörande kursen Fysik 1a och idag står vi därmed med en serie laborationer som vi tycker ger eleverna goda möjligheter att lära sig om just fysikens karaktär och arbetssätt i denna kurs. Man ska vara försiktig med att dra slutsatser om pedagogiska satsningar utifrån ett begränsat elevunderlag, men visst kändes det som att Fysik 1a-eleverna i slutet av förra läsåret var lite vassare laboranter än vad de brukar vara.

Detta läsår är det alltså dags för oss att ta oss an kursen Fysik 2 i samma anda. Ett centralt spår kommer att vara att utveckla laborationer som i kombination med teoriundervisning lär eleverna en metod för kvantitativ felanalys. Detta kommer, utöver att ge eleverna möjlighet att fundera över begreppen felkällor och noggrannhet på en helt annan nivå än tidigare, att ge eleverna redskap att jämföra olika metoder samt diskutera hur säkra deras resultat och slutsatser är. Att utveckla elevernas förståelse för hypotesbegreppet är en annan utmaning som vi tänker anta detta läsår.

Om någon tycker att detta låter intressant och vill veta mer är ni välkomna att kontakta mig; jag berättar gärna mer om vårt arbete och de aktiviteter vi har utvecklat.

*Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik

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EK3 students use art as inspiration for their UF companies

At VRG, we believe, “Art and Science go Hand-in-Hand.”  Yet, what does that really

sse art intiative

SSE Art Initiative explores and develops transboundary knowledge exchange through Art and Humanities at the Stockholm School of Economics. 

mean for students who study business?


To kick-off their senior year, students in VRG Djursholm Economy program visited the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) Art Initiative.  Guided by Robert Stasinski, students were offered a tour of the art collection of the university.  Designed to help students see and better understand the cross-curricular relationships between subjects and topics, students were challenged to reflect on what they saw and how it made them think and feel.

douglas stark

Douglas Stark blir vd på SSE Business Lab där bland annat Klarna startade sin resa. “Startups skapar framtidens jobb”, säger han till Realtid.se. Foto: Pressbild & Handelshögskolan

In addition to visiting the Art Initiative, students were also allowed to visit and listen to Douglas Stark and Patrick Siegbahn (VRG OPL alum) working in the Innovation Hub and the SSE Business Lab.

Patrick-i-t-shirt (1)

Patrick Siegbahn har civilingenjörsexamen i Teknisk fysik från KTH. Efter tre år som kvantitativ riskanalytiker och senare fyra år som hedgefondanalytiker ledde ett spirande samhällsengagemang till en anställning på Finansinspektionen. Steget från byråkrat till småspararrebell togs sedan genom satsningen på Småspararguiden. http://www.smaspararguiden.se/vilka-ar-vi/

Students also met Tom Liljefors, founder of PTOnline.

During these presentations, students learned more about the LEAN process and the characteristics needed to be a successful start-up.

All of these experiences were designed to inspire students to think bigger, think further, think deeper when designing their own start-up companies this term.  Following the morning visits, students were given the assignment to reflect on the influence of art on the business process.  Students were asked to write short novels about how art influences them.  They worked in groups to ensure dialogue about what they had seen.  Through creative writing, they were asked to “Remember the Future.”

IMG_1307.JPGAlthough it is extremely appropriate for seniors to visit colleges to better understand the expectations of the next step,  (Always fun to visit, it didn’t take long before they ran into many former VRG students!) this kick-off was far more than that.

This study trip offered VRG seniors to see, experience and reflect upon how Art and Science can and will affect their senior projects.

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Att anpassa laborationer och praktiska moment efter syfte: “linjärt” eller “blandat” upplägg

Lead Teacher, Hanna Forsberg, shares tips on how to “blend” the learning during labs.
#blendedlearning #VRSkolor #CanvasLMS
Need to translate this page? Open the page in Chrome and click “translate”. If this option is not available, you may need to turn on translation in Settings>>Advanced>>Language.


Jag har länge funderat på hur man kan öka delaktighet och möjlighet till diskussion i laborativa moment. Tiden för laborativa och praktiska moment är ofta begränsad, så det gäller att ta vara på den. I år skrev jag om instruktionen till en laboration där eleverna undersöker sambandet mellan organiska molekylers (alkoholers) struktur och deras egenskaper. Laborationen består av tre olika moment: undersökning av (1) brännbarhet, (2) löslighet, och (3) struktur med hjälp av molekylmodeller. Som alltid inleder jag med att föreläsa om de kemiska processerna på lagom nivå för att utrusta eleverna med de begrepp som de behöver behärska för att kunna diskutera sina observationer utifrån ett kemiskt perspektiv. I originalutförandet av laborationen gör alla elever alla tre moment, och skriver en rapport med metod och analys, ett upplägg som är brukligt i laborativa sammanhang. Vi kan kalla förfarandet “linjärt”. I det nya utförandet delas eleverna istället upp och arbetar…

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