Learning to Sew in Third Grade

In their second design & craft class this week English Class third graders are learning to use a sewing machine. Of course they first learned about safety procedures, one very important one being to never put one’s fingers on top of the presser foot or under the needle in any way.

The third graders practiced sewing on paper without thread. They learned to sew straight lines and how to back-stitch at the beginning and end of each line. They also learned how to turn corners or pivot by putting their needles down, lifting the presser foot,  turning the paper to get things realigned and then once again lowering the presser foot before continuing to sew. They also practiced sewing curves.

The class picked up the basics of using a sewing machine very quickly. In fact, a few pupils have already completed their sewing machine driver’s license successfully. That means that next week they will begin work on their very first project! It will be fun to discover later this autumn what the third graders design and create using their new-found skills!





Nature Scavenger Hunt

Today English Class first and and second graders joined forces to participate in a nature scavenger hunt at a nearby park. Second graders paired up with first graders and then set off to look for the listed items.

Once the children had found the specified objects, their challenge was to create a face using some of the things they had found. Below are more personable characters that the children created.

In addition to learning new vocabulary, the children had an opportunity to socialize and work cooperatively to create something unique from their found materials. It was an engaging learning activity from start to finish.

Musical Hoops Cooperative Style in Second Grade

Second grade teacher Ms. Leena and their English teacher, Ms. Sandra, helped English Class second graders learn to shift classroom focus from competition to cooperation by having pupils play an interesting game of musical hoops. While music played pupils danced around hoops laid out on the floor throughout the classroom. When the music stopped, pupils were directed to step into a hoop. After each break in music,one of the teachers removed a hoop. Pupils, however, were not eliminated. This challenged the children because there was a greater need to coordinate the activities of each pupil. The children realized  “we are all in this together” and the game became an increasingly cooperative activity of squeezing everyone in.

They quickly understood the importance of working together, friendship, and trust. The skills they developed include communication, empathy, listening, problem-solving and trusting others. As they celebrated the final phase of the game the second graders realized the power of cooperation.  Active pupil-involved process-based learning as mandated by the new Finnish national curriculum requires good cooperative skills.

After this exercise the children listened to Julia Donaldson’s story, A Squash and a Squeeze, which is a delightful story about space (or a lack of space) and the fact that everything is relative.




First Graders and Their Peer Pals Meet and Play

It was an experience of mutual joy when the English Class first graders met their English Class fifth grade peer pals this Monday. Right away they set off hand-in-hand to play together in a nearby park so they could better get to know one another.

The fifth graders take their responsibilities of being peer pals to the first graders quite seriously. Their goal is to create an sense of belonging and inclusion for the first graders. This happens when the fifth graders act as special friends to the first graders, guiding them to the right people at school if and when they need help, teaching them recess games, guiding them in traffic safety, encouraging them when something feels challenging. The Peer Pal programme makes a difference. Ask the first graders or anyone who has been a first grader at our school! ❤

Hopes, Goals and Expectations in Fourth Grade

On Monday morning English Class fourth graders participated  in an exercise where they discussed with a partner their hopes, goals and expectations for this 2017-18 school year.

Their teacher, Ms. Anu, had written discussion topics on the chalkboard for the pupils to share. After the discussions, each pair summarized their thoughts on a post-it and placed it under the given topic.

The first topic of discussion was, What do you hope to learn in grade 4 this year?  The pupils engaged in the discussions very earnestly. Some of the resulting post-it responses included -learn more about our country, -learn more religion, -learn new languages, -learn French/German, -learn to use the new Chromebook laptops, -learn more multiplication and -learn how to use big numbers. The fourth graders acknowledged their own responsibility for success with the following discussion topic, What will you need to do in order to be successful this year?

After intense discussions on the topic of having a smoothly run classroom, the fourth graders concluded that they needed to follow school rules and class rules, moderate their behaviour, teamwork, refrain from shouting, work hard and do homework, listen to their teacher, as well as be calm, quiet and supportive of one another.

The discussion topic, What does your teacher need to do in order to make this year successful?, the children concluded that the teacher needs to be helpful and supportive so they can learn. She also needs to guide them to behave well and be more polite. One pair even suggested that the teacher help some of the class members with their handwriting.

If the fourth graders and their teacher are successful at implementing these hopes, goals and expectations, it is going to be an awesome school year!




The First Two Days as a First Grader

On the first day of school English Class first graders discovered that someone was even more worried and afraid about the first day than they were! That “someone” was their class mascot, Teddy Bear Bob, who was discovered hiding high above the maps at the front of the classroom. It didn’t take long for Teddy Bear Bob to discover that the new first grade class is simply delightful, so he moved down to sit on top of the piano where can he sit and quietly observe.

As one of the first orders of business the first graders crafted name and picture labels for the coat rack so that they know where to find their things. They also went to the local park for some extra playtime because their teacher, Ms. Tellervo, knows that a socially inclusive classroom begins with children playing together.

Back to School

School in Pori started on Thursday, August 10th this year. Pupils were happy and excited for all sorts of reasons. First graders were naturally excited because they were stepping into their roles as primary school pupils. Other pupils were excited to see their friends again and see who their teacher would be this year. English Class fourth graders were happy to see their beloved teacher, Ms. Anu, waiting to greet them at their classroom door.

Ms. Anu had prepared exercises to help the fourth graders set the tone of the school year in a friendly, positive way. A positive learning environment is one in which everyone feels accepted for their likes and dislikes, for their similarities and their diversities.  When pupils feel accepted and respected by all, then learning can easily become the main objective.