The boys’ school

Another great topic suggestion from a long-time blog follower…

They take the bus to school most
mornings. They walk to the main
bus terminal in our city and take one of
the city buses that is designated for the
school each morning.

You mentioned that schools in Norway are excellent. Why are they excellent? What do they do differently?  

Before moving, I read a lot about schools in Norway. And everything I researched told me that the system is great. Very forward-thinking and quick to meet every students’ needs. Of course, most of what I read was about the national school system. But as plans unfolded, we ended up placing our boys in an IB (International Baccalaureate) School.
February 2013
And I cannot imagine a better environment for them! Their school is very much hands-on. They aren’t taught concepts simply through rote memory, but are presented with units of study that are then explored through various methods that allow the students to learn practically and not just theoretically. There is emphasis on cooperative learning, helping students to work together and to develop positive interpersonal skills in addition to academics.
June 2013
They are taught in units/themes. Each unit lasts about 4 – 6 weeks. Through each unit, they may have the chance to work on reading, writing, research, projects, history, science, applied math, etc. Some of the units they’ve studied this year:

DANIEL: You Are What You Eat; Tell Me a Story; Money, Money, Money; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
WILLIAM: Heroes, Space Explorers, Force and Motion, Peace and Conflict

August 2013

They don’t sit at desks and read from textbooks. They typically sit in groups around tables, working with various mediums and materials that make the lessons more realistic and make the concepts stick. They use experiments, field trips, presentations and creative projects to expand and apply knowledge.

Most of the teaching is in English. They have around 5 hours of Norwegian class each week, but it’s basically teaching the same things from the current unit, but in Norwegian. So they’re building vocabulary around things they’re already learning about.

The school is culturally and racially diverse, very international. Many of the students come from international families, having one Norwegian parent, and one parent from another country.

I know I struggle getting services for my kids.  Is that process any simpler in Norway?
Our experience has been educators that are proactive in assessing needs and providing the necessary assistance. We don’t know if this is the norm, of if we are just extremely fortunate to have a fantastic support system at the school. We have one child who struggles with some learning challenges. The specialist at our school went above and beyond to get him the testing and support he needed.

And do the kids notice a difference in the way they are taught or how the day is structured?

Their school day is from 8:45 – 3:05. It is longer than a school day in the national schools, but similar to what they’ve experienced in other countries. They have more opportunities to be up and not just sitting all day. They get two recesses each day, plus PE once a week. They also have opportunities for Norwegian, computer, music, and art. They really love their school!
Daniel participates in a class song at assembly
Student-led spring conferences (2013)
World Peace Day activities

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