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!

Fourth Graders Learn Street Tennis

English Class fourth graders received some coaching and experience in street tennis. This is a sport that can be played on a 12 m x 6 m court using a low net, benches or even a rope strung up between trees or poles. Junior tennis racquets and softer, grapefruit-sized balls are often used for playing.

The street tennis tour was brought to Pori by a local tennis club, Porin Verkkopalloseura (PVS) and is also part of  Finnish Schools on the Move (Liikuva koulu).

The fourth graders clearly enjoyed putting their hand-eye coordination skills to the test. They practiced with great intensity to better their racquet and ball control.

There may be some serious budding tennis players in this group! For more information about street tennis, follow this link. (available in Finnish only)

“All About Me and My Place in the World” Slide Presentations

English Class fourth graders are putting their newly obtained skills for using Chromebooks to use by creating slide presentations. The subject is a wonderful integration of subjects all based on the topic of “All About Me and My Place in the World”.  The fourth graders need to use text and visual materials to depict the following headings and subheadings :

  1. My World
  2. All about Me (family, interests, hobbies, etc.)
  3. My Home and Neighbourhood (description of home and features of its setting, etc.)
  4. My Town  (location, population, description, etc. )
  5. My Country (president, currency, population, interesting facts, etc. )
  6. My Continent (population, features, description, etc.).

Fourth graders get to practice ten finger keyboard skills, online researching skills, civic studies and geography, English, as well as all sorts of skills related to using Google Slides and Chromebooks proficiently. The focus and concentration of the pupils while working was palpable.


New Chromebooks for Fourth Graders

English Class fourth graders, along with every other fourth grader in the town of Pori, received a personal Chromebook laptop for use this school year. Seventh graders also received personal Chromebooks to use during the school year from the town of Pori. The Chromebooks will be used both at home and at school to do certain schoolwork.

Last week the English Class fourth grade pupils received their personal Chromebooks and learned how to log onto their laptops. They also learned about making folders and how to share folders so that it is possible to collaborate on certain school tasks.

This week the fourth graders practiced ten finger typing or keyboard skills.

All of the pupils set out to work hard at their keyboarding skills. Luckily there are lots of apps and keyboarding games that help kids learn to type quickly and accurately.

Brand New K-4EN Club

English Class fourth graders and English Class kindergarten children have a golden opportunity this year because they are participating in a club that is meant to promote self-esteem, English language skills and school readiness. Once a week the two groups meet for an hour to share common experiences like singing, reading, crafting and playing.  The club is sponsored by the Children’s Culture Centre (Lasten kulttuurikeskus) as one of its top clubs in a grant they received (Kärkikerho hanke).

On Friday the kindergarten children and fourth graders learned a new song together.  Then they participated in three different activities in three groups. The fourth graders were excellent role models for the younger children. The benefits of this kind of mixed age club are innumerable but they include among other things: social inclusion, support and mentoring, responsibility and promoting intrinsic motivation for all of the children involved. The bonds that the children form now will carry over to next year and strengthen when they are first grade and fifth grade peer pals.

Hopes, Goals and Expectations in Fourth Grade

On Monday morning English Class fourth graders participated  in an exercise where they discussed with a partner their hopes, goals and expectations for this 2017-18 school year.

Their teacher, Ms. Anu, had written discussion topics on the chalkboard for the pupils to share. After the discussions, each pair summarized their thoughts on a post-it and placed it under the given topic.

The first topic of discussion was, What do you hope to learn in grade 4 this year?  The pupils engaged in the discussions very earnestly. Some of the resulting post-it responses included -learn more about our country, -learn more religion, -learn new languages, -learn French/German, -learn to use the new Chromebook laptops, -learn more multiplication and -learn how to use big numbers. The fourth graders acknowledged their own responsibility for success with the following discussion topic, What will you need to do in order to be successful this year?

After intense discussions on the topic of having a smoothly run classroom, the fourth graders concluded that they needed to follow school rules and class rules, moderate their behaviour, teamwork, refrain from shouting, work hard and do homework, listen to their teacher, as well as be calm, quiet and supportive of one another.

The discussion topic, What does your teacher need to do in order to make this year successful?, the children concluded that the teacher needs to be helpful and supportive so they can learn. She also needs to guide them to behave well and be more polite. One pair even suggested that the teacher help some of the class members with their handwriting.

If the fourth graders and their teacher are successful at implementing these hopes, goals and expectations, it is going to be an awesome school year!




Back to School

School in Pori started on Thursday, August 10th this year. Pupils were happy and excited for all sorts of reasons. First graders were naturally excited because they were stepping into their roles as primary school pupils. Other pupils were excited to see their friends again and see who their teacher would be this year. English Class fourth graders were happy to see their beloved teacher, Ms. Anu, waiting to greet them at their classroom door.

Ms. Anu had prepared exercises to help the fourth graders set the tone of the school year in a friendly, positive way. A positive learning environment is one in which everyone feels accepted for their likes and dislikes, for their similarities and their diversities.  When pupils feel accepted and respected by all, then learning can easily become the main objective.