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

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(Guest blogger: Lead Teacher, Patrik Friggebo)

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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
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Hannas skolblogg

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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“Brain Breaks” give students better focus

Jonas KärnströmGuest blogger:  Jonas Kärnström, Lead Teacher at VRS Djursholm

Can we improve student focus and, ultimately, their academic results by having them “move more”? I have been thinking about this notion for some time.  I have read studies about just this idea – and am testing some ideas at VRS Djursholm.

Three years ago, two colleagues and I attended a conference for physical education teachers where a Swedish teacher named Martin Lossman (teacher at the Östra Gymnasium in Huddinge) told about a study in Naperville High School in the suburbs of Chicago, USA where the school worked with the moderate to intense activities daily with the students.   

 

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This school had successfully incorporated moderate to intense exercise each morning before reading and math class and that gave better academic performance in school. The students improved their results on standardized tests and in classroom attention rates.  The school engaged students both in early morning exercise class and Brain Breaks during class help students stay focused.

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Brain Breaks are a quick and effective way of changing or focusing the physical and mental state of the learners in your group. They are also a useful tool for students to use to help activate, energize and stimulate their brains.

 

Not long after this conference, Pernilla Hemmingsson (Head of School) and I had the opportunity to attend a lecture where two teachers from Naperville presented how they worked with pulse training and how they had conducted brain breaks.  

Brain Breaks should take place after about 25-30 minutes into the lesson.  The teachers introduce some type of activity to help the student brain that might be starting to turn off – “reboot” /  restart. The effects of a brain break should be that the students, pulse1with a little movement, restart the brain through cross lateral movements so that they will be able to hold focus the whole class and thus perform better.

We even got to test it for ourselves.  Based on this experience and further reading, we decided to introduce this approach at VRS.

Last year, we started with one 7th grade class who had 30 minutes more movement each week before the math lessons to improve their performance, and we began to introduce Brain Breaks in the theoretical lessons.  This year, we will continue the work with the same class (now in 8th grade). They will have an additional sports class.  We are also starting with a new 7th-grade class. They will have 30 minutes extra before math x 2 additional sports classes each week.

In addition, when VRS students have their national tests, we will offer training in the morning before the tests to give the students the best chance to succeed.

We have held information and training workshops for teachers and students on the effects of movement and the benefits of exercise prior to learning and Brain Breaks.

brainscanThe idea of “more movement” is being expanded in other ways as well. Some teachers have tested Walk and Talk methods when having their individual development discussions with students.  I am thinking of testing this approach with my year 9 students when we have our development talks later this term.

Even if the effects may not be felt immediately but we believe that increased movement and Brain Breaks will eventually lead to better student results.

Every week, we post three new brain breaks that teachers can use in their lessons on our school portal.  Here is one example:

Hands Brain Break  (from Brainbreaks.blogspot.se)

1.  Stand Up.Hands

2.  Start by waving your right hand in front of you –  left to right.  Your palm should be facing away from you while keeping your hand with your fingers pointing up. 

3.  Now stop that hand and have your left hand in front of you waving it up and down.  

4.  Now practice moving them at the SAME TIME.  Do not move your hands going diagonally.  

5.  Now switch to have your right hand up and down and your left hand left and right.  Do this faster and switch often to make it more difficult.

6.  Lastly, to increase the difficulty, have your arms crossed while doing this. 

Other resources for Brain Breaks:

Energizing Brain Breaks

Brain Breaks restore focus

 

 

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The staff that runs together stays together #WeareVRSkolor

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Last week, more than 230 VR Schools staff members met up to run or walk the Bellmans Race in Stockholm.  This is the largest relay race in Sweden.

After an intense school start week, this was just the boost the staff needed to “kick-off” the new school year.

 

 

With so many new faces joining our organization each year, it is important that we meet each other to talk and laugh and network.  As each team completed their race, the rest of us cheered them on!

This was the first year that teams were able to walk the Bellman’s Race.  In teams of five, they could walk the whole track together.  This change made it possible for every staff member to join.

On Wednesday night, our organization had the largest number of participants and were featured in the press the following day:  Bellmanstafetten slår alla rekord! 

 

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We believe it is important to promote the well-being of our teachers … healthy teachers lead healthy schools.  In our group, we had participants of all ages, 19 – 67.

