22 June 2008

The last post.....


It was interesting to read (I think it was in the Daily Telegraph) that the 20th of June is the happiest day of the year.  This is according to a maths formula that has been worked out by a British academic called Cliff Arnall. 

Apparently the feeling of optimism caused by the combination of lighter evenings, the prospect of holidays and memories of childhood summers is at its peak on the 20th of June.

He used the formula O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He (where O stands for being outdoors, N is being with nature, S is socialising with friends, Cpm is childhood positive memories, T is the average temperature (which is now usually warm) and He is holiday expected) to work it out, and the 20th of June came out on top!

What he clearly didn't factor in, was the immense pride (IP) felt by a class full of children who on this very day showed their parents a selection of the things they have learnt during the course of this year as part of their student-led conferences.  For us then, the 20th of June must have been even happier than Cliff Arnall imagined!  (Note to self; perhaps I should tell him of his omission.)

And so it was that, with the classroom looking uncharacteristically spick and span, parents were invited, amongst other things:

to see a gymnastics display.....

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to look at and comment on recent maths and artwork.....


to be taken through the process of how to make the perfect guide book.....


and to handle (most reverently!) the finished articles.....


to compare these with our online map and information about the same place.....


to be read to either from our own writing.....


.....or from our latest reading book.....


to see us practise our handwriting.....


and to be taken through some of our many investigations.....



And just to prove our very high IP rating on the happiness scale, here is a selection of the comments that the children made to me afterwards:

Joe told me: I've had a really good year, especially at the end.  I felt really proud when I shared my work with my mum.  I was proud when I balanced on one foot on the bar.

Christopher said: In my school year I have been getting better and better.  And today I have shown my mum all the stuff which I have been doing.  I felt very good about that.  She was proud of me too.

Evangeline shared this thought: I have enjoyed class two because it's been fun.  Today I liked doing gym at the student led conference.  I was proud of when I was on the bars.

Matthew D enthused: Today I felt brilliant because my parents took photos of me and I felt like I was famous.  When I started going upside down in gym I felt like I was falling through the air.

Swati excitedly told me: My parents were proud of me and it was my favourite day I've ever had in my life.  The best part was when I showed them gymnastics.

Danah was really (really) keen to tell me: I was really really happy today at student led conferences.  I saw that my mum was really proud because she was smiling really nicely.  The best part I think was when I shared gymnastics.

Patricia rather surprisingly began by saying: My daddy told me he didn't like anything - but he was actually joking!  Really he was surprised.  My mother she whispered in my ear it was great.  Well, I felt very good.  The best was when I shared the brochure.

Giulia thought seriously and then said: I felt proud when I had finished everything with my parents and I think my parents are proud of me.  I felt shy when I did the gymnastics.  The best part was when I shared my brochure.

Naoya articulated: First I was little bit scared but now I am very proud.  My dad is so proud.  The best is gymnastics.

Justin said emphatically: I had a good time today because I did lots of things like computers and lots of things like that and my mummy was proud of me.  I was proud.  The best thing was French.

Rekik shared this: I felt really good because my parents came and they really supported me while I was doing gymnastics.  They felt great about it.  I felt best about showing my parents what I could do in gymnastics.

Per told me: I felt very proud because when my parents saw the gymnastics they gave a comment; they said, 'Very good job'.  My best thing was making the needle point to north. 

Tanmay was thoughtful: When my parents came I felt happy.  I felt as though my parents were saying bravo, bravo to me.  They said very good.  I enjoyed the best doing gymnastics.

Max arrived at school incredibly excited.  When it was all over he explained: My day was really good because it was a special day because it was fun and not like normal days.  My best bit was doing gymnastics.

Dangi too found it pretty exciting: Before my parents came I was feeling very excited and when they came I was feeling excited too.  My best part was when I went into the gym to do gymnastics.  I had only three activities left to do.  I felt proud of myself.

