IBPOC. Teachers sharing their stories and perspectives

It has come to this time of the year when IBPOC (refers to Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) publishes a daily calendar, during the month of May. In the calendar a teacher is each day sharing a story about teaching, being a teacher, the last school year, inspiration sources or just life in general. 

It can be nice to read this calendar – that is a blog – to find some extra strength during the last tougher part of this school year. I hope you will enjoy it:

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Mental health awareness

This week, on May 9th-15th is the Mental health awareness week 2022. The theme this year is: Loneliness – Finding our connections to feel less lonely.

The library has found a nice slide presentation and a student guide to read to become more knowledgeable about what loneliness is, how it affects people and what you can do to connect to yourself, others and the world around you.

Below you can also find a worksheet to color, if you would like to do something relaxing during the mental health week:

Here is also a short, but informative film clip on the “epidemic of loneliness”:

In the ISGR library we will display books on mental health from today and one week forward. You are welcome to have a look and borrow from them if you want! Below are some examples of books being displayed:

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New group reading sets on the theme of Ukraine

We have now received a couple new group reading sets to the library, taking place in Ukraine as it was before the war. We have got a group reading set in English and another one in Swedish. We have also got the title as an ebook (see attached file) and as an audio book (see link below). 

The title is a quite thin reportage book written by the journalist, teacher and master in political science Paul Frigyes. Here is the description of the book, provided by the publisher:

“In Ukraine, adriftis a report from a nation in search of an identity and a place in Europe. Paul Frigyes jumps on the train to Lviv to discuss gender roles, tries to get his head around corruption and the post-Soviet economy in grand Kyiv, digs into memories of genocide and forgotten bodies in Kharkiv in the East, meets environmental activists in the rough steel city of Kryvyi Rih and gets lost in the footsteps of Karl XII and Mazepa in the woods of Poltava. Finally, he visits Chernobyl as it turns into a Mecca for misery tourism.  Democracy activist Andriy Kruglashov summarizes the state of Ukraine, a nation that in 2021 turns 30 years old: “We are somewhere between pure madness and something that could turn out really good.”

Please feel free to come and borrow the title if you would like! 

The other day the library also tipped In&S / Humanities teacher about the latest issue of Världspolitikens dagsfrågor. Från brödraskap till fullt krig / Jakob Hedenskog, that also got discussion questions to go along with it. It could be used by LL or Swedish teachers as well, to read aloud to students and work with it in class. 

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Sustainable workshop on the theme of Japanese architecture

On April 6-8th all 8th graders were visited by the architects Madeléne Beckman and Sara Sandell from the governmental organization ArkDes (Swedish centre for architecture and design) in Stockholm. This happened as part of the school’s Creative School project, underpinned by the National Arts Council.

Beforehand the students had worked a bit with sustainble architecture. They had read articles about it from the student magazine Schoastic art starting from the basic with ”5 architectural works to know” and then ”Design for a greener world” and ”Building from nature”. After that, they had gotten the chance to discuss, write and imagine what sustainable architecture can be like. They also got an assignment to bring 5 recycling items each to the workshop in architecture.

Madeléne and Sara did a 2.5h workshop with each class in grade 8. Madeléne started off through introducing the students to Japanese architecture. She showed some different examples of houses and talked about their functions, for example:

  • Long houses. They look similar in Japan and Sweden. They give shield for weather and wind.
  • Store houses. They look similar in Japan and Sweden. They are built on poles to protect from rats, bears and other animals.
  • Museum of Värmland.
  • Landskrona art hall.
  • Japanese tea house.

The difference between Japanese and Chinese architecture is mostly that Japan is using wood, paper, reeds and more while China is using stone, Madeléne told. A difference between Swedish and Japanese architecture is that Sweden is directing houses towards the sun while Japan is rather valuing shadow.

In Japanese architecture there is a fluidity between inside and out. For example, strawmats are used, pagodas with curved roofs, hidden roofs and verandas surrounding buildings. They are also talented at building small spaces, because in Japan, the Japanese live in only four square meters per person.

