A year ago Lorraine Leo from Jackson School, MA (USA) suggested that we join the Penguin Science Project running from November 2012 to January 2013. This year we joined – four classes from Vonsild School, Denmark – from 1st to 8th graders.
The project is organized by Jean Pennycook, who stays near the penguin colony at Cape Royds, Antarctica – following the Adelie Penguins day by day from the building of nests to chicks running around.
The goal is to learn about penguins, the environment and Antarctica in general.
You are able to join the project on different levels. In Vonsild we have had 8th graders learning about climate changes and weather. All classes have been following the nest of Mary (the penguin we have adopted) daily. We share the nest with Jose Lopez´s class in Spain, who has adopted the male – called Pocolo 2. Pocolo 1 was left by Mary after she had laid one egg. What a drama to follow!
1st and 2nd graders have been making postcards to be send to Antarctica to get stamped. They have also made a flag to be sent to Antarctica where it will wave near the nest for a period before it will be returned to our school, as they have been writing penguin stories.
We ended the project with a skype call to Jean. Three classes (1st, 2nd & 6th graders) were asking questions about penguins, Antarctic surroundings, tent lift, etc. One of the eye opening facts was that human waste was transported by helicopter and ship to the States to keep Antarctica 100% clean. It was also interesting to see the temperature was -2 deg. Celsius both in Antarctica (summer) and in Denmark (winter). We were also asked to give the chick a name, which was a fantastic opportunity for our students.
See more on our class blog!
I can highly recommend to join this project, which resumes in November 2013. But make your arrangements now. Please e-mail Jean for further details: jean.pennycook AT gmail.com, or visit the website: http://www.penguinscience.com.
A great wake up call to all non-English-born-speakers. To make a blog in two languages (or more) is a fantastic tool for teachers from countries with another primary languange than English. On one hand to target the young pupils and their parents, on the other hand to target teachers and schools around the world for collaborative matters.
Two new blogs have been born in Denmark and Greece:
Science teacher Michael Ljunggreen from Vonsild School in Denmark has started a new blog with students´ science experiments written in both Danish and English. SCIENCE PLAYGROUND http://sciencepg.blogspot.com/
German and English teacher Effie Kyrikakis from Winners Education in Athens, Greece has made both a blog: http://winnerseducation.blogspot.com/ and a wiki: http://winnerseducation.blogspot.com/ in both Greek end English.
It could be great to hear comments on the pedagogical thoughts about this from both bilingual teachers and English speaking teachers. It could also be great to hear if anyone know other bilingual blogs, wikis etc. as examples.
Teaching 1st graders in the Danish Public School means focusing on basic areas of Danish language. In Denmark, English is introduced in 3rd grade.
Nevertheless I found it important going global to enlarge the global awareness of my pupils and open the door to other cultures and nations. Awareness of differences gives greater socialisation in class as well.
Our class blog is written in both Danish and English. Danish so the pupils and their parents can follow our daily work (portfolio like) and in English to begin cultural collaboration as for relatives in other countries. In that way we gain several learning goals.
Our first big collaborative project is about “The Global Lunch Table”. What we eat and how we get our food for lunch in different parts of the world. It was an initiative from our friends in Room 14, Hamilton East School, New Zealand
Our next task is to filming what we have written about our lunch in Danish and then have our ´Better Buddies` from 6th grade to read it in English. It will be published on the blog. In that way we also get an athentic collaboration in school between 1st and 6th graders.
Doing bilingual blogging easily helps pupils who do not speak English to start being 2nd language learners.
You can visit our class blog here: http://vonsildskole11.blogspot.com/ and you are welcome to contact me for further information.
Stefan Åge Nielsen – Vonsild School, Denmark