Michelle shared this: My parents felt happy at student led conferences.  I felt good.  The best part was when I showed my yellow unit of inquiry book.

Thumbs up for Matthew W: My mum and my dad felt really good.  They did two thumbs up.  I felt very good also.  The best part was the overhead projector.

And almost the last words from Fiona: Well the best part of today was when I showed my parents gymnastics.  I felt a little bit afraid before because I thought everyone was going to make a lot of noise.  During it I found that they weren't making a noise so it was OK.  And after I felt really good because my mum and dad wanted to see me again doing some things.  They said, 'You were really good sweetheart.'

But I am saving the last slot for me (Blogger's prerogative I am afraid).

Student-led conferences are a lot of work, as anyone who has been in any way a part of one will know.  But for a teacher particularly, once the hard graft beforehand is out of the way, they are truly an amazing thing to see.  One forgets quite how far a class can come during the course of a school year - until the next influx begins in September.

And this year's 'influx' has been rather special.  Together we have shared some amazing learning - perhaps as witnessed by what I have posted here these past months!

I will end this now, with the promise (as far as I can make such a thing) that this Blog will remain as it is for years to come; hopefully as something you will refer back to from time to time.  Of course, having been bitten by the Blogging 'bug' I will begin anew in September (you read it here first!)  It will be found at the same address.  I may just give it a new name though; a fresh coat of paint, as it were.

19 June 2008

A brief moment of fame.....

I believe I mentioned before that I have an interest (though sadly not much talent) in photography.  Well, the other day I posted a couple of the photographs that I had taken of our beautiful watercolour paintings, onto a web album.

It was with great excitement that I subsequently discovered a number of people in the outside world have made comments on these photos. 

Not, I have to admit, because there was anything particularly spectacular about my photographs.  No, they wanted to compliment two of our young artists on their talent!

Without further ado, therefore, I will share a screen shot of each so you can see for yourself.



Perhaps when either of these two girls, or indeed when anyone in our rather special class achieves fame (and fortune?) in later life you might remember the all-too-fleeting spell they spent in Class 2i!

17 June 2008


The day didn't start too well.  The plastiscine was too hard.  And my bright idea of letting it warm gently in the microwave for a mere few seconds turned it into a solid lump!  But fortunately we were able to find a most generous class teacher who had some to spare.

There then followed a therapeutic few minutes of rolling and stretching and squeezing as we found out what our task was to be.


Our question was, 'What happens to the size of the splat (that's what you get when you drop a ball of plastiscine onto the floor) when you change the height from which you drop it?'

This is what we would do:

  • roll the plastiscine into a ball


  • drop it onto the floor (from three different heights - at arm's length, from a chair.....

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and from the desk)

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  • carefully paint just the flattened part

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  • squish that onto a piece of paper to print a mark in the shape of the flattened part


In between each drop, make sure you clean the plastiscine - and try not to get too blue! (I think that's Giulia's hand in the photo)

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  • compare the three 'splat' sizes

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Now, what true statement can you make about what you found out?  Maybe using the words





will help.


Come with us to the Domaine de Penthes

16 June 2008

We have us another map.....

I have a bit of a dilemma.  While I am very keen (having been working on it pretty much ALL day!) to share our latest achievement with you, I want you to promise me that you will try not to peek at it until after we have had a chance to put the previously mentioned Guide Books into action.  Promise?

Right then, here goes: Now that all the writing for the Guide Books is done; now that all the photographs and illustrations have been chosen and drawn; now that all we have to do (all she says!) is turn it from a muddle of loose pages into a set of logically arranged and expertly bound ready-to-use (weather - which at the time of typing is utterly atrocious! - permitting) booklets, it is time, I feel to turn our attention elsewhere.  To maps.live.com

Because, after all the work we did last week marking our chosen places of interest on a rather ancient map of Chateau de Penthes (remember those coloured spots?) I thought it would be an interesting idea to try and make a similar map using an almost up-to-date (I expect you will notice that the tennis courts aren't quite finished in the photo) all-singing, all-dancing online aerial photograph.