With more than 60 teams, every school participated.  Each school did “top” one team.  This made for some stiff competition.  In the end, VRS Djursholm team won!

Thanks to VRS Vasastan for organizing – a great night had by all!

#togetherweachievemore

#tillsammansåstadkommervimer

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SGLI 2017 – Becoming peacemakers with friends from around the world

IMG_0734Guest bloggers:  Robin Nordström, Alice Corneliusson, Sahand Salary

For the eighth year in a row, the Student Global Leadership Institute (SGLI) brought more than 70 high school students from 23 schools in 9 countries to Hawaii.

The three high school students that represented Sweden in SGLI 2017 were Robin Nordström from VRG Djursholm, Alice Corneliusson from VRG Jarlaplan and Sahand Salary from VRG Odenplan. New for this year was that the program opened up to middle schoolers from 6 different countries, therefore two middle schoolers from VRS Vasastan also joined the two-week program.

This year’s theme was peace. Peace is a very complex term – not only in a global perspective but also in a community or in a relationship.

The institute was held at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Punahou is the largest IMG_0726American independent school and the 2nd oldest in the country.  They have more than 3400 students from kindergarten to grade 12.  We were lucky enough to live in the dorms at the University of Hawaii only 3 km away.

During the two weeks, we got the chance to listen to inspiring speakers that spoke about peace in different contexts. The presentations gave us a lot of information and new thoughts. We also went on many field trips, for example to Pearl Harbor. In school, we discussed issues regarding peace, participated in many group activities and created small projects.

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By meeting and getting to know students with completely different backgrounds, this program has given us a broader understanding of peace and the world in general. It has made us realize that we, who participated in the program, are a part of something bigger than ourselves. We have grown as people in the sense that we have been given new perspectives and we have become more open-minded and accepting towards others and their opinions.

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These experiences help us when we started to plan for our own project the second week. By having people like Dr. Soetoro-Ng and Mr. Apio shed light on what they believe peace and leadership are made us realize how complex the phenomena really is. Also by visiting Pearl Harbor, we were also exposed to the tragedies of what a state of conflict, arguably the antonym of peace, could lead to. Therefore, we concluded that creating peace in one’s own community is quintessential in preventing larger scale conflict.

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“Thanks for an amazing opportunity!”

Because Sweden is rather segregated between people of foreign background and Swedes, it can be tense between the two communities. Swedes have yet to perfect a successful way of integration and thus keep for themselves. Immigrants to Sweden struggle to integrate into everyday life.  We believe that this is a big problem in Sweden and that is why we chose to focus our project on students that struggle to get into high school in an area where there is a lot of immigrants. We want to help them reach the grades that are required to enter high school. This could, in essence, also lead to an enhanced understanding between people of foreign backgrounds and Swedes in order to promote a more powerful, peaceful and inclusive society. To learn more about our project we recommend you to watch our presentation video:

(NOTE:  This video feed is for all of the SGLI presentations, we are #16)

To read about VRG’s participation in SGLI 2016, click here>>

To read about VRG’s participation in SGLI 2015, click here>>

To read more about the SGLI project, click here>>

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VRG Lead Teacher, Mona von Porat, shares her findings regarding formative teaching methods

35 Mona Von PoratVRG Lead Teacher, Mona von Porat, shares her findings from a yearlong study of best practices with formative teaching methods in our municipality’s classrooms.

Click here to read the entire report:

(NOTE:  entire report in Swedish)

Det formativa arbetssättets verkan utifrån undervisningsstrategier

#variationinmethod #effective #efficient #vocabularybank #smallgroups #relationshipsmatter

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Rapport: Ledarskap i en digitaliserad skola

Our Lead Teacher, Hanna Forsberg, and our Math Coach, Anna Klara Berg Eklundh share their research report on what type of leadership is needed in a #blendedlearning classroom …

Hannas skolblogg

Med hjälp av stipendium från Margareta och Ingemar Ingemarssons stiftelse har vi bedrivit ett projekt för att undersöka hur lärarens roll som ledare kan komma att förändras i och med skolans utökade digitalisering.

