Barneblad: Back to school!


Heidi Håvan Grosch
Sparbu, Norway

First day of school advice from former first graders
The first day of school is a big day. For those starting school for the very first time it is magical. In Norway, if you turn six during the calendar year (this year if your sixth birthday is Jan. 1—Dec. 31, 2015), you start first grade. Most students in Norway went back to school on Monday, Aug. 17.

Knowing what to do in first grade is very important, so I asked two Norwegian former first graders (they start second grade this year) for their starting school advice. Here is what they said in the order they said them:

• Be kind to others

• There is a rule that you shouldn’t hit, but you should have respect for each other

• If someone is sad, it is important to say sorry afterwards and it is good to be friends again

• You need to listen to your teachers or they will get mad

• It is smart to learn about society (social studies) because there are a lot of odd things in the world and you can learn about other countries

• It is really important that you learn Norwegian because there are many different letters, both big and little

• It is really smart to learn things

Good advice for everyone, don’t you think?

Covers for schoolbooks
In Norway, children use textbooks from the school. Each child is responsible for their books throughout the school year, so they often make covers for their books (book jacket covers). Do you? You can buy all kinds of different things like stretchy covers or plastic, or you can make your own.

Here are some ideas from a website called She Knows (

• Weave strips of brown paper

• Use an old map

• Make a cover out of duct tape

• Crochet a cover

• Or Google “school book covers to make” for lots of other ideas.

Another website, Artists Helping Children, has a pattern for the cover:

Alf Prøysen was a very famous person. He wrote poems, songs, and lots of other things. One of his songs that every Norwegian child knows is called Nøtteliten. It is about a squirrel that always gets into trouble, and his first day of school. If you Google “Nøtteliten” there are many versions you can hear.

In Norwegian
Nøtteliten bor i toppen av et tre
Han er aldri ferdig når han skal avsted
Han skal spise fire konglefrø og danse lite grann
Han skal erte frøken skjære og en gammel kråkemann
“Nøtteliten” sier mamma, “er du der”
Nøtteliten svarer: “Neida, jeg er her”
Og hopp og sprett og tjo og hei og fire kvister deler seg
Så kommer Nøtteliten: “Her er jeg”

“Nøtteliten” sier mamma “du må gå
Og vær snar og flink på skoleveien nå
Ikke fly og finne nøtter, du kan spise før du går
Du skal sitte pent på stubben din når skoleklokka slår”
Nøtteliten svarer: “Jada, jada, ja”
“Men nå tror jeg jeg må stikke, ha det bra”
Og hopp og sprett og tjo og hei og fire kvister deler seg
Så hopper Nøtteliten: “Hei på deg”

Nøtteliten gjør så mange rare hopp
Ifra tre til tre og stamme ned og opp
Glemmer skolen og det hele, han gjør kast og sprett og sprell
Finner mange fine nøtter, han er nøtteknekker selv
Men så hører han at skoleklokka slår
Ifra tre til tre så bustehalen står
Og hopp og sprett og tjo og hei og litt før den har ringt fra seg
Så sitter han på stubben: “Her er jeg”

In English
Nøtteliten lives in the top of a tree
He’s never ready to go when he has to leave
He must eat four pine cone seeds and dance just a little bit
He teases Miss Magpie and an old crow man
“Nøtteliten”, says mamma, “are you over there?”
Nøtteliten answers, “No, I am over here!”
And he jumps and bounces, yee ha! breaking four twigs
Then Nøtteliten announces “Here I am!”

“Nøtteliten,” says mamma, “it is time to go.
And behave yourself on your way to school
Don’t get distracted and go find nuts to eat along the way
You must sit nicely on your stump when the school bell rings.”
Nøtteliten says, “Yah, yah, yah
But now I think I have to go, goodbye!”
And he jumps and bounces, yee ha! breaking four twigs
Then Nøtteliten hops and calls, “Hello to you!”

Nøtteliten hops in many strange ways
From tree to tree and up and down their trunks
He forgets all about school, as he bounces and flops and plays
He finds many lovely nuts, he is a nutcracker himself
But then he hears the school bell ring
And jumps as fast as he can from tree to tree
Hopping and bouncing, and just before the bell rings
He sits on his stump and says, “here I am!”

You could even put Nøtteliten’s picture on your book cover… then Nøtteliten would always make it to school on time…

Have a great school year!

This article is a part of Barneblad, a monthly feature by Heidi Håvan Grosch to share with kids and grandkids.

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 21, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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