29 November 2008

A very chilly day

Brrr.  The thermometer read -3 first thing yesterday morning; a hard frost with everything crisp and white.

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Not much better even after the sun had risen.  The perfect day to make ice cream!

It all started way back when we were learning about plants.  Remember Tommy's sweet-scented vanilla pod?  And how he told us that vanilla can be used to flavour all kinds of things - including ice cream?  And how Sivert proudly told us that his grandfather could make his own ice cream?

Well, the other day, I received an email from Sivert's mum, saying that the famous ice-cream-making grandfather would shortly be visiting from Norway.  And would it be OK for him to come and show us how.....

Would it?  Well, what do you think?

And so, at 11.20 yesterday morning, an excited Sivert fairly leapt out of his chair as his grandfather appeared in the doorway, heavy bags in each hand.

What, we wondered, would the bags contain.  What do you need to make ice cream?

"Vanilla," shouted Tommy, predictably!

"Strawberry; mango," were other suggestions.

Well, we are going to make vanilla ice cream and so, even though you can use things like strawberries and mangoes to flavour ice cream, we won't be needing them today.  What else?

"Bread?" wondered Chloe.

"Cream," Sivert said firmly (it ain't called ice cream for nothing!)

"Ice," suggested Meghna (ah ice cream!)

"Eggs," suggested someone else (maybe they'd peeked inside one of those bags!)

Anything else?  What sort of taste does ice cream usually have - sour; bitter; sweet; salty?

A bit of confusion here, until the helpful teacher made her sour, bitter, sweet and salty-taste faces (thank goodness it is she who is the one behind the camera!)

And how can we make things taste sweet?


OK Let's begin.  We each need a small plastic tasting spoon (very important this!) and a plastic cup which we will label with our name.

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And now the cream; 5 dls. it said on the pack (which is the same as 500 mls.)  Pour it all into the bowl.

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Hmm.  That doesn't look very much.  We'll have to make it bigger.  We need to fold something into it and trap it there; something that we can't see. 

There followed much waving of arms (again, glad I am the one behind the camera) until all was suddenly clear; clear, in fact, as the air we breathe.  We need to fold in and trap lots of air.  Using an electric whisk.

Barely concealed squeals of excitement.....


.....as we each had a turn at beating in the air, all the time remembering to keep the whisk in the cream!

Next the vanilla.  Take one pod.  Slice it carefully down the length, and then cut it into pieces - so that everyone has their own bit to scrape the seeds from.


Eggs next.  4 nice fresh eggs for each batch of ice cream.

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And now the tricky bit.  You need to crack each egg on the side of the bowl and carefully (carefully) let the 'white' slide out and keep the yellow yolk safely in the shell.



Easy?  Oops!


Drop the yolks (just the yolks!).....


.....into the bowl with the vanilla seeds.

Now the sweet stuff.  Measure out 4 tablespoons of sugar.....

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.....and whisk it into the egg yolk mixture.....


.....until that too has lots of air trapped inside.

Now, pour the thick creamy yellow stuff into the thick creamy cream, making sure you scrape the bowl clean.....


.....and then stir to mix it all up.

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And now, remember that tasting spoon?  Yum!


But hang on; don't eat it all - what about the ice part?  Ice cream needs to be, well, icy!  What should we do next?

Well, what do you think we did?

With enormous thanks to Sivert for lending us his grandfather, and of course to the grandfather himself!

PS Here's a screen shot of the ingredients we used if you'd like to have a go at making some at home:


28 November 2008

Let's Twist Again

We had a look at some amazing patterns like these (wikipedia) yesterday.

They were made using a machine called a ‘Spirograph’.  A Spirograph works like this; you insert your sharp pencil point into a tiny hole in a round plastic cog, and carefully, oh-so-carefully, you move it round and round and round inside a plastic ring which also has cogs.  As you spiral round, so a pattern emerges.....

The trouble is that we only had one Spirograph machine - and lots of eager-for-a-challenge children.  What to do?

First take a piece of cardboard as your base.


Next, choose a cardboard shape to trace round and stab it with a sharp pin.....

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.....onto a piece of paper and into your cardboard base (and watch out; some of those pins might poke through the other side!)

With one hand, hold the shape still.....

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.....and with the other trace all the way round the shape with your pencil.

Then, moving the shape round just a little bit each time, trace the shape again and again.


