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  • Writer's picturePer Clingweld

Emma from Gotland shows the way - how to get started with Kattalo in the classroom

Emma Widegren is passionate about awakening students' curiosity and joy in language. As a primary school teacher on Gotland, she has found a digital tool that makes it easier than ever - Kattalo. With the app, Emma creates engaging learning activities that develop students' creativity and desire to write.

At Kattalo, we are curious about how our users work with the app in practice. That's why we met Emma to hear her concrete examples, insights, and advice. Join us as this passionate soul shares her passion for language development and digital tools!

A dream come true

Emma's driving force is clear - she wants to make a difference for every student. Already at the age of 7, she knew that teaching was her calling in life. After 15 years in the classroom, she has not regretted her career choice for a second.

"There is nothing more amazing than being able to follow the children's learning journey and see them grow. Being part of the magical moments when the penny drops is a privilege!" says Emma with warmth in her voice.

Aside from teaching, Emma is a passionate writer. Among other things, she has written teaching materials for Natur & Kultur and runs the digital platform Skolmagi where teachers can share educational materials. An important purpose is to highlight the playfulness and creativity in the teaching profession.

Teacher joy and community

In her free time, Emma enjoys life on Gotland together with her large family. In the old limestone house in the countryside, Emma lives with her husband and four children together, as well as an extra child. In a house over a hundred years old and with a large garden, there are always projects waiting.

It is the same sense of community that Emma wants to create in the classroom. Together with a colleague, she teaches a second-grade class with 36 students. By dividing them into smaller groups, they can meet different needs and reach out to each and every one.

A language-developing approach permeates the lessons. Everything revolves around the students being able to express themselves, play with words, and find joy in communication. Kattalo becomes a powerful tool here.

From Dalarna to the classroom

But how did the journey with Kattalo begin? Well, at a conference in Rättvik just over six months ago. When Emma heard about Kattalo, she became very curious and immediately sensed that it could be an important piece of the puzzle in the work of developing students' writing.

"I was immediately hooked on the well-thought-out approach. After a few weeks of testing with my students, I was convinced - Kattalo would revolutionize our writing instruction!" says Emma.

The path to actually starting to use the license she won in a competition on Instagram was not entirely straightforward. It required some internal discussions and convincing the IT department. But Emma's drive and patience paid off. Soon the students were writing in full swing with the help of the app - and the development was rapid.

A toolbox for teachers

So how do you actually implement Kattalo? Here are Emma's 5 best tips for those who want to get started:

  1. Work with support structures. Help the students plan their text before they start writing. Use, for example, a four or six-square, or put up post-it notes on the board.

  2. Vary text types. In Kattalo, you can write everything from facts and instructions to stories and poetry.

  3. Try it out together! Work circularly. Write drafts, give feedback, write again. In the app, it's super easy to save versions and see the progression.

  4. Communicate digitally. Emma's students love sending messages to each other and the teacher.

  5. Write for a recipient. Formulate letters or texts to someone outside the classroom. Motivation increases when the words have a purpose.

From space adventures to love poems

A concrete example of a successful writing project is when the class worked with space. The students first read non-fiction texts with their learning buddy, collected keywords, and filled in a six-by-two matrix before starting to write based on their plan.

Another popular theme was emailing letters to an author whose book they had read together. Getting a personal response gave a boost that fueled the desire to keep working.

"Kattalo has really opened up new creative possibilities. Once when I was sick, I received a nice letter from some students where they wrote how much they missed me and how everyone was longing for me to come back. Being able to communicate like that in the app adds new dimensions!" says Emma with a smile.

The joy of cracking the code

For Emma's students, Kattalo has meant many aha moments on their journey in written language:

"They have become very curious about the form of texts and spend more time developing their texts. I often hear exclamations like 'Is there really supposed to be a double letter here?!'. Reflections that show they see patterns and systems."

Lesson plans to be inspired by

Eager to try Emma's creative ideas? Here are two concrete lesson plans to use freely.

Space theme:
  • Read non-fiction texts about a planet together

  • Pick out 5-8 important keywords. Write them on the board, a mind map, mini whiteboard, matrix, or similar

  • Let the students formulate their own sentences with the words as support

  • Give feedback and let them develop the texts in Kattalo

Feel free to use Fröken Jossan's downloadable space theme material on Skolmagi so you don't have to create everything from scratch yourself.

Letter to an author:
  • Contact in advance and ask if they have the opportunity to read, and if they have the opportunity to respond. It is a lot of work and is nothing one can expect, however, you can ask the question and hope for a positive answer.

  • Choose a current book you have read together

  • Discuss how a letter is structured with a greeting phrase, content, and ending

  • Write letters to the author in Kattalo based on a template

  • Send the letters digitally for convenience, e.g. by printing as PDF from Kattalo

Dare to be a linguistic role model

The core of Emma's teaching is to awaken the students' curiosity about language. The key is often to dare to be a playful role model yourself:

"Children don't do as we say, but as we do. Therefore, it is so important that we adults around them use a rich language, play with words, and have fun when we read and write together!"

In Emma's classroom, Kattalo has become a natural part of this joyful learning. With the app as a starting point, a creative writing environment is created where each student can grow and flourish in their communication. And the joy when the penny drops is unmistakable!

Which of Emma's tips will you start with in your classroom? Feel free to share your own experiences - together we spread the joy of writing and inspire each other to language-developing teaching.

Do you have questions or thoughts about how you can use Kattalo? Get in touch with us - we are here for you and your students!



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