N a t u r e – Is our home, it teaches us most of the things we need to know: love, care, beauty, the grandness of being alive, have fun, calm, excitement, awe, happiness, survival, resilience, creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, presence, connection, imagination, prediction, scenario planning, physical activity, a sense for details, opening our senses, sensing the energy of all living things and how all is connected, breathing, meta-cognition …. and so much more.
Nature makes us calmer and more clear-minded.
When I was a kid, the mountains & forests were my playgrounds up in Lapland. There were no indoor play centers, hardly any stores not to mention malls, no Yoump Yards, not much being “served” to us, so we had to be creative ourselves.
As an adult, I am often drawn to the sea. That’s why I live five minutes walk from the seashore.
If I had a day of too much dwelling in my thinking, I would seek the sea to put the balance right. It helps!
Most indigenous people have a sacred connection to nature, to earth. The Sami people up in the north of Sweden feel the soul in every living object. That’s how I grew up to be too. My dad often guided my thinking when it came to being kind to nature, just by prioritizing spending time there. He would know what plants, trees, and animals were called and could tell stories about them. My mum sometimes said that it was my dad’s and my Sami genes that often pulled us out into the wilderness! That we got restless having to be indoors.
I found it difficult to be indoors too long, and as an adult, I have a strong pull to go outside…
They say that a child who lives close to nature will never hurt her.🔆☀️🌊🌴🌲🌻❄️🏔
⚡️The first thing for your brain to solve is your SURVIVAL, not your happiness.
⚡️You always scan people and situations as either a)threatening or b)safe/supporting.
⚡️In a crisis like COVID-19 the human brain will focus on COLLABORATION and PROBLEM-SOLVING.
⚡️CORTISOL (panic, stress, anger) in the system stops creativity and collaboration. OXYTOCIN ( love, care, touch, emotionally involved ) in the system strengthens your willingness to collaborate and create with others.
Yesterday evening was astounding in Helsingborg. It was one of those perfect summer evenings that you never wanted to end!
As we are all home, on a staycation, Nanna and I decided to set out on a mission, on a learning journey to host events about the future of education and learning, to ignite change. We are designing and creating a new eco-system of learning for the 21st century learners in Helsingborg and beyond.
We started this platform, this hub, to create possibilities for people to meet and discuss the future of education and learning, as we felt that there is no such forum in Helsingborg that meets that need.
We refer to this hub as “Fun and bite-sized innovative learning sessions for the 21st-century learner”
The world is changing so rapidly and we need to change with it. There is climate change to tackle, COVID-19 that still is present in our lives, machine learning is changing the learning landscape. There is so much to talk about and act upon!
Yesterday we met at the beach restaurant Fria Bad och Bar and we had prepared a few activities about neurotransmitters for the participants + how they can use the knowledge about neurotransmitters in their every day lives to thrive and maintain healthy relationships.
Oneof the discussion questions was about the prime task of our brain:
The prime task of the brain is to keep us alive, it’s all about survival! In each situation, with each person you meet, you automatically scan the situation+person as either threatening OR strengthening! How can you now implement this knowledge in your everyday life?
Another discussion topic was about oxytocin:
Oxytocin is the feel-good, love neurotransmitter. Oxytocin is in your blood when you feel loved when you care for someone or even when you just see someone caring for someone else. Oxytocin is present when someone tells a captivating story. It is there when you feel trust in a relationship when there are solidarity and togetherness. You lower your guard, your learning feels easier, collaboration happens and you feel more open-minded and creative.
How can you develop sustainable relationships where the oxytocin is flowing?
This is what Special Needs Specialist Felicity Almonte said about the event:
“I have attended two events organized by Yvette Larsson and Nanna Spetz so far pertaining to some thought-provoking topics surrounding pedagogy in education and it has been very interesting and fun! I am motivated to join for socialization purposes as the agenda and the venues of these events have also been enticing. Both Yvette and Nanna have their own unique strengths and they set a wonderful and inviting mood together to get the discussion going. I love the activities and the games they have created together so far! Meeting new people and experiencing what the city has to offer are great bonuses!”