As you progress, you will start to see a pattern emerging.


Finally, you will have made your way all the way round and back to where you started - phew!

Now, stand back and admire your very own Spirograph designs.

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Look closely at these two; you should be able to see one shape repeated lots of times
What shapes do you see?

25 November 2008

Patterns on my clothes

Apart from this fine example of an argyle pattern,


we seem to be overwhelmingly fond of stripy socks in Class 2i; a recent 'straw' poll (or should that be a 'sock' poll?) found more than half of us wearing socks with stripes.


And then of course, there were all the striped sweaters and tops.


Look closely at all those stripes; I wonder how many of the patterns have only two colours.  How are they the same as each other?  What other ways could you describe this type of pattern?

What about the other stripy patterns; can you identify the repeating part of each one?

Keep your eyes open and see how many different patterns you can spot on people's clothes. 

Look at complicated cardigans.....


Look at jolly jumpers.....


Look at ditsy dresses.....


Look at serious shirts.....


And look at terrific ties.....


Why not see how many different kinds of patterns you can wear?  All at once.

Let's bring some zing into the classroom!

20 November 2008

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor.....

.....and other counting rhymes.

Have you ever heard this one?

One-ery, two-ery, tickery, seven,

Hallibo, crackibo, ten and eleven,

Spin, span, muskidan,

Twiddle-um, twaddle-um, twenty-one.

Or maybe this one?

Eenie, meenie, mackeracka,

Hi, di, dominacka,

Stickeracka, roomeracka,

Om, pom, push.

What about this?

Ala, mala, mink, monk,

Tink, tonk, toozey,

Oozy, voozy, aggardy,

Ah, vah, vak.


Ah, ra, chickera,

Roly, poly, pickena,

Kinny, minny, festi,


Try saying them aloud; notice the rhythm and enjoy the sounds of the nonsense words.

Chloe shared this popular counting rhyme with us the other day:

1, 2, Buckle my shoe

3, 4, Knock at the door


5, 6, Pick up sticks

7, 8, Lay them straight

9, 10, A big fat hen.

You might even know how it continues.....

And Sivert enjoyed sharing this Norwegian counting rhyme.  It ends with you saying the Norwegian word for policemen; politi:

Poli en

Poli to

Poli tre

Poli fire

Poli fem

Poli seks

Poli sju

Poli åtte

Poli ni

Poli ti

What about you?  Do you have any favourite counting rhymes you might like to share?

19 November 2008

Lots on Top

You may like it just scooped into a cone; however,  when I eat ice cream.....


I do rather like to pour hot butterscotch sauce over the top.  Or maybe some warmed chocolate sauce.  Then again, it is quite toothsome heaped with strawberries and thick cream and perhaps a little slosh of something.....

Lots on top!

Which is the title of a patterned poem we read this morning.  Funnily enough, there was a plethora of ice cream lovers amongst us when we had a go at writing our own version.....

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Indeed, it would even appear that some of us buy our ice cream at the same place!

There are of course other favourite combinations within our ranks.....

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If you want to see the whole range of tastes in the class, why not pay us a visit and take a look at our newest book; Lots on Top?

18 November 2008

What is a pattern?

We see them all around us.....

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Our world is full of them.....

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But what exactly is a pattern?

Here's what we think:

A pattern is.....

".....like there's blue, red, blue, red,"  said Chloe.

".....numbers and it could be 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and then again 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 like that," explained Dasha.

".....you write something and after you did again and again square, triangle, square, triangle," said Tatiana.

".....when we do the same thing like red, blue, yellow, red, blue, yellow," explained Aabis.

".....something who keeps going on and on."  Virginia.

".....by colours; pink, blue, pink, blue," said Shouq.

".....we make a square and then a triangle and then a square and that's what they call a pattern," explained Harrison.

"You can also make patterns with numbers.  You say it for a long time; it can keep going on for ever," said Tommy.

"You can use these letters, a b c; a b c; a b c;" said Meghna.

Patterns are.....

".....colours or numbers that keep on going," Sharukh told us.

".....circle, triangle and square; circle, triangle and square; circle, triangle and square; circle, triangle and square and so on....." said Thomas

"Some if you use only two shapes like square, triangle, it's called a b," explained Shahrbano.

"Patterns are things that keep continuing," Owen concluded.

What do you think? 

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