Second Grade Star Talent


On Friday all of the second graders were given the opportunity to perform in front of their classmates and their teacher, Ms. Anu. Children were encouraged to perform, for example, by singing, dancing, reciting, playing or acting.


It takes a great deal of courage to perform in front of people, so this is a wonderful, safe opportunity to practice. Each performance received warm applause by classmates.


By practicing performing in a safe, supportive environment these children may go on to great things! There are definitely some budding stars in this class.

First Grade Finnish Learning Palette for the Letter “A”

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English Class first graders spent the start of last week learning all about the letter “A”.  At the end of the week their effort was rewarded with workshop work, where they could practice the new A sound.  They were able to choose from a palette of six activities during their Finnish lessons. The choices included using a computer, drawing, practicing writing on a mini-chalkboard, making a word book, reading and playing a game of memory. Children toured the stations with a partner at their own speed. Once a station had been completed, they could then write their names in the correct place on the chalkboard.

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At the computer station pupils wrote words beginning with the letter A. Their teacher, Ms. Kati, was there to help them. Various forms of, “Wow, I didn’t know I could write words!” were heard again and again. Then they created an “A” word book by drawing pictures to compliment the words they had written on the computer.

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Syllables and words, in accordance with reading skills, were available to read at the reading station. Each child could choose to read alone or  together with his/her partner. At the memory game station pupils played a game of memory using words beginning with A. The pupils also read the words. Some partners even had time to do the writing activity. One of the two pupils said a word beginning with A and the other then wrote the A-word on a small lap chalkboard. By choosing and completing these tasks first graders are learning at an early stage to take responsibility for their own learning.

Rocket Challenge with Logic Puzzle Pieces


After reviewing attributes, English Class second graders were given a challenge of creating a rocket, within a certain time frame, using exactly ten large Hungarian logic puzzle pieces. Some of the  creative results can be seen in the photos above and below. Who knew there could be so many types of rockets?


Attitudes and Learning in the English Classes

EC_attitudesLearners in the English Classes at Cygnaeus School have an international mindset. Although the English Classes are not in an official IB Primary Years Programme (PYP),  we work hard to help our pupils realize that they are indeed global citizens who need to be motivated to make changes to and in the world.

In that context our more than ninety pupils created self-portraits using oil pastels. These portraits were arranged by class and a mural was created on the second floor in the B-wing of the school. This mural features attitudes our English Class learners strive to maintain.


These attitudes are:

  • Appreciation –appreciating the beauty and wonder of the world and its people
  • Commitment –being committed to learning, persevering, following through and showing self-discipline
  • Confidence –being confident while learning, having the courage to take risks, making mistakes and learning from them, making appropriate choices and decisions
  • Creativity –being creative in thought and and using imagination while solving problems
  • Curiosity –being curious about the nature of the world, its people and cultures; being inquisitive as an integral part of learning
  • Empathy –being able to imagine oneself in someone else’s situation; being open-minded and reflective about the perspectives of others.
  • Enthusiasm -enjoying learning and putting effort wholeheartedly into the process
  • Independence -thinking and acting independently while using good judgment
  • Integrity –being honest and demonstrating a considered sense of fairness
  • Respect  -showing respect for themselves, others and the world around them
  • Tolerance -being sensitive to and accepting of differences and diversity in the world; being responsive to the needs of others

Design and Craft in Second Grade


English Class second graders and their teacher, Ms Anu, are putting the new Finnish curriculum into practice in their craft classes, as well as in all of their other classes. The second graders designed their own puppets on paper and then set to work to create their puppets out of felt.


Their work isn’t complete yet, but it is easy to see that they are following their designs very nicely.


Fun-tastic First Ever ‘Fun Monday’


The first ever English Class Fun Monday* was a rip-roaring success. Ask anyone who was lucky enough to be there! Blowing big, wobbly bubbles was the theme of the day. The session started with an opportunity to create do-it-yourself bubble wands using wire, pipe cleaners and beads. As seen in the picture above, the wands they made were lovely.


It was a great source of wonder to everyone that heart-shaped wands and star-shaped wands still produced bubbles that were round (spherical shaped). Pupils learned that a sphere is the figure that has the least surface area, which is why bubbles always seek that shape (unless they are attached to a frame of some kind). They also learned that bubbles pop because the water in the bubble evaporates.


A homemade solution of cornstarch, baking powder, dish detergent, glycerin and water produced wonderful wibbly-wobbly bubbles that were a big hit.


At the end of the session some pupils were getting so good at blowing bubble that they blew little bubbles into a huge bubble so that, for one moment, there were three bubbles inside a very big bubble!!

Note: For blog readers who are not part of the English Class family, it should be explained that Fun Monday was instituted as an alternative to Fun Friday.  It is a project that will hopefully motivate pupils to be the best they can be. In order to be eligible for the weekly Fun Monday Lottery draw, a pupil must:

  1. actively participate in class activities
  2. be prompt (be in class on time)
  3. show respect to everyone
  4. demonstrate good manners at school
  5. take care of personal and school supplies
  6. complete assignments and homework

Each grade level teacher determines the eligibility of his or her own pupils for the draw. Two pupils at each grade level may have the luck of the draw.

Wildflower Fieldtrip

5EN_wildflowers1English Class fifth graders are learning about wildflowers that grow in dry meadows and wetter areas in their environmental studies class. On Friday they went on a fieldtrip to a nearby area to practice flower identification by playing a game.  The pupils worked in small groups and invented names for their teams. 5EN_wildflowers2

Points were awarded for the correct identification of plants but pupils also needed to take a selfie (groupie?) with each identified plant.  (The photographs pupils took of their plants and themselves will be used later this fall to create a collage of pupils and meadow life forms.) Each team’s collected plants had to be carried along for the duration of the fieldtrip which lasted for one hour.5EN_wildflowers3The teams and their results were as follows: The J-men came in 1st place, the 3 Muscoplants placed 2nd and Team Maxperi came in third. After the game pupils used natural materials to create imaginary trolls. This enriching learning experience was deemed a great success by both Ms. Katri and her pupils.