Madeléne gave some examples of some famous, contemporary Japanese architects:

  • Shigeru Ban, that is trendy in Europe at the moment. He is specialized in making delimited spaces,  for example privacy tubes for refugees, with layers of fabrics between each tube. He is also making symmetrical or irregular patterns symmetrical He is also playing with shadow and light.
  • Kengo Kuma is focusin on ceiling contures for verandas, so that verandas build relationship to gardens.
  • Sanaa (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa) working with wind shaped hoes.

As a warm up exercise, the students got to experiencing space. They went for “a mirror walk” looking up in the roof and at the same time had to trust the person in front of them to lead them the right path.

When the student returned from the mirror walk, they got an exercise by Sara; to build a house in groups of 3-4 students relating to:

  • Japanese architecture (details, walls, roof, paper, rice paper, sliding formations or other).
  • Use 3 geometric shapes (squares, triangles, rectangles or other).
  • Sustainability (both environmental, with recycling, nature, farming or other and socially with the house being inclusive).

After the workshop the students cleaned up, before each group was presenting their houses to the whole class. They then needed to tell about elements of Japanese architecture, geometric shapes used and how the house was sustainable, environmentally and socially. Each group also got some extra questions from Sara.

For examples the students had created storage spaces of various kinds, mostly for food, windmills, colorful houses to give hope, solar panels, isolation to keep warmth, defence,  a sense that everyboday would be welcome, wells and other water sources, an interior that was corresponding to an exterior. There were a lot of towers and concave roofs, pillars, verandas and more.  

After the workshop, there is an exhibition with all sustainable houses inspired by Japanese architecture in the corridor at the 4th floor. Please come and have a look!

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“We are made up of stories”

On March 14th all 7th graders had a “Liyana half day”, where they watched the movie Liyana, discussed the film and had a workshop in film making, with one of the directors behind Liyana, Aaron Jospeh Kopp. Aaron grew up in Eswatini in South Eastern Africa, where the film takes place. Later on he moved to the United States, where he lives now. He has traveled over the world for doing documentaries, films and more, for example for HBO, Netflix Originals, National Geographic, Discovery, UK Channel4, CBS, CNN, and PBS.

About film making Aaron says says:

”We are made up of stories. Stories are how we envision our future, how we growing up and how we are becoming succesful. Stories are the most powerful tool we have.”

During the workshop the students made film clips via the app WeVideo as they had downloaded, watched a tutorial for and (hopefully) tried out beforehand.

During the filming the students tried out an ”over the shoulder shot” (see shot diagram below). For this excercise they were assigned different roles. They were director, actor 1 or 2 and cameraperson 1 or 2.

  • Actor 1: Asking questions. Examples from Aaron were: What is your favorite film and why? Tell me about something you find inspiring and beatiful and why. Tell me about something you love to do for fun and why you love it so much.  
  • Actor 2: Answering questions in some complete sentences.
  • Camera person 1: Follow and answer instructions from director, for example saying ”Rolling!” Recording from a stable position. Maybe zooming in.
  • Camera person 2: (See camera person 1.)
  • The director: Giving instructions like: ”Roll camera! / Press record!”, ”Action!”,

After the recording the director was asked to set up a folder at Google drive and share it with all group members. The camera persons uploaded the films in the folder. Aaron talked a bit why it is good to use multiple cameras, for example because ”angles give a lot of power” and the same scene can look different from different angles.

Then the students got to practice editing. They cut the films into slices, used speaker, muted and unmuted the sound, muted the listener, sampled text and more. Aaron talked a bit about film makers having the power to decide what people are saying in films, that it is possible to manipulate sound and thus to shape an illusion. Aaron encouraged the students to try out to mix the answers, to make fun / weird things and check what is happening. He talked about film making as a way to practice resilience, to make failures and bounce back again. ”That is ok to make failures”, Aaron said, ”because in all film making , failure is the best teacher, so you need to think that you will understand more next time.”