Stephanie Kremser, also a Special Needs Professional, said this:
“I really liked the activity with the dice – I just enjoy games and when you naturally make the connection with the content. Even though I have a good knowledge about neurotransmitters – I think ☺️- it was always more of a “passive“ knowledge. Now I have a better understanding of how wide the field is, and where I can apply this knowledge – not only for my work but for me in private as well. I can take control of the steering wheel.”
Sarah Jayne, PYP teacher expressed herself like this:
“Thank you Yvette and Nanna for a lovely evening at Fria bad och bar! I loved that the group was so diverse and we were able to share our perspectives and learn about neuroscience in a warm and fun environment. The games were fun and the questions provoking! I hope you will organise more events in the future. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻”
Adrian Copos said : “Thank you Yvette and Nanna and whole group. It feels good to be part of these events and meet you. There is always something interesting to learn and to feel the dopamine, endorphins and oxytocins 🙂 Hope and light, togetherness and fun good stuff to keep people alive. 🙏”
This summer I have indulged in webinars and podcasts that have one thing in common: the future of education. I will give you more elaborated descriptions of the contents soon.
There is so much possibility for educators to use this extended staff room which is LinkedIn. At LinkedIn you will find so much valuable content for educators! That’s the place where I go first when I wish to develop in any area that is work related.
What I noticed this summer is that educators around the globe are talking pretty much about the same things, how to develop learning experiences for the 21st-century learner. I must say that the IB has come a long way and I am happy to be a PYP teacher.
My favourite pod this summer is The Game Changers:“The Game Changers podcast aims not only to put a spotlight on the innovative ideas shaping the landscape of 21st century schooling, but to enter into a deep dialogue with those brave pioneers, the true game changers in education. These individuals, these leaders in education, don’t wait for permission. They are courageous enough to make real change in their learning communities as they foster the growth of each young person in their care and equip them with the necessary character, confidence, and competencies to flourish in a new world environment.”
Here are three very powerful episodes:
The Game Changers pod is Australian and I participated in an Australian webinar earlier this week where the speakers spoke about agility in education.
Earlier this summer I spend a full day, glued to my computer listening to inspiring speakers from all over the world at the T4 conference. T4 connects educators from all over the world.
The International School of Geneva, Switzerland hosted a very interesting webinar today through The Ecolint platform about Researched Informed Practice in Education connected to the future of education.
On Tuesday I will listen to amazing Anna Tebelius Bodin who specialises in neuroscience and how we can use that knowledge in our roles as educators.
NEUROSCIENCE – did you know that in EACH situation, with EACH person you meet; you automatically scan the situation and person as either threatening OR strengthening/safe!
IMAGINE what impact you can make on people in your surroundings, knowing that you either threaten them or give them strength and safety. If you work with groups; this knowledge is ULTRA important.
Think of how you worked with tasks at school as a student: was it because you felt threatened or because you felt strengthened / enjoyed the learning / felt safe? Think of the same and put it in the context of your work. Do you have a strengthening work environment where you are?
These are things that Nanna Spetz I will speak about on Friday’s Dinners with Meaning at Fria Bad & Bar 🔆🔆🔆🔆🔆 We will be preparing the activities today!
JOIN US on Tuesday the 23rd for a PICNIC in the park, where we will EXPLORE the world of NEUROSCIENCE, and how we can apply it in our everyday lives.
This event is part of our fun, bite-sized and innovative learning sessions, that we organize to spark a passion for the skills needed for us 21st-century learners, and focus on the future of education and learning. We are creating an eco-system with people who wants to change the future of education.
During the picnic, we will put the SPOTLIGHT on dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin.
Bring your favourite drink and a snack to share for 2-3 people.
We will meet in VIKINGSBERGSPARKEN at 5:30 PM.
Email me on : email@example.com if you would like to join us!
The future of education and learning was in the spotlight today when Nanna Spetz and I held our first event focusing on fun, bite-sized, and innovative learning sessions for us 21st-century learners. We started the morning with a coffee at Etoile and then walked up to beautiful Vikingsbergsparken.
