School Blog

Writer visits IESU

Writer visits IESU

Image above: Anders Björkelid

On Tuesday 24th of April, Anders Björkelid, a well known Swedish fantasy author, came to visit IESU. The students in year seven have been studying his novel "Ondvinter", which is the first book in a series of four. They had prepared questions to him about the novel but also about being a writer. There was an endless number of questions, however Mr Björkelid appreciated the enthusiasm and curiosity of the students.


Thank you Anders Björkelid for having a pleasant book seminar with us!

From the Principal

Scientific Inquiry Workshop

Scientific Inquiry Workshop

On Thursday April 5th, IES Uppsala hosted an all-day professional development seminar for around twenty-five science and art teachers within our company. This workshop was led by Mr Mark Baldwin, the director of education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, New York, USA. Some of you may be familiar with the name Roger Tory Peterson (interestingly of Swedish decent), whose notable achievements are for advancing the environmental movement in the 20th century and the development of the field guides, as we know them. Roger contributes his achievements and interest in nature to his teachers in his formative years of school in Jamestown. Mr Baldwin, our host, was thrilled to be in our new school in Uppsala, a town notable for Carl Linnaeus, the developer of how we define nature with modern taxonomy. 

With my scientific background and vision for a scientific profile for our school, I was very eager for this Scientific Inquiry workshop day so that we can learn how to further integrate science and discovery into our curricular.

Mr Baldwin received a Bachelor of Science in biology and science education from the State University of New York and Master of Science in Teaching from Antioch/New England Graduate School. He has taught science in Vermont, Alaska and New York. Mr Baldwin now works with teachers to help them gain skills and confidence to infuse nature study into their teaching. His special interest is in the professional development of teachers to promote teaching and learning that are outdoor-, nature- and place-based. We were honored to be hosting this event focused on teaching and learning skills, habits and attitudes that promote inquiry and discovery about the natural world. 

As Mr Baldwin described, a field journal is a simple yet effective way to record observations, organize data, and make sense of what you observe, and can turn any contact with nature - even in the schoolyard - into an opportunity to learn. This workshop engaged teachers in a series of exercises and field experiences designed to sharpen observation and visual note-taking skills. The aim of the day was to promote teachers to encourage their students to transform blank books into indispensable tools for scientific discovery and artistic expression, as who knows, we may have a young Roger Peterson in our midst.

With the weather being kind to us, we started the day by heading outside into our school grounds, which encompass the genetic gardens, to collect interesting natural objects that would be used in pure contour sketching exercises. The aim of this task was to have all of your attention fixated on the object itself, such as a pinecone, which launches oneself into the state of "discovery readiness", where you prepare the learner to inquire and then create. Following this exercise, we focused on gesture sketching, as this incorporates one to consider that nature is always in motion. Gesture sketching taught our participants that a few well-aimed lines can train the eye to see and recall this motion and the overall forms of objects as identified in nature. So the difference between pure contour sketching and gesture sketching is that pure contour sketching helps participants break out of symbolizing to a more active way of seeing, while gesture sketching further sharpens observation skills.

Mr Baldwin assisting teachers outdoors
Mr Baldwin assisting teachers outdoors
Mr Baldwin addressing our teachers
Mr Baldwin addressing our teachers
Dr Heimeier engaged in sketching
Dr Heimeier engaged in sketching

For our last exercise in the morning, participants were engaged in disciplined observational sketching, which is simply a modified form of pure contour sketching; instead of looking at the object the whole time you sketch, you look at it most of the time. In this way your sketch will represent the object itself not your biased preconceptions about it. Regular use of a magnifying lens is a great way to refine observation skills and make science connections to art and writing.

After lunch, we went outside again and focused our attention on sound mapping. Here, participants were taught that sound mapping is a way to record what you are hearing into your field journal because a lot of scientific and artistic observation of nature involves carefully listening and analyzing what has been heard. For example, listening to birdcalls, distinguishing between man-made and natural noises.

