I met Signe Sloth from Sřndervangskolen, Hammel on eTwinning website while I was searching for a new project for our school.
The project she proposed there was about making an International Christmas Calendar
Every day in December, exactly at midnight, a new hatch of the calendar opens. The number of a hatch matches the exact number a day. All the slide shows which are there, are made by children from different schools in Europe and present Christmas traditions in their countries.
Even though I have already forgotten the times when I was a child, I always wait with a genuine child’s curiosity, until a new one opens to see another PowerPoint presentation prepared by other participants.
I asked Signe about the idea of her project:
J.M-H: Can you tell us about your international Xmas Calendar - the concept of the project and how you invented it?
(Danish, music, science, ICT):
Last Christmas we made a Christmas Calendar almost like the one we have made this year. The only difference was that it was only made by my own students and they wrote Christmas stories and not about Christmas traditions.
I showed the Calendar to some of my working partners from Sweden and together we got the idea that it would be nice to make the calendar international. That is why I wrote about the idea in e-Twinning just before the summer holidays and then it has just grown from there. I am amazed that the project has grown this big, I never dreamed that there would be this many around in Europe who were interested in the idea, so that is
just great, I am happy for that. In Denmark we have a lot of different Christmas Calendars like the one we
have made here. It is a tradition with Christmas calendars in Denmark. We get a lot of them made out of paper as well they hang all around the houses at Christmas in Denmark.
At the time I decided to join her project and start working with her I didn’t know about the immense of work she put in to make a difference to the students’ learning, as well as the Microsoft contest she had just won.
I asked her about it later on and this is what I have found out:
: Could you tell the readers about the Microsoft contest you have attended?
: Well, it was a competition announced by the Innovative Teachers Network. You had to write a description of a project where you user ICT (computers) and of course you had to use some software from Microsoft. You had to describe what you did and why and why it made a difference using the computers to the children’s learning.
Signe, as one of the award winners, was invited to the USA by Microsoft, where she presented what she was working on - a Robin Hood project
: This is what the project was about
The children 9–10 years olds read the book “Robin Hood” and were divided into 16 groups, according to the number of chapters. Each group was tasked with finding key points to develop their interpretation of the chapter. Students then had to retell the story and make it come alive through pictures and background music using Microsoft Photo Story 3. They made chestnut men and women and accessories, took at least five digital pictures of their settings and then used the software package to create a presentation. Each group had to know the chapter very well to be able to find the important sections. The project used expressive computational tools to create meaning.
It covered language, arts, picture composition and music, all with a strong focus on team work and collaboration.
Students had to do a lot of critical thinking and planning: keeping track of the overall story, discussing ways to make the individual chapters work well together, figuring out where to take photos. It empowered students who had a hard time reading and writing because it allowed them to tell a story without having to write too much.
Signe turned out to be a very creative and full of enthusiasm teacher. We all hope to hear from her soon!
Med venlig hilsen Signe!