Independence Day Activities at Entry Level


On Monday, December 5th, the eve of Finland’s 99th anniversary of independence, English Class first and second graders were able to enjoy several activities relating to Finnish Independence Day. They began the day by learning what the national symbols of Finland are: the whooper swan, which is the national bird, the brown bear which is the national animal and the lily-of the-valley, which is Finland’s national flower. The pupils learned where the borders of Finland lie. Then they joined the Finnish class first and second graders for an Independence Day assembly.


Together the English Class first and second graders wove hearts from blue and white paper to match the colours of the Finnish flag.


In their physical education (P.E.) lesson the pupils played two different games of tag.  Pupils could save/thaw other players who had been tagged and frozen by singing “Oi maamme Suomi”  or spelling out the letters “s, u, o, m, i”.


The final P.E. activity was a form-the Finnish-flag relay race. The pupil had lots of fun while learning more about Finland.

Gingerbread Village Mural: More Than Making Art


Aristotle reputedly said , “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, when individual parts are connected together to form one entity, they are worth more combined altogether. That is precisely the philosophy behind the tradition of making group murals in the English Classes. Making murals goes way beyond artwork. It is an effective way of binding our English Classes together in a common concrete goal, regardless of age or artistic abilities. The collective power of creating art together is energizing, emancipating and confidence-building for everyone involved.


For this gingerbread house winter landscape mural, some classes made gingerbread houses using mixed media. (See close-ups in the photo collage above.) English Class first and second graders made reindeer and elves while other classes made trees and snowflakes. Sixth graders helped paint the background with diy puffy paint.The diy puffy paint snow left wafts of shaving cream essence in the air for a couple of days, which pupils appeared to enjoy immensely.


Making a mural from start to finish is  a lengthy process every single time, but it is a process that provides immense satisfaction while pupils are in the flow of the activity, as well as when the mural is completed. John Dewey’s Experience and Education (1938) states: “What avail is it to win prescribed amounts of information about geography and history, to win the ability to read and write, if in the process the individual loses his own soul?” Making murals together is one concrete way of encouraging the souls of our children to flourish, a way to make learning a joyous, enriching experience.

Christmas in the 1950’s in Pori


On Wednesday of this week English Class first graders and their teacher, Ms. Leena, visited our county museum’s branch museum, the Korsman house pictured above. The Korsman house is in the 5th district in Pori, well within walking distance of the school. There the pupils had an opportunity to learn how Christmas was celebrated sixty years ago in a working family home in Pori.


Their guide at Korsman house, Tuulikki Kiilo, told the children about chores that needed to be done by the Korsman family’s children, Tuula and Pentti,  about typical ways of their spending an evening, about Christmas foods and so on. The first graders listened very attentively and learned a great deal about living conditions in the 1950’s.

The Fifth Annual Christmas Carols Programme


After three weeks of intense practice and training, the English Classes proudly presented their fifth annual Christmas Carols programme on two consecutive evenings this week to very receptive audiences. The Christmas Carols programme is carried out in collaboration with Lions Club Pori/Sofia, with 20% of ticket proceeds going to a local charity. The English Class kindergarten children participated on Wednesday evening by singing “Away in a Manger”.


Although the programme basically followed the same form as last year, this year some of the carols were enhanced by the guitar-playing of Mr. Gregg and Mr. Juho, as well as the piano-playing of Ms. Anu. Third grader Benjamin, who acted the role of Joseph, also played a couple of Christmas carols on his trumpet. Three sixth graders, John, Tara and Jakub, were narrators. The role of Mary was played by third grader Iiris on Wednesday evening and by third grader Amelie on Thursday evening. The angel Gabriel was played by fourth grader Noel. Fifth grade boys acted as shepherds. Fifth and sixth grade girls were angels. Sixth grader Tekla was the messenger angel and third grader Sophie was the angel soloist. The three kings were Georg and Arttu from fifth grade and sixth grader Tao on Wednesday evening and third grader Oska on Thursday evening.


As the years have passed it has been easier and easier for the English Class children to sing the many songs that make up the Christmas Carols programme. Our first and second grade pupils already sing most of the carols beautifully, partly because they can join in with the older pupils right from the start. Year after year friends and families assure us that the Christmas Carols programme is the exactly way they wish to herald in the holiday season. That feedback makes all of the work and effort by pupils and teachers alike worthwhile. (Also, heartfelt thank you to the parents who donated time and/or refreshments for the evening!)

Video clips of the performances will be posted later here as they are available.


Numbers to 100 in Second Grade


For the past few weeks English Class second graders have been learning about numbers between zero and one hundred. The second graders began their studies with bead strips. They crafted long strips of beads on the floor by grouping the beads in tens. They skip counted by tens back and forth, as well as by fives back and forth.


Next the pupils used abacuses. They discussed the similarities and differences between their bead strips and the abacuses. Together they practiced all sorts of counting exercises using their abacuses.


Since the beginning of school the second graders wondered about the blue pocket chart that has been hanging at the back of their classroom on the bulletin board. The mystery was finally solved when the children learned from their teacher, Ms. Kati, that it is a pocket chart for 100. One by one the children placed numbers in their proper places. Even numbers needed to always be placed with the red side facing upward. The odd numbers were to be white. This required some thinking and occasional consultation amongst the children, but in the end,  all of the numbers found their proper places.


Ms. Kati asked the pupils lots of questions about the hundred chart and then finally, every pupil received a hundred chart to glue into their own math notebook. By answering questions they worked their way up the columns and down the rows to discover certain patterns. Then, using small pieces of coloured transparent plastic, the pupils pinpointed certain numbers and coloured them in. For example, Ms. Kati asked, “What number is ten more than this number?” “What number is ten less than this number?”  Pupils also practiced mental math skills and showed a number card with the correct answer. The pupils participated eagerly in the exercises.

In the second collage photo above, English Class second graders can be seen working on place value with green ten rods and yellow unit cubes. What is yellow, and what is green, and what happens when there are ten yellow units? How can you make one hundred? These activities and lots more like them are giving our second graders a firm foundation in mathematical proficiency.

Football and Cheerleading


English Class third grade boys participated in a district football tournament on Wednesday of this week at Karhuhalli here in Pori. Third grade girls, not to be left out, had some serious moves going on in the cheerleading department. They generated all kinds of team spirit.


The boys won the first game against Friitala School with a score of 3 – 0. They lost the second game to Luvia 4A with a score of 1 – 3. Then they won a game with Kauttua with a score of 2 – 0. That put them in the running for the bronze medal. Unfortunately, despite playing really well, the team lost to Luvia 4B with a final score of 0 -2.


Eating out at lunchtime and enjoying snacks brought from home throughout the long day were appreciated by everyone. In fact, the entire day was a rip-roaring success even if  the bronze medal stayed out of reach. Everyone went home tired and happy.

Gymnastics in P.E.


Autumn activities like field and track, as well as orienteering, are sadly over because the weather has turned so chilly, but it is not quite cold enough for winter sports yet either. For that reason English Class third and fourth graders have indoor physical education (p.e.).


On Wednesday of this week various gymnastic stations were set up throughout the gymnasium. All of the activities help develop strength, coordination and flexibility.


Children were able to tumble and do somersaults on mats, play on the rings, climb the ropes, work on the balance beam, use the vaulting horse, and more.


Participation in gymnastics in p.e. develops body awareness, control, and coordination which is beneficial to other physical activities, sports, and everyday life.