Practice Subtracting Decimals

English Class sixth graders had a golden opportunity to work off some energy in their math lesson yesterday. Working with a partner, they timed how long it took for each of them to climb up and down two flights of stairs. Their teacher, Ms. Leena, helped them understand that the times were designated in tenths and hundredths of a second in addition to whole seconds. In order to compare their times, the pupils had to subtract their respective times to find which of the two was quicker.

4th in Pori’s School Team Chess Competition

Pori’s annual school team chess competition was held at the Sport Hall/Urheilutalo on the Wednesday just before Easter break. The atmosphere in the big hall was amazing in the morning, when 150+ pupils sat down to focus on their individual games. The excitement and concentration in the air was palpable! (Since the pupils had 5 rounds of chess to play, and needed to wait for their turns in between games, the focused atmosphere dissipated a fraction as the day wore on …)

Pupils competed against each other in teams of 3. For each game won, they earned 1 point. The total score of the teams’ points also included  how many teams they won altogether.  

A team composed of  three English class pupils, sixth grader Mathéo, and fifth graders Ilari and Noah, placed very well in the competition. After totaling all the points, they were pronounced the fourth out of 20 teams! In fact, third place was very close. The boys had the same number of points for all the games won as the team placing third did, but sadly the English Class team lost to more teams, so they had to settle for the bitter fourth place.  Next year then! Playing chess is a great way to improve cognitive abilities. We are proud that the tradition of this game lives so strongly among the English class pupils!

Exercise for Body and Brain While Learning Swedish

English Class sixth graders have been studying colours, weather and clothing vocabulary words in their Swedish lessons for the past few weeks. For revision on all these topics, they had a little relay competition. Two teams stood in different lines. At the far end of the corridor separate lists were posted on the wall, one for each line. The lists consisted of words and sentences they have studied so far. The pupils at the head of each line were given pencils. They were to run to their team’s list and cross off one word or sentence on the list and then run back to relate that phrase to the next person. Once that person had written the word, phrase or sentence down on paper, then it was his/her turn to go get a word. The first team to collect all the vocabulary phrases won. Spelling had to be correct once the list was complete. Both teams needed to make extra rounds to check it, so it was good exercise for both body and brain, the best kind of active learning.

Fired Clay Hearts

English Class sixth graders used small amounts of tempera paint mixed  together with white chalk paint to finish their fired clay heart boxes. The lovely textures and details of the boxes really popped with the application of the chalky pastel paint mixture. The next step will be to apply a transparent polish to seal the surface of the boxes.

English Class third graders used the same treatment for finishing their coiled hearts. After polish has been applied to seal the hearts, the third graders will make wire and glass bead hangers for their hearts. The hearts will be completed after the winter break which is during week 8. Check in with us here on the blog to see the completed hearts.

Clay Heart Workshops

Over the past three weeks English Class pupils have been participating in clay workshops organized by Ms. Sylvia. The sixth graders learned about  three hand-building techniques using clay: the slab technique, the coil technique and the pinch pot technique. Then, using the slab technique the sixth graders created interesting textures on the clay they rolled out. They carefully constructed heart-shaped boxes and lids for the boxes.

It was heartening to watch the sixth graders work on their heart boxes. A few pupils had worked with clay before and they were ready and willing to share their know-how with their classmates. In the collage above you can see some of the heart boxes after they have been fired in the kiln.

The third graders also learned about clay hand-building techniques. They used the coil method to create coiled clay hearts. The third graders worked with great focus and concentration.

Our amazing English Class first graders outdid themselves with the intensity that they poured into their coiled clay hearts. The completed hearts were lovely.

English Class second graders also learned about clay hand-building techniques. They worked very independently and intently on their coiled hearts. It bears note that the second graders did an excellent job of  cleaning up after themselves. There was no evidence in the classroom that they had used heavily pigmented red clay!

Hopefully later their spring there will be time for the fourth and fifth graders to also experience a clay workshop. Check in with the blog after our winter break to see how the pupils finished their clay work after it was fired.

Hundredth Day Poems in 100 Words

On Wednesday, January 17th English Class pupils achieved their hundredth day of school. On that day we also realized that English Class sixth graders have already experienced and passed their thousandth day in primary school! That milestone occurred just before the autumn break.  In honour of this year’s Hundredth Day celebration, some sixth graders wrote poems using just 100 words.

A few of the sixth graders worked in small groups; others worked by themselves. Click the photos to enlarge the text for easier reading.

Hundredth Day in the English Classes

Yes, today we reached the hundredth day of the school year. At assembly this morning Ms. Sylvia explained to the pupils in the English Classes that this tradition of celebrating the 100th day of school is a little more than forty years old. The tradition began as a way of making the concept of 100 more concrete to entry level pupils. It has developed into a tradition that has gradually crept up through primary school grade levels. From kindergarten pupils to sixth graders, the English Classes at Cygnaeus School celebrated in a myriad of ways. After their Finnish lesson this morning, our first graders quickly made the dazzling 100-eyeglasses shown in the photo collage above.

Together with their fifth grade peer pals, the first graders created a list of one hundred adjectives. With their peer pals, the first graders searched their classroom to find 100 numbered stars that had been hidden. Once no more stars could be found, each first grader arranged the stars that s/he had found in ascending numerical order. The fifth graders checked their work. Then the first grade pupils sorted their numbered stars into even and odd numbered stars. The next challenge was to create a long line of all 100 stars in numerical order.  That was when we discovered that there are still three stars that have not been found!

The last challenge using the numbered stars was to lay them out on a table in rows of tens.  With a little trial and error, this task was mastered, too. The session with the fifth grade peer pals concluded with 100 seconds of silence. During the last lesson of the day Ms. Sylvia read the book, Fluffy’s 100th Day of School by Kate McMullen to the first grade class.

The fourth graders, together with the English Class kindergarten, started their Hundredth Day workshop with a rousing workout to Jack Hartmann’s Let’s Get Fit: Count to 100 Song. Then the pupils practiced estimating numbers of unifix cubes up to one hundred and then actually counting them.

Other activities included filling in the missing numbers on a hundred chart and drawing pictures of how they imagine they will look one hundred years into the future.

The second and third grade classes, along with some sixth graders, had 100th day booklets that offered lots of fun activities. These included estimating how many dice rolls it would take to reach a total of 100, estimating how many times someone’s name could be written in 100 seconds, doing fitness activities for 100 seconds and lots, lots more.

Finally some sixth graders were challenged with the task of writing poems celebrating the 100th day of school by using exactly 100 words under the guidance of Ms. Sandra. Incidentally, while thinking about what to write, a realization was made that our sixth graders have passed their 1000th day of school. The Finnish school system has 190 school days in a year. That means that the thousandth day in total for sixth graders occurred just before the autumn break. The Hundredth Day poems will appear in this blog within the next couple of days.