We met up with the participants at the park and talked about the purpose of the day and they could all share what their intentions for coming to the event were. We set off on our Walk and Talk, and talked about the importance of concept-based learning for a deeper understanding of events and problem-solving, the 21st-century skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking skills.
We spoke of the huge benefits of physical activity in the context of learning and well-being, shared experiences, played a game and enhanced the importance of fun when it comes to motivation. We admired nature and Helsingborg, enjoyed coffee at Brödkultur 2.0, touched upon the exciting area of neuroscience + growth mindset, and finished off the walk in Pålsjö.
Here are a few snapshots of a day full of learning and laughter!
Next week we are organizing a picnic where we are going to talk more about neuroscience and how you can apply it in your everyday life. PM me and I will send you an invite.
The Future of Education and Learning. If you are a parent, teacher, rockstar, teacher-rockstar, innovator, municipality co-creator, business angel, entrepreneur-gig-artist or someone else who is interested in the future of education and learning, please join us on Tuesday at 10am for an A W E S O M E “Walk and Talk”, starting at gorgeous Vikingsbergsparken.
It’s free of charge.
Myself and Nanna Spetz will be your guides. Read more here :
DATE: Tuesday the 16th of June.
PLACE: We will meet up at Vikingsbergsparken, Helsingborg by the Tågagatan entrance..
We will walk towards Sofiero and back again, finishing the walk by the Pålsjö Pavillion.
You will be given a few topics to talk about such as:
“What are the 21st century skills and how can we use them to learn, thrive and develop?”
“How is motivation boosted by the knowledge in neurosciense, i.e oxytocin, dopamin and endorphins”
“What is the importance of movement for learning”
“How to develop a growth mindset au lieu de a fixed mindset”
“What is the power of concept based learning?”
“The importance of fun” ( yeah)
IB educators Nanna Spetz and Yvette Larsson will be your guides.
Please email your interest on : firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapp me on 070-8558101
Att hemestra i Skåne är ren njutning. Vi har många underbara platser här. Jag bor i Helsingborg och tänkte visa dig några bilder från idag, då jag promenerade hemifrån Tågaborg, ner till Gröningen, utmed stranden, förbi Brödkultur och avslutade i Sofiero. Hör av dig om du vill veta mer!
“We are moving from an era of mass education, when students flexed to the pace of the curriculum, to an era where the curriculum can move to the pace of the student” – Sal Khan / Khan Academy.
With the digitalization HUMANS ( at any age ) CAN design an individual education plan more easily than ever before. Differentiation is key. Different people need different things.
The time of the one-fits-all education is long gone. Passed that station. So 1998.
We want to encourage a lust for life-long learning.
My 10-11 year old PYP5 students are working as if they were project managers organizing their work on Google Drive, writing and presenting pieces with tools and apps that many adults do too. The students talk to each other on WhatsApp and they create groups for their projects, they make short tutorials and put them out on YouTube for the benefit of other students ( yes, with their parents permission).
When I work with kids and learning ; age almost fade away. There is so much that kids CAN do and with the digitalization there is no end to how far a kid can reach, world wide #gretatunberg #malala.
This is one of the things I’m talking about on LinkedIn, with educators from all over the world. See you there?
Imagine that you are outside walking. The sun is shining and the scenery is breathtaking. Let’s say you spend a few hours outdoors. You become aware of the natural surroundings that embrace you. You start to feel calm and happy.
In the afternoon you come home and you notice that you have walked 22 kilometres and you feel really happy about that.
You have a bath or a shower and afterwards you feel warm in your whole body and you have rosy cheeks. You are hungry and you feel like eating something healthy. A friend calls and wants to have a barbecue outside.
Your mind feels clear and you feel balanced. You go out in the park and have a barbecue in the evening. When night falls you fall asleep easily and you sleep deeply.
This was one of my days this week.
The benefits of being outside in nature are many. The benefits of physical activity likewise. Add a dose of mindfulness and you have a pretty good chance of staying balanced often, and be more open for learning new things.
These are things that I think about and act upon when I work as an IB educator and design learning activities for my students.
This school year the P.E teacher and I initiated a physical activity program, where we wanted to see the students being physically active every day.
