More of Shel Silverstein’s Poetry


English Class third graders continued their exploration of some of Shel Silverstein’s poetry. This week the children read the poems, Hinges, Whatif, Homework Machine, and Voices. Emphasis was on reading out loud with inflection. Pupils practiced reading the poems to themselves and then one another.


Pupils then discussed what each of the poems meant to them. Finally each pupil wrote the poem, Voices, in his/her language arts notebook. This is a good poem for recitation, as well.


Field Trip to the County Fair

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On Friday of this week English Class fourth graders, as well as other fourth graders from Cygnaeus School, were invited to visit the 3rd annual Satakunta County Fair (Satakunnan maaseutunäyttely), which is an agricultural exhibition for the area. Fourth graders study about agricultural produce and livestock in their environmental studies lessons this year so the field trip is an excellent way of getting hands on experience.

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The fair was held at the local trotting track and featured lots of animals to pet and admire. There were goats, sheep, calves, alpacas, piglets, ponies, horses and chickens, to name a few.

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The pupils thought that it was fun getting close up and personal with the animals. Farm machinery and tractors were also on display but could not compete with the draw of live animals.

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Carnival attractions rounded out the unforgettable experience of being at the fair for the children.

Fourth Graders Don Mr. Twit Beards

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English Class fourth graders, under the direction of their English teacher, Mr. Gregg, have started reading The Twits by Roald Dahl. It’s an excellent, fun book full of new adjectives and colourful language. The first few chapters introduce us to Mr. and Mrs. Twit, two brilliantly despicable characters who are constantly playing mean tricks on one another.

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Mr. Twit has a filthy beard full of dirty, disgusting things. The 4EN class  designed their own disgusting beards full of things we could describe together using rich, imaginative language. The book is a great way to start the year and get our creative language juices flowing!


Friendship and Diversity in Second Grade


English Class second graders practiced using their English first thing after the summer holidays by participating in a search for friends who had certain likes. What fun it was to circulate among classmates and ask questions!


Ms. Kati read two lovely books about accepting differences to the second graders.  Afterward the pupils engaged in a lively discussion about the books  and Ms. Kati was particularly pleased at how well the pupils used their English.

Another exercise was a partner activity of “Roll and Read”.  Partners took turns rolling a die and then read a sentence or short paragraph out loud to the other. (Practicing the text had been a homework assignment the day before.)



First Grade Fun

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This year the English Class first and second graders have a woodland theme. In that context the first graders crafted cheeky squirrels that hang from their tails (!) to identify where their own hanging hooks are in the corridor.

Inside their classroom is a great big oak tree. Next to the oak tree is a woodland pool ringed by stones. (See arrow above.) Every school day, at circle time at the start of the day, the first graders add a fish to the pool to indicate the number of days that they have been at school.

Symbol Scavenger Hunt


English Class first graders became familiar with the two wings and many floors of our school when they participated in a picture symbol scavenger hunt this week. Paired with an English Class second grader, the first graders and their partner searched for the symbols throughout the school. It was a fun way to explore the lovely nooks and crannies of Cygnaeus School.

Translating as a Profession


English Class fifth and sixth graders had an opportunity to hear about the profession of translating in their respective civic studies classes. Ms. Katriina Kitchens aka. Ms. Kate, who has translated among other things, Behind Closed Doors and Darling, by Jarkko Sipilä, gave very concrete examples to the pupils of some of the challenges that face someone who translates books from one culture to another. She also helped pupils understand the difference between translating and interpreting.

“Ajoin diakonissalaitoksen ohi”  could be translated as “I drove past the deaconess institute.”  However, ‘deaconess institute’ has no reference point in American culture, Ms. Kate pointed out. Deaconess institutes don’t exist there. Therefore the sentence would have no meaning to most American readers.  The translator’s job to find something in its stead that would resemble a deaconess institute in purpose.

Another example that Ms. Kate offered was, “Minun piti poiketa R-kioskiin.” Google translator offers the translation, ” I had to deviate from the R – kiosk.”  There is no reference point for an R-kiosk in America. A small convenience store or stand would be the closest a translator could get to the idea that the author had in mind.  “Minun piti poiketa…” actually means, “I meant to stop by…”  All of this goes to say that artificial intelligence has a long way to go before humans can be replaced as translators!