29 August 2009

On the move…..

From the start of September 2009, new posts to this Blog will be found here  http://class2ipregny.blogspot.com/

21 June 2009

It is a funny thing…..

…..that around this time last year, I posted what indeed turned out to be the last post of that school year, following an outstandingly (even though I say it myself!) successful day of Student-Led Conferences.  If you look back to the post you will see that the day was also reportedly the happiest day of the year; a day arrived at as the result of some cunning mathematical trickery by a British academic, Cliff Arnall.

Imagine my surprise, having long since forgotten all about that, when I read in the paper on Friday evening, that the 'happiest day of the year is June 19 according to formula'.  My surprise of course being that by some coincidence, June the 19th was the day that had been chosen for this year’s Student-Led Conferences. 

The days leading up to Friday 19th June (more specifically the late nights and early mornings!) of course were for me somewhat less than happy.  However, to have a classroom filled with proud children sharing with parents and grandparents a snapshot of the learning that they have done during this long school year, made it worth all those long hours.  The looks on the faces of adults and children alike showed me that the happiest day of this year (or at least one of them!) surely had turned out to be June 19, whatever formula you use to work it out!

12 June 2009

Bad planning…..successful outcome!

Having hunted unsuccessfully online for the opening times of the Military Museum (although had I thought about it I would probably have found them in one of last year’s posts right here!) we decided that we would anyway zip over the road on the off-chance that we might find the doors open, our fingers firmly crossed.

But of course, in spite of all those crossed fingers, it was firmly closed.  As was the Chateau museum too.  Bother.  Deadlines (of which we know all too well) fast approaching – and out of luck.

Well, we could have about-turned and trouped back to school again.  After all there was so much to do!  But eager voices urged; ‘Let’s see if we can find the monkey puzzle tree!’ and ‘Where is the tissue tree?’ and even ‘Can I climb to the top of the lightning tree?’  We had earlier been comparing notes; looking at the Guide Books children in previous years had written.

On the way to check out these three things, we ventured somewhere I had not been before.  Into the orchard. 

A new challenge.  Remembering some of the learning we had done in our unit of inquiry on Plants, we set about first to see if we could find any fruit growing.  A quick (but totally unnecessary as it turned out) reminder of what a fruit is and off we set.

Squeaks and squeals as excited children ‘discovered’ tiny apples, as distinct from equally tiny pears.


And how about these?  Soft furry baby quinces (can you see the remnant of the flower there?)…..


and peaches too.  Not to mention hard green mini-plums.

And then squeaks and squeals as excited teachers ‘discovered’ fat juicy ripe cherries, dangling enticingly from the branches.


But no, we did not pick any (tempting though it was!)  Instead we hunted around on the ground underneath the various trees for windfalls.  We eventually returned to school - having also checked out the monkey puzzle tree, the tissue tree (now of course lacking its tissue-like flowers but instead sporting these…..


intriguing fruits) and having allowed Amelia and others to scale the lightning tree - red-lipped, with our pockets and fists bulging with the results of our scavenging.

As the title admits, bad planning – but a most successful outcome.  Sore tummies notwithstanding.

11 June 2009

Deceptively simple

At first glance, the Pregny-Chamb├ęsy shield looks simple with its straightforward two-colour design in blue (to represent the lake) and gold (for the wheat…..


that once grew widely in these parts).  And yet, as we found out, it would take very good listening skills in order for us to make our own.  Let’s see how we went about it.

First of all we made a template, by folding a piece of A3 paper in half, carefully lining up the edges.


Next, we measured 10cm from the folded corner along the shorter side and 25cm along the longer. 


These spots we marked with a pencil, before joining the two spots in a J-shaped curve…..


so that when we cut it out, we ended up with a shield-shape.


What next?  Stick the white shield onto a piece of gold paper and carefully cut it out…..


trimming any sticking-out edges.


Now use the gold shield as a template to trace and then cut out an identical blue shield.  Put this safely to one side…..


while you draw a wiggly cross on the back of the gold shield.


Mark these very faintly (on the gold side) so that you will know which piece goes where. (Starting at the top of the shield and moving round clockwise, we used the letters N, E, S and W!)  Now, cut along the wiggly lines…..


so that you end up with 4 pieces.


Now, how good are you at jig-saws?  Well, as long as your labelling system works, all you need to do is discard those marked N and S and stick the other two (W and E) in the right places on the blue shield.


Simple?  Why not come and see how we all got on?

05 June 2009

How lucky we are…..

Having been out and about to various places in our local area, we were having a chat-on-the-mat reminding ourselves of some of the places we have seen on our travels.  Places, we discovered, where people can work and where people can visit.  Tommy, ever thoughtful, suddenly pronounced; ‘We are lucky to have Chateau de Penthes…..


in our local area.  You can walk all around - and see tadpoles.’


Shahrbano continued.  ‘A few weeks later you can see frogs and you can hold them.’


Rammy reiterated.  ‘We are lucky to have Chateau de Penthes because there are a lot of things you can do like catch tadpoles - and climb trees.’


