Family Holiday Traditions 

With the month of December comes lots of excitement and traditions that students are eager to share. At morning meeting on Monday I kicked off talking about holiday traditions by sharing one from my family in Finland. Last week our family received a package from our family for Christmas. It was filled with a few little goodies from some of our favorite Finnish shops and an advent calendar for both my sister and I. Right away I knew it would be perfect to share with my students at school to kick off our study of holiday traditions around the world. […]

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Summer in South Africa

Well I finally did it, I booked my flight to South Africa for two weeks this July! This will mark continent number six for me and be fulfilling a long time dream to travel to Africa. When my friend Christine asked me last spring if I was interested in traveling with her to South Africa this summer, I didn’t hesitate in telling her of course I would go! We talked about going and what we would do for months. And now talk has turned into action. It was time to make traveling there a reality. We finally sat down and […]

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles 

There is one thing that always marvels me whenever I travel abroad, and that is the efficient public transportation systems of other countries. Bus, trains, trams, boats, it doesn’t matter how you need to get around, I find that countries around the world have lots of public options for people. When I think about how the public transportation stacks up to that in the US, all I can think is how we pale in comparison.  Back to even my earliest travel days when I use to just travel with my family, we always used public transportation. In general, my experience […]

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What’s In A Map?

One of the social studies topics we cover in second grade are types of maps and how we use them. Obviously this is a perfect opportunity to share with students maps I have picked up over the years during my travels. I have to admit that everywhere I have been I have collected maps, brochures and other literature just waiting for the right opportunity to use them one day. That day has finally arrived!   By using real maps of places around the world, it will be an authentic way of showing students different styles of maps to students. I […]

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States of Matter Around the World

Science is universal. Take the states of matter for example. No matter where you go in the world matter will still be matter. We are currently studying states of matter and of course I have been thinking, “How can I take this study international?” Well I think I have found a way. Students are gearing up to start a big science project that integrates science and technology. Using information they have learned so far about the three states of matter we focus on, solid, liquid and gas; students will go on a scavenger hunt outside around the school to take pictures […]

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Engineering Smarts Amsterdam Style 

A shift when teaching science this year is to incorporate more engineering based lesson. As part of the new science standards, engineering plays a larger role in the way science is taught in the classroom. With each topic in science, there is an engineering component that accompanies it.  One thing that I love about incorporating engineering is how it goes hand in hand with inquiry based learning. Inquiry based learning puts students in the drivers seat. Students use information taught in lessons to create solutions to a problem posed to them.  Travel has been a huge inspiration as I plan […]

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Market Squares 

One of the things I loved most about my time in Europe this past summer was spending time in markets. Abuzz with activity, sounds and smells, open market squares were the perfect place to soak up culture and do a little shopping at the same time. When I returned home to the states all I could think was how much I missed the open markets I had visited.    Why can’t we make a go of permanent open air markets here? I mean if Helsinki, Finland can have one year round then towns in New England certainly could make it […]

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Fall Foods Near and Far

Fall has finally arrived! Besides the onset of cooler weather, wearing cozy sweaters and acclimating oneself to back to school routines, there is my favorite fall tradition of going apple picking. What made this fall even better was hearing from my family in Finland. They may not have gone apple picking, but they were gathering food as only the Finns can do. Back in the States, it doesn’t matter where I go, all that matters is that each fall I find a weekend to go and fill a bag with more apples than I could ever possibly consume on my own. […]

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Family Connections

This week in school my students read a informational text about family. During our readings of the selection we took a close look at the family to better understand and learn more about them. We asked questions like, what kinds of things do they like to do? How many people are in their family? What hobbies do the people in the family have? There was so many great points to look at and compare to students’ own families. This story was also a perfect opportunity for me to make a connection to global learning. How could I do this? Well, I […]

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The Hills Are Alive

One of my favorite experiences this summer was going on The Sound of Music tour in Salzburg. Not only did I get to spend the morning listening to the music of my childhood, but the scenery was breathtaking! There are several tours to choose from but our family opted for the morning half day tour. We spent the morning touring different places used for filming the movie both in Salzburg and outside the city. Some of the sights we had seen the day before when we walked around the old town area and we didn’t even realize it! There was […]

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