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.


Walk in the rain,
smell flowers,
stop along the way,
build sandcastles,
go on field trips,
find out how things work,
tell stories,
say the magic words,
trust the universe.
~Bruce Williamson

Wednesday of this week was neither warm nor sunny, even though May is almost at its end, but that did not matter to the English Class first and second graders and their teachers when they went to Yyteri Beach for their class trip.  Dressed in weather-appropriate clothing, the children brought along their imaginations, as well as pails and shovels, to create sandcastles along the shoreline.

The sandcastles had proper moats and turrets and were decorated with small shells and reeds found along the beach. The children worked in small groups with intensity and interest. There is something almost intoxicating about the joyous experience of making sandcastles!


Shadow Drawing

On a sunny Monday English Class first and second graders paired up to create drawings of shadows that they each cast. The poses were quite expressive, but throughout the playground admonishments of, “Stay still!” could be heard. (Our first and second graders seem to have lots of energy when it is warm and sunny!)

Some of the children coloured in the clothing on the shadow figures. Others added sticks, stones and plant material to add details like hair and facial features.

A few pairs bonded to create a disco of dancing shadow figures. The disco had walls, a floor and even a disco ball drawn above the dancers! (See the photo in the upper left of the photo collage above.) The figure in the photo in the lower right of the collage is wearing a sturdy necklace made of wood!

By far the best part of the experience was listening to the first grade and second grade shadow artists as they participated in the process of creating their shadow folk! All sorts of descriptions and stories unfolded as they worked!

The English Class Spring Fest

This year’s English Classes’ annual Spring Fest began with an adorable number by the English Class kindergarten (aka. preschool). As always, the programme was very diversified with everything from cheerleading, tumbling and acrobatics to singing and dancing. This year there were so many reading certificate recipients that it was not possible to get them to all fit into one photograph! Heartfelt congratulations to each and every pupil who earned a reading certificate!

Below are video clips showing the fun assortment of entertainment that friends and family enjoyed on Tuesday evening. There were some acts that are not included here as well, but hints of what took place can be seen in the photo collages above.

Clay Workshop for Fifth and Sixth Graders

On Thursday of this week English Class fifth and sixth graders enjoyed a clay workshop conducted by Ms. Sylvia. First she taught them lots of new terms related to working with clay such as wedging the clay, kiln, loop tool, slip and lots more. Then she briefly described the 3 basic hand-building construction methods. Although clay is a substance that comes from the earth, the subject of the day was something that comes from water: fish.

Because the art room had been reserved for the day, both classes of 5th and 6th graders were packed like sardines into one classroom. There was barely enough elbow room, but the pupils nonetheless managed to mould fish with lots of character. Some pupils used the pinch-pot method of creating a hollow fish. Others sculpted a solid fish and used a loop tool to carve out the inside of the fish from the bottom. Ultimately some fish will be free standing. Others will be placed on a base with a wooden dowel that holds the fish up.

Even a whale or two managed to infiltrate our school of fish. The atmosphere during the workshop was focused, if not a bit loud from time to time.

The fish need to air dry for about ten days before they can be fired in the kiln. Check back on the art page in about three weeks to see how the pupils complete their fish!

´╗┐”Happy Easter!” via Our Easter Mural!

This year’s Easter mural is as complete as it is ever going to be. The mural has entailed lots of work by all of the English Classes. Our pupils created loads of delightful chicks, bunnies, eggs and Easter flowers for the mural, so many in fact, that this year everything didn’t fit on the mural! Look at all of the detail the children included in their work in the close-up pictures below.

The benefits of making murals are many-fold. Not only do murals beautify the corridor and enhance our school environment, they bring us together with a common goal. The good will and collaboration of mixed-aged groups of pupils working together gives us a sense of pride in our work. It is always gratifying to hear pupils pointing out their own contributions to family members, teachers, friends and classmates.

On that note, we would like to wish our blog readers a very Happy Easter or Spring break. School will begin again on Tuesday, April 18th.

Liquorice for Sale in English Class Designed Boxes

For the second year in a row all of the pupils in the English Classes designed front, back and side panels for boxes of liquorice. Each class voted and selected two designs to be put on display in the corridor. Then the entire English Class student body, along with their teachers, voted for their favourite from the twelve designs on display. The 2 winning designs this year were done by Georg in the fifth grade and Tekla in the sixth. The liquorice was delivered to school yesterday and will be distributed this week. The liquorice, which comes directly from Kouvolan Liquorice factory, was pre-ordered by English Class families. Today, after tasting a liquorice sample, Cygnaeus teacher Krista remarked, “Hmm.  How is it possible? This tastes even better than it did last year!”