Now it's over.

The practical training is done now. It's been a great time at South Range Elementary School! The teachers and stuff there are super friendly and nice, so are the kids! That school feels like home. During the last week and a half we learned about Finnish oddities and children's families. We learned about Finnish celebrations like Midsummer night, May first, Kekri and other non-religious celebrations. We built family trees and during the last days we watched a lot of Moomins. That was great!

There are pupils' family trees.

Kids filling up what Tatu and Patu discover from
Finnish sauna.

Kids made posters from Finnish celebrations.

We became famous.
Last weekend I got to see a lot of cool places around here! First on Friday one of the teachers, Priscilla, took me to Hungarian Falls with her husband. It was super amazing hiking path with many small falls on it. It was beautiful and really nice. Got a chance to see a grass snake. :)

Hungarian Falls.
On Saturday I wen't to explore the cost with Hilary's family. It was super great too! Got rid of my winter fur too. Went for a swim on Lake Superior. It was really nice! :) We also went on top of a Brockway Mountain and the view from there was super amazing! Really!

Great Sand Bay.
And on Sunday one other teacher, Joann (and Nikki and Charley too) took me to Calumet for a historical tour. We started it with the most fanciest brunch I've had in my life. There were two forks and everything! And I'm such a country girl that I didn't really know how to behave but I tried my best. And didn't do anything too inappropriate. I hope… Anyway the brunch was delicious and so was the tour! Lots of old houses that used to belong to big bosses of the mind industry. We also visited a museum which had a lots of stories to tell. The most awful was about Italian Hall. You guys should read about it. It's crazy.

Big bosses had their own pool rooms.
Well. During this last half a week in South Range we've cooked and watched Moomins. We tried to make every Finnish kid's favorite dish: makaroonilaatikko (macaroni casserole). And it actually tasted a lot like the original one.

Only four out of 35 didn't like it.

For dessert we made blueberry pie with my mother's recipe. 

Was almost as good as in Finland. Not far!

Here's some fourth graders eating salmiakki (salty liqourice) for the first time.

Today was my last day at school and tomorrow I'll be traveling to Chicago for a week and then next Thursday back to Finland. It's been such an amazing two months here and I really suggest everyone to take this chance and come to do their practical training at South Range Elementary School. Second graders are really looking forward for next year. :) I got an ice cream party for my last day. I've never participated an ice cream party before and that was great!! :D 

Found some Finnish chocolate from Finlandia
University's bookstore for the teachers to taste.

Best ice cream party ever!

Anyway. That was my two months at South Range and Eetu's one month and it was fun! Hope to read some great experiences form this blog in the future. :)




About everything. And sorry for delay again!

Well. It's been a while since we wrote here. Sorry for that!

It's been such a great time here! As we already told, we've been exploring the Finnish forest. Before that we talked about the Moomins and after that we've been talking about a lot of stuff. So let's start from the week after the forest week. 

We made small performances which were advertisements about Finnish forest. That was the end of the forest season. On Tuesday May 3rd we talked about Santa Claus and Christmas. That was the same day when the local news came to shoot us. We picked up a Christmas tree from the forest together and talked about Christmas traditions with kids. We decorated the tree and sang some Christmas songs. But then happened the most amazing thing! Santa Claus called us and told that he was going to Texas for a World Peace Conference. And since he knew we'd be here he asked whether one of us could come and feed the reindeers while he would stop by in our classroom. So Eetu went to take care of the reindeers and Kalle (Charles, the other teacher of third graders at South Range) went to pick up Santa. While we waited, the kids had a chance to write letters to Santa for him to take with him on the way. The day was super exciting! And finally Kalle came back and he really had Santa with him!!! Kids were scared, excited, afraid, happy and everything in between. They had a chance to ask questions from Santa Claus and we took group pictures with him too.

The whole class with the Santa

After Santa stopped by we wrote him a thank you letter the next day so the students got to take his address to themselves incase they want to write him also another time. We also learned some Christmas words in Finnish and watched a movie that almost every kid in Finland watch every year: Santa Claus and the Magical Drum. 