Arbetet har sammanfattats i en rapport som problematiserar kring digitaliseringen i relation till lärarens roll i klassrummet, samt hur digitalt stöd och digitala strukturer skulle kunna användas för att stärka lärarens ledarskap. Detta bland annat genom att:

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When student work is recognized outside of school, it becomes more real

rotary2017aStudents excel in many different ways.  Music students show their talents in concerts, athletes show their skills on the playing fields and entrepreneurial students win their competitions for the best company.  And, while it is true that our top academic students receive top grades as rewards for their work when their work is published and recognized outside of school … it is even more appreciated.

Each year, we are lucky enough to have students’ work recognized by our local Rotary club.  In an annual essay contest, year 2 students submit pieces of writing to a jury for selection.  This year, we were lucky enough to have four students recognized

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for their outstanding achievement in Swedish.

Students and teachers were invited to an awards breakfast where they read excerpts from their work.

This year’s theme was civil disobedience and civil courage.

Some of their essays are included here:

We are proud of these students and what they have accomplished with their writing. Thanks goes to their teachers who have guided and coached their development.  And, of course, thank you to the Djursholm Rotary Club for recognizing their work and making it more “real.”

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Grow Trees Grow … Graduation 2017

A day filled with photos, memories, smiles, tears, stories, speeches and song … it was truly a day to remember!

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Songs at lunch …

Kristy’s speech:

The day has finally arrived … your graduation day.  All of your hard work and daily efforts for 12 years has led to this day.  There are very few things you do once in your life, graduate from high school is one of them.  This is indeed a special day.

You have already received a great deal of advice, you have the knowledge and skills from your many courses, you are ready.  I know that some of you are nervous, excited, happy, melancholy and anxious … Today, it falls to me talk to you about what is on the other side, the other side of that great big door you will run out of today.

It’s like you are tree.  You started as a small plant way back in 2005. As an eager little plant you started your growing journey of classes, games, fritids, study trips, mentor meetings, exams, avslutning ceremonies, friendships, conflicts, sports, music, art – all of these activities, all of these phases are part of the growing process and are what has brought you here today.  You have had many garderners (teachers and family) who have made sure that you have had sunlight and water and space to grow.  

During these 12 years, as a plant you have now grown to become a tree.  Some of you have grown in crooked ways with funny branches, some of you have needed your branches clipped from time to time to help you grow further.  Yet, all of you have become real trees – some of you are fruit trees, some are flowering trees and some of you are evergreens.  The reality is we are all different, as trees we all grow in our own way.  This is the beauty of diversity in our forest.

Today, at 14.00, you will run out of our school for the last time, you will cross over to the other side.  To our side … As a graduate, as an adult, as a tall tree, there are a few things you should know …

  1. One important point to remember is that as a tall tree you are responsible to shade and aid smaller trees, help them … share with them your knowledge, shade them from too much sun 
  2. Also, good to know, is that when the wind blows and when storms come (and they will!) know that your trunk will hold, you will still stand no matter what … the trick is to dig your roots in.  You see your roots are your values.  Whenever times are hard and we are challenged, it will be your values that see you through.  As time goes on, your roots will grow deeper.  
  3. You should also know that on the other side (adulthood), all trees work together.  Our network of roots intertwines beneath the surface – this makes us all stronger.  You see no matter which type of tree, we all rely on our values to get along and build our forest together.  Above ground we can look very different, but under the surface, we are all alike and need each other
  4. This is important to remember when and if you pull up your roots and move elsewhere to study or work … no matter where you live, dig your roots in … be active and kind and caring and honest … these “roots” are valued no matter where your tree grows
  5. Trees never stop growing … so even if you grow crooked or all your leaves fall off, forget your responsibilities, there is more to come.  There will be many opportunities for you, some you will miss and some you will realize.  Don’t fret over the missed opportunities, trees never stop growing.  With time, new branches and new chances always present themselves.

Now, I know you join me in thanking the “gardeners” who have supported you along your three years here.  They have watered, taken care of and pruned (when needed) to make sure that you had the perfect growing environment, the perfect learning environment.  Gardeners, all of your hard work “digging in the dirt” has really paid off.

And, on behalf of all of us, know that we are so proud of you.  We are so proud of your accomplishments.  We are proud of the trees you have become.  

Today, when you run through those doors, what you will hear are cheers of joy and “go, VRG, go”.  Please know that what we are really saying is “grow, trees, grow”.

Songs (and dances) in the aula …

And, then they were gone.

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Best of luck – Class of 2017

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