Summer is Here! School is Out!

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Parents and pupils alike filled the Cygnaeus School cafeteria building to the brim today for an end-of-the-school-year programme that highlighted the many, many talents of Cygnaeus School pupils. Report cards were handed out and hugs were shared. Now it is time to rest and relax.

Take time during the summer to look back through the archives of this blog to see what an amazing school year this was. Be sure to also check out our art page to see some of our art work!

Remember to enjoy the sun and all that Nature has to offer: walks and hikes, swimming and biking, boating and fishing. Eat lots of fresh sun-ripened berries, fruit and veggies. Enjoy time together with the ones you love, Cherish family time. Remember to read: together and alone, silently and aloud, in English as well as in any other language(s) you might know. Just read.

The next post for this blog will be in August when school recommences on the 11th of August.

Have a wonderful summer!

English Class Awards


As is done every year, each English Class teacher presented an award/stipend to a deserving pupil at every grade level. This year the focus was on being positive, considerate and helpful. It was noted by the teachers that these pupils spread good will and warmth daily with their actions and their smiles.

The awards were gift certificates/cards to a local bookstore. Recipients of these awards were: Antti in the first grade, Vilhelmiina in the second grade, Mathéo in the third grade, Jesse in the fourth grade, Julius in the fifth grade and Eeva in the sixth grade. We are all very, very proud of these fine young people and congratulate them warmly!

Cygnaeus Teachers Win Baseball Game -Again!


As tradition dictates, the sixth graders at Cygnaeus School challenged their teachers to a Finnish baseball game. Because it was raining off and on in the morning, the game was moved from behind the stadium to our schoolyard. No one remembers the exact score, but that hardly matters because the teachers clearly scored more runs.  Four out of six English Class teachers played on the teachers’ team, which is probably why the teachers’ team won!


Dandelion Day 2015

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On Wednesday of this week all of the Cygnaeus School English Class pupils, along with the English kindergarten children, celebrated our third annual Dandelion Day. This year the sun was shining and the dandelions were open and waiting for us. (Last year the dandelions were closed because of rainy weather so last year we celebrated Dandelion Day with art workshops at school all day.) This common flower deserves to be celebrated in as many ways as possible!

Dandelion Day stations were set up in a section of the Kirjurinluoto Island park area. Pupils were divided into K – 6 mixed age groups and given starting stations. There was a teacher and a task or two for the group to complete at every station. (PDF files of the tasks can be downloaded at the end of this post.) Click a picture to enlarge it for better viewing.

dandelion day6At the station shown in the photos above children learned how to make spiral curls from dandelion stems. They also learned how to play nonsensical children’s games. (See the task cards for more details.)

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At another station children gathered dandelions and learned to make dandelion chains and crowns. Although the pictures show only girls wearing dandelion crowns, the boys were very handy at making crowns, too, with Julius being the most skillful of them all. Some opted to make rings and bracelets as well.

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The science of dandelion seed dispersal was explored at another station. Pupils made paper tubes about the thickness of a thumb and dropped them to see how far the tube travelled from the dropping point. Then, using scissors, they cut narrow strips two thirds of the way down the tube and dropped it again. Observations were made as to which system carried the paper tube further from the dropping point.dandelion day5

Groups participated in a 15 minute scavenger hunt where they were challenged to find the longest dandelion leaf, the dandelion head with the greatest diameter and the dandelion with the longest stem. (As a matter of interest the tallest dandelion, the one with longest stem ever found measured 177.8 cm (70 in) and was found by Jo Riding and Joey Fusco in Ontario, Canada in 2011 according to Guiness World Records.)  Bouquets of dandelions were gathered to use as batons in dandelion relay races, but sadly we ran out of time before we could organize the races. Two other games the groups played were tic tac toe using dandelion stems and flower heads, and flicking dandelion flower heads into a ring by winding the stem around the flower head and creating a “shooter”.