My students have their two normal P.E lessons each week, plus three more sessions of what we call “Let’s Move”, a sportive program to enhance student well-being and learning. The students enjoy it tremendously. Our hope is that all students at school will have Let’s Move in the future.
During the times we live in now, with the pandemics and with schools still being open in Sweden, I have decided to spend more time outdoors with my students.
Outdoor education is something that I have been thinking of a lot, but never really seemed to get my head around properly. Now, during the pandemic, I started to read up on outdoor education, utepedagogik as it is called in Swedish. I started to network with like-minded educators from around the globe on LinkedIn and I realized that the time is now. The pandemic itself is devastating and stressful, but it is also opening new doors for us to reinvent, to imagine new beginnings and to question the status quo.
When it comes to physical activity, time spent in nature and mindfulness, the science is here; they all enhance our well-being and we learn better. Why not implementing the three more in the world of education?
Schools can be rigid places where change takes a long time. Luckily I work within the IB-program, which is a cutting edge, well-rounded, holistic program that focus on inquiry based learning, has a transdisciplinary approach and a focus on concepts and skills within the curriculum. Within our set of PYP ATL skills we have the self management skills and its sub skills: affective skills and mindfulness!
Tomorrow is the first day after the Easter Break and I will definitely bring my students outside and do outdoor teaching and learning.
Have a look at the benefits we gain, from spending time in nature, from being physically active and from doing mindfulness training regularly.
Some of the main benefits of being outside in nature are:
Lower blood pressure
Lower level of stress
Better cardiac health
Lower blood sugar levels
Better concentration and a feeling of a clear mind
Boost of the immune system
Helping weight loss
Inspiration to become more creative
More apt to take care of nature
Easier to learn things
More apt to collaborate
The benefits of being physically active are very similar to the above list. Let’s add some more benefits:
Better brain functions
Chance of having low blood cholesterol
Better recovery if being ill or injured
Easier to learn things
Now let’s look at some of the benefits of mindfulness:
One thing I am thinking about, during my daily walks at the beach is : I see so many people outside, walking or running. I assume these people are working from home. Usually you wouldn’t see so many people outside, on a weekday, in Helsingborg… because most of us work.
Can it be, that after this period has passed, we can create more flexibility at work places, so that people could work from home to a greater extent, designing their day with more freedom ( of course in a dialogue and planning with employer ) and have a chance to go outside and be physically active + enhance our well-being and learning / working capabilities?
I think it’s a good time now to start thinking of the reinvention of workplaces and think more deeply about sustainable health.
Today my colleagues and I were meant to go and visit other International IB schools in our geographical area. Some colleagues were going to Copenhagen, Hellerup, Malmö and Lund. I was going to go to the International School of the Gothenburg Region. For obvious reasons we are not going. However, I connected with three member of staff at the Gothenburg school and one of them was Camilla Martinsson.
Camilla is teaching the same age-group as I, have family roots in Gällivare too, but the most interesting thing for me is, that she and School nurse Susanne Hogner have initiated a wellness program for students. Camilla is practicing mindfulness with her students, every day, for ten minutes.
I got interested in their program, as I have also initiated a wellness program, together with one of the P.E teachers at my school, where my students have physical activity every day. This means that the students have the obligatory two hours of P.E that all PYP students have each week, then they have, what I call Let’s Move, where they have 30 minutes of high intensity physical activity the three other days of the week. This is to enhance student learning and well-being. I am specifically looking at the factor: focus, just as Camilla in Gothenburg.
I asked her to describe why they started with the program and how she does it in practice with her students. Here is her story:
“I have been noticing that teaching has been becoming more and more difficult over the last few years. Students have a harder time staying focused and attentive, leading to all sorts of other disturbances; not only does it lead to me having to repeat instructions, but sometimes students also zone out when we were having discussions or during ‘teaching’ time; students distract other students since they are unfocused; students not learning new concepts or being able to practice new skills, all of which makes the job of being a teacher more difficult.
One day during a unit on the human body we spoke about sleep. At least half of my class of 9-10 year olds told me that they had trouble either falling asleep, or that they woke up in the middle of night and couldn’t sleep. This had been a problem for me for years but I had just about 1 year before this conversation, been able to manage my sleep better by practicing mindfulness with an app for about 10 min/day.
