Getting Prepared for Halloween

On Monday of this week English Class first and second graders learned a little bit about the history of Halloween together with some Halloween vocabulary words. The children also learned that similar celebrations are held throughout the world. After watching a couple of short video clips, the children set to work crafting their own haunted houses.

The project involved tracing around a pattern and then cutting out the house from folded black paper. Windows, doors and decorations were added to taste after the folded house was glued together along one edge.

Once the houses were completed to their satisfaction the children made tall ghosts from lightweight cardboard. Each ghost was then inserted between the two parts of the folded haunted house so that it could be moved to pop up here and there, accompanied by spooky ghost sounds.

The haunted houses will reside on the windows of the first and second grade classrooms until Halloween. They look “spooktacularly” cool!

Seven Brothers for Aleksis Kivi Day

October 10th is the day that Finnish author Aleksis Kivi is honoured. English Class kindergarten pupils, together with English Class first and second graders worked together in small mixed age groups to craft the characters in Kivi’s most famous work, Seven Brothers.  The  seven Jukola brothers were: the stubborn oldest brother, Juhani,  twins Aapo and Tuomas, the fairly religious brother Simeoni, twins Lauri and Timo, as well as the clever young brother, Eero. Seven Brothers was the first Finnish novel to capture the hearts of  common people for the reason that it was written in Finnish and not in Swedish. The escapades of the roudy seven bumpkin brothers still entertains people today.

Mushroom Wall Hangings

English Class second graders completed an impressive array of mushrooms in their design and craft lessons. They began by studying the appearance of fly agaric and bolete mushrooms. This mushroom handcraft project compliments a forest theme that has been ongoing in this class since last year. The children cut pieces of felt to match the mushrooms they had seen and drawn. The pupils then glued the felt mushrooms onto a background of hessian (burlap) cloth. They used the rya knot technique and green yarn to create the effect of grass. Blueberry shrubs were added using a running stitch and blue wooden beads. To finish their projects, the second graders sewed a running stitch around the outside of their work and folded over the top to create a heading. The completed works hang outside the door of their second grade classroom, looking very fine indeed.

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.

Harvest Workshop

English Class kindergarten children joined English Class first and second graders in an environmental studies workshop this week. They have been learning about harvest time herbs and vegetables.

Working in small mixed-age groups the children identified particular herbs and vegetables like leek, radish, dill, parsnip, swede, cabbage and beetroot. Some veggies posed a challenge to identify, but luckily there was also more standard fare, like potatoes!

Learning about Finland

English Class second and third graders have paired up for shared reading. They are reading the delightful book, Tatun ja Patun Suomi/This is Finland, written and illustrated by Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen. The reading partners take turns reading to one another. The book tells about the Oddville brothers, Tatu and Patu, who try to figure out exactly what makes Finland the unique place that it is by travelling from one end of the country to the other. Together the boys explore Finland’s quirky people, its culture,  its history and its wild natural landscape. 

After every shared reading session the reading partners fill in a worksheet together that is related to the selection that they have read. This helps them summarize what they have read and learned. This project is a perfect way of celebrating Finland’s first one hundred years of independence!

Shared Reading with a Reading Partner

“Reading buddies”, “reading pals”, “reading partners”, “shared reading”… There are many names for when older pupils and younger pupils read together at school.  Yesterday afternoon English Class sixth graders paired up with second graders to spend a lesson of shared reading together. This time English Class second graders read to their sixth grade peer pals.

The benefits of this kind of reading are numerous.  Every single younger pupil gets positive reinforcement and attention while reading in the 1:1 situation. The children are reading aloud without the stress of having to read in front of the whole class. Comprehension problems can be dealt with immediately. Shy and more reluctant readers feel more confident when reading with an older pupil. Fluency improves and friendships develop with the older pupils. The benefits of older pupils reading to the younger ones include improvements in fluency, responsibility and confidence as well.