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Children used dandelions to create butterflies, trees and flowers at one station. At yet another station they used the latex sap of the dandelion to draw spring pictures in “invisible ink”. Water colour wash was painted over the pictures back at school to create a kind of resist.

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Ms. Anu told the lovely Legend of the Dandelion to groups as they visited her station. Another teacher shared fascinating facts about dandelions to groups. There was lots more to do than there was time for, but that is always a good thing. In years to come we will cook and make food with dandelions, write poems about dandelions, act out plays about dandelions and perhaps even create a collective sculpture around the theme of dandelions. We will read stories about dandelions, sing and compose songs about dandelions and do research about dandelions because this common flower is uncommonly interesting and hardy. It is a survivor and can by its resilience and adaptability teach us humans an awful lot!

You may download our Dandelion Day Task Cards below. We would appreciate a comment from you if you decide to download one or more of the cards telling us where in the world you are and how you plan to make use of them.

Dandelion Day Task Cards_A 

Dandelion Day Task Cards_B

Dandelion Day Task Cards_C

Dandelion Day Task Cards_D

A Memorable Marathon School Day

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Last Thursday was the coolest Thursday ever for the English Class fourth graders -and the longest day! After carefully reviewing bicycle safety rules with their teacher, Ms. Kati, the fourth grade pupils pedalled 15 kilometers to the home of one of their classmates. This home happens to be right on the seashore so the beautiful setting matched the day’s fine weather.class trip2_4en

The fourth graders participated in preparations for lunch and soon had a nice fire going on the beach where they roasted sausages. It was a delightful surprise to the class when the hostess of the event appeared with some marshmallows to toast.class trip3_4en

The day sped by with all kinds of things to do and see. A swan swimming in the bay attracted the attention of some pupils. There was time to chill out and time to play games as well. In the photo above the children are playing “Minefield”. One pupil is blindfolded and the game’s challenge is to give verbal instructions to help the player pass safely through the minefield.

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Late in the afternoon the fourth graders and their teacher pedalled back to school where they spent the evening and night at their very own night school. It didn’t take long for the kids to put on their pj’s and then more fun began. The fourth graders held “Class Olympics”. There were individual events as well as team events. In one event pupils had one minute to transfer as many pieces of macaroni as possible to another plate by sucking on a straw. A team event allowed five minutes in which to construct the tallest structure possible using only spaghetti and marshmallows. Another event required collecting paper bags by mouth while keeping one’s feet on the floor. There were many interesting styles of accomplishing this event.

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Pizza, which was paid for with class funds, was ordered and devoured. Watching a movie together and some free play time in the gym rounded out the evening. Some pupils fell asleep more easily than others, but everyone finally got to sleep.

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After having their breakfast in the morning the fourth graders watched another movie. Then they all went out together for lunch at a local fine restaurant as a special treat. In the space of twenty four hours the English Class fourth graders experienced cooking around an open fire, fast food pizza and fine dining. Throughout it all they demonstrated amazing class spirit -and that is most certainly what it is all about!

First Grade Math Revision Round-up

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English Class first graders reviewed a year’s worth of learning today when they participated in a round-up of mathematics that was comprised of various learning.stations. Working with a partner each pupil practiced solving word problems at one station. At other stations they also used flash cards to review subtraction and addition facts together, and then they worked to solve more complex math problems using counters and an egg carton with ten places.

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Their teacher, Ms. Anu, could really see how far the first graders had come. Their partner work was intense and focused. Their math skills were evident. The lesson ended with some self-evaluation: What was good about your partner? What was most challenging for you? Was it helpful to work with a partner and why or why not? The last question was answer with a resounding “yes!” Not only that, but the first graders were able to add wonderful insights as to why working with a peer is so beneficial! So much learned in such a short time!

Jumping in the Jungle!


In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight,” sang the English Class third graders at our Spring Fest. Yesterday the third graders and their teacher, Ms. Leena,  visited a local indoor jungle recreation area and made like veritable monkeys as they enjoyed the trampolines and other features of the jungle area. It was fun to let off steam and pent up energy at the end of an action-packed school year!