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!

First Graders and the Kindergarten Go on a Nature Walk

Spring has spring in Pori at long last! English Class first graders and kindergarten children, together with Ms. Leena and Ms. Eevaliisa, went to experience spring first hand at Polsanpolku on Kirjurinluoto. After completing their spring diaries, the first graders knew what signs of spring to look for. While Ms. Leena was pointing out wood anemones that were growing a bit offside the path to the two classes, a chaffinch alighted on a nearby branch close to the children and began to singing its song lustily. (You can hear a chaffinch singing here.) The pull-rope ferry wasn’t in operation yet, but that didn’t make very much difference to anyone because there was so much to see and hear anyway.

Back at school Ms. Leena used picture cards to review things that the children had seen and heard on their nature walk. It was a perfect spring field trip!

First Grade Spring Diaries

Spring was slow to come to Pori this year. However, English Class first graders have been keeping track of its advance by keeping journals of their observations in their very own Spring Diaries. From snow to rain, the first blades of green grass and buds on trees to bees, butterflies and ants, first graders recorded evidence of the changing seasons.  For some first graders and their families this record keeping of spring observations became a project that the whole family could enjoy.


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.

Telling Time and Kinaesthetic Learning

Kinesthetic learning (American English),kinaesthetic learning (British English), or tactile learning is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. ~Source:

English Class first graders are learning the rudiments of telling time and they are doing it in the gymnasium! Their teacher, Ms. Leena, knows that movement allows pupils an alternative approach to the information. Kinaesthetic learning helps put pupils into a receptive state that is necessary for learning.  In fact, it is really the learning process, not our intelligence, that is the most important factor in determining our abilities, according to recent research.

Children learn best by hearing, seeing, doing, creating, and all sorts of combinations of the above. Multi-disciplinary learning allows children to make connections between what seem on the surface to be different, disconnected subjects. Kinesthetic learning takes this model to the next level by connecting the different ways in which children learn. and this process enables a more effective understanding and retention of information.

So, with giant swab minute and hour hands, as well as beanbags to represent the numbers on the face of an analog clock, English Class first graders are moving along learning to tell time by the hour and half hour.

A Concert for First and Second Graders

On Wednesday morning English Class first and second graders joined other first and second grade classes from Cygnaeus School in the gym to listen to a concert performed by Apan Anders. Apan Anders has been performing children’s music for over 20 years. He has done children’s theater and been involved in children’s culture in many other ways as well. He has over 3500 concerts and performances to his credit! Apen Anders performed songs in both Finnish and Swedish so our English speaking pupils were able to enjoy a little global music.