Engaging classroom discussions
Engaging classroom discussions

Warming up after fika indoors, we voluntary shared our field journal entries, which prompted questions about what each of us has seen and heard, what questions we have, and what lines of inquiry and creativity we wish to pursue. This naturally led to a discussion of what curricular/professional applications will allow us to reflect on what we have learnt during the day and how one may begin to implement these in the classroom. I was particularly happy to hear of cross-curricular developments among the sciences and arts.

PTA Spring Mingle this Sunday!

PTA Spring Mingle this Sunday!

 

The PTA Spring Mingle will be taking place at IES Uppsala, Sunday, 13th May, from 11.00 am

For more information click here

 

 

 

The Schools PTA is now formed.
To find out more about what the PTA do and how you can help support our school 
click here!

 

 

From the Principal

Spring Celebrations

Spring Celebrations

The smell of spring is in the air. Swedish tulips are in bloom, with squirrels and birds beginning to make their way back to our school grounds. When I see such life returning, I am reminded of the Disney film, The Sword in the Stone, where Merlin the Magician gives social, educational and magical lessons to a young boy referred to as Wart, who eventually pulls a magical sword from a stone and anvil to be hailed as King Arthur. The scene from the film that I am referring to is the one where Merlin turns Wart and himself into squirrels to learn about gravity. Wart is almost eaten by a wolf, but is saved by a female squirrel, who falls in love with him. The additional lesson learnt, is that well love is perhaps the greatest force on earth. With squirrels, spring and the theme of love in the air, it seemed almost natural that our junior school hosted its very first Valentines Day Dance on February 17th. Valentines Day is a day to celebrate your appreciation of another. Thank you to our class 4B parents for putting on such a lovely event for our Grade 4 and 5 students. Both staff and students enjoyed themselves immensely. With so much enthusiasm, energy, and fantastic dance moves, it was very difficult to select our Dancing King (Pauria, 4A) and Queen (Amber, 5A).

With March 17th fast approaching, it was time for another celebration, Saint Patrick's Day, a cultural and religious holiday commemorating the patron saint of Ireland. This day is one of the most celebrated festivals throughout the world, perhaps due to the large number of Irish people that have emigrated from Ireland. Our Irish teacher, Ms Herbert promoted our school to "Go Green" for Saint Patrick's Day, which we celebrated on Friday March 16th. During the week, all students were able to learn about the history of the festival and had the opportunity to experience Irish dancing in our ball hall, led by Ms Herbert. It was wonderful to see our school decorated in shamrocks, green, white and orange.

Going Green
Going Green

Ms Herbert leading in dance
Ms Herbert leading in dance

Though spring is in the air, before we could officially say goodbye to winter, we had to hold our first winter Sports Day (March 22nd). Although we were uncertain whether we should take on such an undertaking in our first year, this was a great day where the whole school, middle and junior students, could mix with each other in their chosen activities. Students were all smiles from their activities ranging from skiing, hiking, basketball, soccer, belly dancing, salsa dancing to bike riding. Thank you Ms Kipfer for initiating this event and for all staff and parents assisting in the range of activities. This day was a well-deserved break for our students who have been working so hard during this school term.

We have really seen the progress in our students' educational and social development this term and we are proud of each of their achievements thus far. A great example of this was on our last day of term where Ms Udekwu, our HOY for Grade 8 and 9 students, had a true Hollywood themed end-of-term assembly. With musical scores being performed by our students from films such as Twilight, the students were able to finally see each Year 8 classes Teenage Soap Opera episode that they had been working on in English. I was taken aback by the increased confidence and advancement in each of our students' development in the English language. Well done to all and to Ms Petzall for challenging our students. Golden Easter Rabbit Oscars were awarded to Osman, Chino and Lillian for their outstanding performances. We have stars in the making, so stay tuned.

Workshop for August 2012 Intakes

On Saturday 11th February we will be holding two workshops for new students who have applied to join the school this August as part of our academic 2012/2013 year intake.

The first workshop for future grade 4 and 5 students will be held in the school auditorium at 9:00 am  finishing at approximately 12:00 pm.

The second workshop for future grade 6 to 9 students will also be held in the school auditorium at 13:00pm finishing at approximately 16:00pm.

All students should make sure that they bring a pen, ruler and an eraser for the workshop.

If you are unable to attend please notify the central school administrator by Wednesday 8th February the latest.

 

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