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!

Bird-watching in the Park

The third week of May was National Bird Week for children, which is organized by Finland’s Nature League and Bird-Life Finland. With a few sets of binoculars and their camera phones, English Class second graders set off to do some bird-watching in a nearby park.

The children quickly found several nests. Some nests were abandoned and some were very much occupied.  One fieldfare (räkettirastas) in particular, set up quite an alarm when a couple of children and Ms. Sylvia approached its nest to take photographs. Ms. Sylvia used a special lens on her camera to get some of the pictures included in these photo collages.

Among the birds that we saw were a black crow, chaffinches, common wood pigeons, wrens, pigeons, fieldfares, a European magpie and a couple of wagtails. The second graders were very enthusiastic about their bird-watching experiences. They found a total of four active bird nests and two inactive nests. Although some birds were already hatching their eggs, other species of birds were still in the stages of building or repairing their nests.

All in all the children were surprised by how much bird activity there was in a local park. Another surprise was how much fun it was to stand still and quietly observe!

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.

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.

Active Bodies, Active Minds: Physical Activities for All

English Class first, second, third and fourth graders received invitations to participate in physical activities at the sports centre on Tuesday of this week. The event was organized as part of the the national Finnish Schools on the Move programme put into action by the town of Pori. Pitkis-Sport was instrumentally involved in the implementation of the day’s plentiful, diverse activities.

In the two photo collages above English Class third graders are practicing skills related to baseball, football techniques and relay skills.

All of the pupils had a chance to hone balancing abilities with a wobbling balance disc and scooters.

English Class fourth graders enthusiastically threw themselves into all of the activities available.  They are practicing long jumping and hockey skills as shown in the photo collage above.

A rousing game of football got the fourth graders moving rapidly up and down the mini-football pitch.

Field hockey and frisbee golf were very popular with all of the classes.

The English Class second graders played field hockey with great determination and a very positive spirit.

The second graders could show off their strengths when they played football and practiced baseball using a scaled-down football in an activity called tunnel ball.

The English Class first graders showed spirit and fitness on the football field. They played with great energy!

In the photo collage above you can see first graders practicing defensive playing skills in the upper left corner in the hockey box. The players tried to block other players from getting their ball through a hole in their designated holes while trying to score a point by getting a ball into an opponent’s hole. The sun was shining, even if the wind was a bit chilly. Fun was had by all and lots of new things were learned.


Woodcrafting in First and Second Grades

English Class first and second graders are working on a woodcraft project that requires patience and many different skills in order to complete it. They are crafting a key rack for organizing keys. They needed to saw, to sand, to drill a hole for hanging it on the wall, and hammer nails on which to hang keys. Then finally they needed to stain and varnish the key rack.