Starting new school year

Here is some of my planning for the new school year. Many of these things are old and familiar but I will add something new and hopefully something deeper. I really want my students to learn more than my subjects. I want to make them ready for their after school life. I hope they will learn 21st century skills, collaboration, creativity, problem solving, technological skills, empathy etc. and what I always say “common sense”.


All planning begins from the learning objects. First I need to know what I need to aim for. Then comes contents. Both of these are well presented in Finnish curriculum. This is also based on NPDL pedagogy (New Pedagogies for Deep Learning). If we want to go deep in learning it’s essential to take students with you in planning process. All this goes nicely together with Finnish Curriculum.

I want to make even more clear to my students what we are learning and what our learning objects are in every lesson. I have made every object in individual Power Point slide and printed and laminated them. In the beginning of the lesson I will tell the students what our objectives are and put them to display. This way students know better what we are doing, why and what will they learn.


Making all visible is key to everything. I will assess student’s work flow as always. I created my own scale (under) and it will be visible during the whole school year. In the beginning of school year I will go through it and ask if students have something they want to add or change.

Basically students should do self assessment in every lesson. In the end of the lesson I ask students to think and go through how satisfied they are to their input during the lesson.
This school year I will ask students to fill self assessment form which I share in Onenote to their work space. I also give my opinion how I feel they have worked during the lesson. (second picture)

If there will be huge difference between our assessments, it’s very educational to discuss about this difference: why do we see things differently, what I need to know about the student, what needs to do different and how to get there. We will do this regularly but not after every lesson.


I will have collaborative learning in my classroom. Students will work and study in three to four person groups. They will fill me one simple form where they tell me how they learn best. Then I create groups where are same learning style students. They will work with the same group during the fall season. This way they will learn to know the group members better and have perseverance.

Students will make their own group poster and they will get “badgets” when the group works nicely together. When same learning style students are close together they can support each other and understand better why the other needs to make notes all the time or why the other swings the chair all the time. It’s even easier to me when I know where my kinesthetic students are or who needs lots of visualization.

Microsoft Teams is one place where we all can collaborate and have all our digital materials in one place. We can learn how to write and “act” in social media because Teams is closed place and that’s why it’s safe place.


I use games to motivate and inspire students. Minecraft is something that I will include to bigger projects. Students need to implement something they have studied and show me that they have learned what they have studied. Maybe I will replace exams with this.

I have planned that 8th grade students will study different vegetation zones on earth. First they need to make report about the basic of the ecosystem using Word, Power Point or Sway. All the information will be collected in Onenote. Then they need to build the ecosystem in Minecraft using right biome. They need to add human world and human impact there.

My 9th grade students will study the whole human body. We will study how each organ works, how the human body is build etc. They have studied human biology in fifth grade but this time we go deeper in learning. I used Minecraft with my fifth grade few years ago. It was huge success! Not only they needed the data they had learned they needed to collaborate. My 9th grade students will do something like this too. They need to go deeper and explain better the function of one organ.



Fieldtrips are common in Finland. The nature is close to us and it’s so easy to go out and explore forest. We will explore water and forest at some point but I take fieldtrips further. I will use my connections and make Skype calls around the world. Mystery Skypes are perfect for my Geography lessons. Students need to use their map skills and problem solving skills. And this is perfect opportunity to practice their English skills in action. Students have loved every time when we have had these sessions.


SDGs are present all the time in my lessons. It’s not any separate subject or theme. I need to teach for the students how important it is to make sure our earth is viable for the next generations. Koen Timmer has again world wide Climate action project. I have participated in it every year with my 7th grade students and this year won’t be any exception.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Ages 9-12

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