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And that's where maps.live.com comes in.  I have uploaded the written descriptions prepared by each group, plus a suitable photograph and it is now possible to see Class 2i's Guide to Chateau de Penthes by clicking the link.

Similarly, if you go to the maps.live.com website and search for Chateau de Penthes, when you click on collections, you should come up with a list of places of interest in the area, which includes OURS!  All very exciting, as I am sure you will agree!

12 June 2008

How to find all those interesting places in Chateau de Penthes

Today we took a closer look at a map of Chateau de Penthes.


Not a particularly good map, it has to be said; but the one that you see posted near the entrance.  Put there so that visitors can find their way around.  We think it was probably originally made from either a drawing or a painting.  And we think that the drawing was probably done some time before 1993.....(More of which later)

Like all good maps, it has a key.....


but that only shows buildings (such as the chateau and the military museum) and the car park.

We agreed that in order for it to be more useful to visitors, it should have a few extra places of interest added.  For example, as well as the chateau.....


we felt others might want to know how to find the tissue tree or where to go to smell the azaleas.

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So first of all we compared our Chateau de Penthes map, with an aerial photograph of the same area.

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That way we were able to work out fairly well just where all our interesting places were sited.

Once we were confident that we had orientated ourselves correctly, we then set about the task of marking our chosen places of interest on the map with a coloured spot.....

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and then making a key so that we would remember what each coloured spot stood for on the map.

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Once finished, these maps will be put into our guide books, along with

  • the map and written directions on how to get there
  • the written descriptions and illustrations or photographs of the places of interest

Just before I go, do you remember what I wrote at the start of this post about when we thought the Chateau de Penthes map was originally drawn?  (Scroll back if you have forgotten!)  If you look really closely at it and then compare it with the same spot on the inserted 'Virtual Earth' map, you may notice interesting something about one of the trees.

And here is my final clue.  In 1993 (October 6th, at 10.15 to be precise) there was a huge thunderstorm.  One of the trees was struck by lightning and it exploded, sending a shower of wood chips high and wide (as far as the US embassy, we believe!) 

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All that remains is a jagged spiky stump.....


11 June 2008

The 'S' word

Deep breath.....SOCCER.  There, I've said it!  FOOTBALL.  Euro 2008.  The beautiful game. 


It's very much in the news, especially, it seems, in Class 2i.  But interestingly from a number of different perspectives.   

First there was Giulia who told us the exciting news that she went to Berne to watch the soccer game between Holland and Italy.  "There were 32,000 people in the stadium and most of them were Dutch fans.  Italy did not score any goals but Holland scored three goals.  The Dutch fans were waving their flags.....


and I think that Italy lost because the best player of Italy has broken his ankle, so he can't play and someone will replace him. 


But I think it is also because Holland was a better team."

Next up Isabella, who tells us, "There's a man called Lukas Podolski.  He comes from Poland but he lived more than 20 years in Germany.  He played against Poland.  He scored the first goal and the second goal;  Poland had zero and Germany had two.


He was crying at the end because he was sad and happy at the same time."  Many of us could empathise with that feeling!

Justin wanted us to know about his team, Switzerland.  "It was Switzerland against Czech


It was one zero for Czech and the captain he got hurt and he was the best player and the Czech he laughed - and he got the yellow card."

"How did he get hurt?" asked Rekik.

"The Czech stamped on his foot.  He will be out for the rest (of the tournament)."

"In your body," explains Chris, "you have this thing holding your knee and first of all his leg was twisted and then he fell and one of those (ligaments) ripped."  Ouch!

"He had sticks, like when you have a fracture," Tanmay added.

And finally (how I relish writing those two words this week!) Naoya, who is not Swiss or German or (somewhat) Italian, just happens to live near the hotel where the Portuguese national team is staying.  He saw their bus!  And thanks to a bit of Internet research, so can we!