I was a little shocked that so many of these little kids, who should be sleeping soundly all night, had the same issues that I had had. They told me their brains wouldn’t turn off.
I then became more and more interested in trying to help them by introducing mindfulness to them in a structured and simple way. Our school nurse and counsellor had similar ideas and invited me to come on a one day course in Stockholm to learn more. We were all amazed!
When we returned to Gothenburg we immediately looked up courses we could take and signed up to become instructors, paying for the course ourselves, since we really believed in this. After that we applied for money from Skolverket and got granted some, that we then used to educate the staff who were interested and try to bring mindfulness to more teachers and classes.
We started by giving lessons about the brain, empathy, compassion, and how our feelings, physical sensations and our thoughts are connected. At the same time we started holding mindfulness sessions, 10 min/day, every day, with all of our grade 4 classes.
After about 2-3 months we realized that this was really helping. Many students said that they slept better, classes were calmer, students were more focused, I didn’t need to repeat instructions or explanations, and another perk we noticed was that we hardly spent any time solving conflicts between students.
We have since continued, and have also taken more courses to learn specifically how to work with mindfulness in the classroom. This year I have since August, practiced mindfulness with my class every single day for 10 minutes. Sometimes we listen to an audio file, and sometimes I lead a session myself.
The sessions are focused on different things: the breath, physical sensations (body scans), sounds, music, food, their face, their hand, a natural object, thoughts/feelings, and sometimes, the sessions are visualisations where the focus is compassion and empathy, and the feelings in the body that the visualisation give rise to. We usually turn the lights off, and the students either stay in their seats, or moves to a place where it is easier for them to focus inward, and then we listen to the chime to start us off.
After the session is over, we always have a little time to reflect, sometimes just a few minutes, but sometimes longer. I guide them and ask questions about what they noticed, how it felt, were they distracted, what did they to then and so on. This was really hard for them in the beginning, but they have gotten better and better at expressing themselves and talking about feelings, thoughts and focus.
Camilla MartinssonPYP Grade 4 Classroom Teacher International School of the Gothenburg Region”
Find out more about the program here, where Camilla works together with school nurse Susanne Hogner:
Here is a personal, short thought about the strengths of the IB during challenging times like these.
Now is a good time to deeply put in use our fundament in the IB teaching and learning.
We need the learner profile BALANCED in order to keep our inner calm and focus. We need to be CARING to others.
Many people are in quarantine around the globe and others practice self-isolation. In Sweden schools are still open.
Now is a good time to really put into practice the IB values, be the global leaders that we are aspiring to be.
We can practice our ATL-skills; for example critical thinking skills and research skills trying to understand the reality around us and make good decisions.
It’s important to look deeper at events in the scope of our IB CONCEPTS : 🏆Form->what is it, the corona virus ? 🏆Function – how does it work? How does it spread? 🏆Connection – how are things in society connected at this time now and what effect does these events have on my community ? 🏆Change – how does the situation change literally by the day?
We can look much deeper into the UOI’s ; “Who we are “ as people in times like these, how we care for each other, how governments, organizations and communities make decisions and “How we organize ourselves”.
We will for sure come to a point when we will reflect on how we are “Sharing the planet” amongst humans and other living things.
Try walking or biking… it’s healthy for you and the environment! Get those 10.000 steps per day!
Transportation is part of our physical literacy. Make it meaningful!
The term “active transportation” means using your body to move about in your neighbourhood, by foot or by bike.
For my own part it means walking to work instead of taking the car, most of the time. I feel refreshed after having walked to school and the day definitely starts more relaxed. I am not so fond of biking, so walking suits me better.
Hurray! The Let’s Move Lounge is now up and running on Instagram , Facebook and LinkedIn . There you will find me discussing neuroscience and how physical activity has a positive impact on students’ learning and well-being.
My hope is that school leaders will take action and start implementing physical activity on students daily schedules, from primary years up to gymnasium.
The science is there: students learn better and feel happier when they lead a physically active life.
Join the conversation and make the world a bit smarter, happier and healthier!