Aaron showed ”the hyena scene” from the Liyana movie, as the students had watched earlier the same day and discussed earlier during the day, out from the themes empathy and resilience. He showed the hyena scene with no music, right music and wrong music. Aaron then talked about how connected music is to emotions or what is happening emotionally. Without music a film usually feels flat while if you add music, it opens up for drama and excitement. You should add music late in the technical process though, Aaron advised, for ”the emotional truth of the story you are telling”. There is no guide for how to do it, but it comes down to your instincts.

At the end of the workshop the students got the chance to ask Aaron questions.

-Why did it take 10 years to develop the film Liyana?

-We were a small team with not a lot of money, so we had to do a piece at a time and raise money in between that. We also had other jobs at the same time, so we were juggling two different occupations.

-Did you personally get to meet the kids in Liyana?

-Yes, I even knew them before starting to make a film about them. After 20 years now, we are still in touch and friends. I am happy that I got the chance to connect and get to know them. I feel so much respect for who they are, what they have experienced, the pain they went through, what strong, imaginative and beautiful ideas they have. To you I would like to give the advise to be true to who you are. In that way you will grow bigger and the truest version of who you are is what the world needs the most.   

This workshop was part of the school’s Creative School project supported by the National Arts Council.

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Grade 8. ISGR Instagram documentation by ArkDes

Here comes an Instagram post about ArkDes (The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design) ongoing visit at our school. 


This is posted yesterday – and today the architects Madelene Beckman and Sara Sandell told me they would put out “a story” for each day they are here. So if you are interested, please feel free to follow them on Instagram!   

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Architecture workshops lead by ArkDes

Wednesday til Friday this week, ISGR will be visited by two architects from ArkDes (The Swedish Center for Architecture and Design in Stockholm); Madelene Beckman and Sara Sandell.

All students will then be doing a workshop in architecture on the theme of recycling, with inspiration from Japanese architecture and geometry (what MYP8 are doing in Maths with Luis).

The students will bring 5 recycling materials each to the workshop, that can be plastic, cardboard or materiasl, but not fabric.

During the workshop, the students will then be building something out of the material they brought, in groups and based on an assignment handed out by the architects.

In the Creative School committee we hope it will be fun and educative and would also like to recommend you to read one of the inspiration / preparation articles for the workshops, if you haven’t done so yet:

  • 5 architectural works to know
  • Design for a greener world
  • Building from nature

This is what the workshop schedule looks like:

  • Introduction
  • Experiencing space – an exercise of trust.
  • Lecture – Japanese architecture and some Swedish buildings that are inspired by Japanese architecture
  • Break
  • Workshop – with recycled materials
  • Cleaning and Presentations 
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Books on wildlife and survival

Soon half of the students in grade 7 will be reading books on wildlife and survival, over the Easter break and a bit longer. Because of this, the library has prepared a book trolley with books in some different categories.

  • Animals
  • “Drifters”
  • Easy readers on wildlife / survival
  • Environmental Issues
  • The forest
  • Nonfiction on wildlife survival
  • Other books on wildlife / survival
  • The sea

Below you can find one book on each category (sometimes a book fit in two categories though).

Quiz: Check if you can find out what book belongs to what category!

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Women’s month, World Children’s Prize Program and Sustainability

For women’s month the library has chosen to share the article “Girls’ rights” from the magazine called Child Rights Ambassador for girls’ rights – and some reading comprehension questions and answers to go along with that, to facilitate discussion of the article in class.

The article “Girls’ rights” has an international perspective and brings up girls’ right to education, health care, spare time and more.

The database EBSCO has also tipped us about a virtual exhibition called “Girlhood (It’s Complicated). It is arranged by the National Museum of American History and examines ways girls “have spoken up, challenged expectations and been on the front lines of change” in five key areas: politics, education, work, health and fashion.

The library would also like to tips about some new books in the library focusing on strong women.

The library would also like to tip you about two resources that have arrived to the library in connection to World Children’s Prize Program. That is the magazine The globe – in a class set both in English and in Swedish. – And the magazine No litter generation  in a class set both in English and in Swedish – suitable for April, when we will be focusing on sustainability. 

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Greetings from ISGR students to war kids in Ukraine

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