Oh, and just a comment in between. We have been reading The Comet in Moominland for kids almost every day. It's usually how we have ended each day.

Well, after finishing with Christmas we started to talk about Finnish origins, Sami people. We built a Sami village to the hallway but it's still a part of our forest. We talked about their habits, their reindeers, their hand craft culture, their clothes…etc. 

The flags makes Northern Lights above the fell. 
Reindeer keeper family.

After this Sami day we found out there was a family emergency in Eetu's family. That's why he had to leave back to Finland. He was lucky to get the tickets so quickly! And he got home safely and I continue this teaching practice alone for last weeks. 

So we continued with kids about the shaman drum. Luckily the Finnish American Heritage Center has one that we were allowed to borrow. So I took a drum with me to school and we made some observations about it. I also told a story of my ancestor who turned in to a wolf when he was alive. And from that story my little sister has made a pictures for a shaman drum. And the kids have been writing fairy tales for the last four weeks so they all already had a story to think about and they got a chance to draw their stories on drums. Sure they were only papers, but they got to practice the symbols.

This drum was actually made here in Hancock.

With their drums everyone got a chance to sing a Sami song as well. :)

Then we started to investigate the Kalevala. I told them the story, a very very short version, and from this story each kid got a picture of a one part of the story and behind each picture there were a poem from that part of the story. So in the groups kids got a chance to remember what happened in that part of the story and they had to read the poems and try to understand what they meant. Afterwards we put the story in order without talking. It was almost right. :D

There you can see the Kalevala with pictures. From front to back.

In the end of that class we made a Sampo. Kids were the parts and it produced a magic that makes one not to be allergic to cats.

The next day we got a chance to see a kantele and also play them. They have those instruments at the Heritage Center like 20! I only wish Eetu would've still been here 'cause he would've known how to play one. And how to teach kids to play one too. But we had fun with those kanteles anyway. :) We also learned about Finnish people through stereotypes. Of course we also learned that stereotypes are not true! One should always learn to know the person and not judge them from where they're from. In the end of that day we had a small kantele concert at the classroom. :)

Well in the end of the week we started to explore about each student's family and their families' backgrounds. On Thursday they all got a homework to write on a map where their ancestors are from. Then we red some more Tatu and Patu and made comics from different families in the book. We finished the story about Comet in Moominland and I handed out the same book for the class. We bought it with Eetu to give to them as a present. So that they can read it later too if they want to. For the weekend everyone got a new homework which was to find out their grandparents parents and every member of their families if they will. That's because on Monday we'll build family trees to everyone. ;)

So here it is. The second last week at South Range Eelementary School. It's actually the last whole week 'cause next week's Thursday I'll fly away to Chicago for a week before heading back to Finland.

Oh! And as a tip to everyone! Each Sunday there is poka dance evening at South Range in Eagel's Lodge. There's a lot of cool people dancing poka (in Finnis: humppa). It's every Sunday from 5pm to 8 pm. The entering fee is 7 dollars so really not much! There's also dinner for about six dollars and you can eat as much as you want. Everyone who will ever come here should go there to dance! I'll not go this week but definitely next week I'll go again! :)

This is from Mother's day dance night. There were special decorations for every mother. :)

Well, that's all for now. Everybody enjoy your May!! :)

puss och kram


Finnish forest

We've been doing exploring the Finnish forest a lot with the kids! The whole last week was about different animals and insects. Every day pupils got a different animal group from which they could make more animals to the forest they've built. In the end of this week we went out to the forest next to the school to explore more. We had such a great time there! Unfortunately we weren't allowed to build a real camp fire so we had to imagine it again. In the forest kids got to do some research in small groups where they could experience the forest by its smells and sounds for example. 

Here are some pictures of the forest. How it has developed from the tree day.

Next week we'll start exploring Tatu and Patu book a little more. And from there Finnish history and all other interesting stuff. ;)

That's all for now!