Star Talent Galore

English Class first and second graders are brimming with all sorts of talent! On Friday of last week English Class kindergarten pupils joined the first and second graders to enjoy the first Star Talent Show of the school year.

The variety of performances was amazing! There were jokes, singing and poetry performances, reading in Polish, a performance with a stuffed animal, different types of dancing, from ballet to street dance, magic tricks, video presentations of rowing and go-kart racing and musical instrument presentations.

The audience, comprised of English Class kindergarten pupils along with English Class first and second graders, was both very attentive as well as supportive. The overall atmosphere was so warm and positive that it will surely provide impetus for these budding performers to continue developing their talents.

Mandalas from Natural Materials

After learning what mandalas are, all of the English Class pupils from grades 1 – 6 went to the park on the island of Kirjurinluoto to put what they had learned into action.

Pupils worked together in small mixed-age groups. Because we were in a park, pupils brought colourful flowers and other materials with them from their own fields and home gardens. They could use materials they found lying on the ground at the park, but nothing could be picked.

Some groups made very meticulous mandalas. One group put together a nice, colourful mandala, but then a few crows came and picked off the berries and in doing so, disturbed the pattern of the leaves set out, which caused a bit of frustration.

That group set to creating another mandala without berries this time to tempt more crows.

The natural materials used by the children included chestnuts, acorns, rowan berries, flowers and petals, cones, mushrooms, pebbles, a great variety of leaves, feathers, reeds and reed tufts, lichen, moss, twigs and  rose hips.

Below are some of the mandalas completed by our English Class pupils.

School lunches always taste better outside picnic style. Today’s lunch was no exception! Many pupils went back for second helpings.

After lunch pupils used leftover materials to fill in a map form of Finland that Ms. Virpi drew on the ground. It was close to being completed when ominous clouds moved overhead. After quickly tidying up, pupils and their teachers started back toward school.

A sudden rain shower could not dampen anyone’s spirits! It was a great day for everyone involved!

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!