Field Trip to the Forest


Scavenger Hunt and Outdoor Photography in Groups

On Wednesday of this past week all of the English Classes went to the Pori Forest for a day of outdoor activities. The first activity involved taking quality photographs of items listed on a nature photography scavenger hunt list. Before going on this field trip all of the English Class pupils watched a short slide presentation at school about how to take good nature photographs. The children learned how to use the sun for backlighting, how to take close-ups and all about the several different camera angles that can be used while taking photographs.


The children were placed in small mixed age groups with a fifth or sixth grader acting as the leader of the group. Each group had an iPad for taking photographs. Some of the older pupils used their smart phones as well. The idea was that all of the children in a group take turns being the photographer.


The children composed their photographs using what they had learned while watching the slide show about nature photography.


The children appeared to have a wonderful time taking photos. We all picnicked there in the woods and enjoyed warm pasta casserole that had been brought by car to where we were. Mm-mmm. Everything tasted so good outdoors!


Cows and Sheep from Pine Cones

After lunch among themselves each group decided how they wished to spend the rest of the time in the woods. The only requirement for an activity was that the children had to document what they chose to do with photos to share with others at a later date. For example, two groups created cows and sheep from pine cones and made little pastures for their farm animals.


Land Art

Some groups created land art using natural materials they found.


Cops and Robbers and other Chasing Games

By far the most popular activity of choice was playing cops and robbers in the woods. Several groups combined forces to make it all very exciting.


The collage above is a teeny tiny sample of photographs that the children took. The quality of the photos exceeded the expectations of all of the teachers! Visit the blog in the next couple of days to see video composites of the photos the children took.


Clay Gooney Birds on Fun Monday


All of the English Class pupils who have showed good manners and been responsible by doing their schoolwork and homework are eligible to participate in a lottery.  Two pupils from each grade level are selected to attend Fun Monday which is held once a month this year. This month the two hour fun activity was making gooney birds from clay.


First the pupils learned how to wedge clay to remove any air bubbles. The children created the birds using the pinch pot clay-building method. Beaks and eyes were attached using clay slip. Pupils also rolled several beads which will become part of the birds legs. Feet were cut from a piece of clay that had been rolled out flat. The birds need to air dry before they can be fired in the ceramics oven.  Once they have been fired, the birds will then be painted and assembled on another occasion.


“Three Billy Goats Gruff” Reader’s Theatre in Third Grade


English Class third graders practiced inflection and intonation as part of their reading in English fluency this week. After their teacher, Ms. Anu, read them the classic Norwegian story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, the class was divided into three groups. The members of each group were given a Readers’ Theatre script of the story.


The challenge was for each group to work out a quick production of the story using props and simple materials. One group created puppet “masks” to use. Two other groups acted out the performance.


First, second and fourth graders were invited to come watch the productions. A little imagination goes a long way!

P.S. The lovely woodcuts used in the collages above come from the vintage book, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, by Susan Blair published in 1963.

Traffic Safety Week Activities


Last week was National Traffic Safety week and all of the English Classes participated in activities related to traffic safety including the use of reflectors on clothing and backpacks, the importance of using a helmet while bicycling, paying attention to traffic rules, etc.  Now, with the popularity of  virtual game,  Pokémon go,  even more emphasis was placed on being mindful when out and about.


The English Class second graders watched some videos about traffic safety that were geared toward children. The pupils in both first and second grades practiced vocabulary related to traffic safety and did notebook work where they had to complete traffic signs by colouring them properly. In their Finnish classes all of the English Class pupils took advantage of materials offered by our local newspaper, Satakunnan Kansa.


For the English Class first and second graders the week culminated in a field trip to the Traffic Park on Kirjurinluoto. The children had a splendid time and showed that they could apply what they had learned to real situations. That is so important because, as second grader Jan said, “You can lose your life if you don’t”.

Footgolf in P.E. Lessons on ‘Kirjuri’


English Class third and fourth graders enjoyed a game of footgolf in the physical education (p.e.) lesson on Wednesday on the beautiful island of Kirjurinluoto. What is footgolf, you might ask. Fourth grader Frans explained it this way:

Foot(ball)golf is where two pairs of players play against each other. Both pairs each get one ball. We set a destination, a tree or a wall. First one pair kicks one kick and then the other pair kicks. The we run to the balls and kick the ball one more time. The pair that gets the ball to the wall with the least number of kicks wins.


The pupils were very enthusiastic about playing footgolf, except for one pupil. She got a very black and blue second toe for her kicking efforts!


The weather was perfect and the park was beautiful. It was a great experience to be out and about. Pori’s Golf Club offers a nine hole course for playing footgolf, so maybe some of these third and fourth graders will carry on this interesting sport in their leisure time!

Field Trip to the Library Meet Author Markus Hotakainen


English Class first and second graders had a real treat of an experience this week. They got to meet and talk with a real author, Markus Hotakainen at our local Pori town library. Markus Hotakainen is a science journalist who has studied astronomy in Helsinki and written 19 books, including one in the United States. He seems to be on a mission to make science, particularly anything having to do with space,  popular.


In weeks leading up to the visit to the library to meet Hotakainen, the second graders learned more about nonfiction books. Together with the English Class first graders, they carefully looked at Hotakainen’s books for children.


At the library Hotakainen told the children about what it is like to write books and be an author. The pupils had prepared a list of questions to ask Hotakainen beforehand. Jenni and Toivo invterviewed him. The children had loads of questions about writing and space. Since Hotakainen has written primarily about space, he had an answer for every question. In fact, he was so impressive that one of the children asked him how he knew the answer to everything!

Alphabetical Order Scoot


English Class teachers have used movement in the classroom to enhance learning experiences for years and years. Now, worldwide, research is proving that, in classrooms where movement is integrated, pupils perform better academically.  Information needs less revision because pupils retain the content more efficiently.

Mr. Juho, teacher of English Class fourth graders, challenged his class to move around the corridor and classroom to find twenty alphabetical order task cards.  This was a revision exercise for the pupils.


Some of the task cards were placed way up high. Others were “hidden” down low, even under a table. Pupils had an answer sheet upon which to write their answers. An exercise like this engages pupils intellectually, emotionally, and physically.