‘You can look at the tall trees,’ added Aabis.

‘Yes, you can amuse yourself by looking at the amazing leaves and trees,’ elaborated Amelia.


‘We are lucky to have Chateau de Penthes because there is a nice view,’ said Quentin.

‘From the wall by the chateau you can see a bird’s eye view and the sun shining on the lake,’ Dylan pointed out.


‘You could paint the view from the wall by the Chateau,’ contributed Tatiana.  (As we did the other day.)


‘You can see birds,’ said Shouq.


‘You can hear the birds sing,’ added Ryoma.

‘You could rest on the grass or go for a run,’ suggested Amelia.

‘And it’s a good place to walk your dog,’ added Meghna.


‘You can roll down the hill,’ said Martin. 

‘You can play,’ Viivi told us.

‘You can have a picnic there,’ said Virginia.  ‘And you can learn stuff.’

‘Yes, you can go in the nice museum.’  Sivert.


And we could have continued in a similar vein - had we not needed to get to French.

The discussion was all the more extraordinary if you look at the timing; we had earlier in the day indulged in the fantasy of pretending that we might have anything that we wanted in our local area, just outside the school gates.  Imagine leaving school each day and being able to dive into a swimming pool or ride on a rollercoaster, pet a friendly lion or even, perish the thought, shop endlessly for toys.

Well, a pleasant dream perhaps; but it would appear that in fact we are happy with our lot and, perhaps more importantly, that we understand quite how lucky we are to have it.

29 May 2009

The Green Schoolyard

We have a shiny new sign.  Well, in truth, it is neither shiny nor new; it is ‘green’ as in recycled.  And it took my eye; largely because of the fact that the letters had been cleverly formed by leaving spaces unpainted white.


But I digress (so no change there then!)  I am here (again) because of our latest ‘workout’ in the garden (which I should probably start calling the Green Schoolyard).  Sadly we have had a bit of a problem.  Just take a look at this wheat.


Look closely; what do you notice?


What can possibly have happened to it?  Suggestions included the possibility that someone had walked on it or that it had blown over in the wind, or even that a hailstorm had flattened it.  But we learned that it was not that at all.  To help us understand, we were cunningly corralled into a squashed up roped-in place in order to ‘grow’ from tightly-packed seeds into tall, strong healthy plants.  And it turned out to be impossible for us to grow so tightly-packed without falling over.

The same would have been true for the growing wheat.  Seeds that had been too generously scattered left growing plants with too little space to become tall and strong.  Instead they just keeled over.  An important lesson noted to be remembered for next year.

And then we went off around the rest of the garden to look for similar signs of too-tightly-packed seeds having led to weak plants.  We quickly spotted floppy lettuces.  But with lettuces it didn’t matter too much because you can eat them.  Which we did!

pregny garden1

There was work to be done too.  Warm sunny weather and rain had meant that everything (including things we hadn’t planted) had shot up. 

The roses were a profusion of colour…..

pregny garden2

but in amongst the healthy peas…..


and run-away beans…..


were ‘weeds’…..


that needed to be cleared, in order to give more space to the plants that were supposed to be there.  So it was ‘all hands on deck’, removing them. 


Being careful to remove just the things that were not supposed to be there.  After all, we want to be able to harvest our strawberries and our cabbages…..


as well as pick the odd bunch of Sweet Williams and even sweeter lavender.   Mmmm!

pregny garden3

28 May 2009

Make like a ‘real’ landscape artist

As if it wasn’t enough to go on one expedition, there we were, planning a second; on the same day!  I told you it was a lovely day, didn’t I? 

Break time saw a flurry of teacherly activity; a hustle and bustle of preparation; two sizes of paintbrush, fine-tipped and fat (check).  Clipboards (check).  Special (expensive) watercolour paper (check).  Freshly-cleaned tins of watercolour paints.  Paper towels.  Bottles of water and colourful plastic cups (check, check and check).

And shortly after the cowbells (bells not unlike this one) rang…..


to signal the end of break and the return of the hordes, off we set again, incidentally in the same northerly direction as we had an hour or so earlier.  However, we ignored the next turning to the left and instead walked right past the fortified building (also on our left) and on towards the beautiful grounds of Chateau de Penthes, for this was to be where we would search for a landscape worthy of our closer attention.

The perfect spot (and pose!) having been chosen…..


water was poured into cups…..


and this and other equipment distributed.


Fat brushes were used to wash the special (expensive) watercolour paper with water.  Fine-tipped paintbrushes were swirled in water and then dipped into chosen colours.  Paper towels were put to use to dab off excess wet (and to mop the odd spill).

Before our eyes…..


landscapes took shape.


Colours were scrutinised…..


and carefully copied.  Those mountains do indeed look blue!


Frequent comparisons were made to make sure we had got the shape of the trees right.


And whoever it was that said trees were merely green…..


was surely…..




And after all that creativity, there was even time at the end for a bit of a lie-down on the warm grass…..


before tidying everything up and trudging back to school.

The finished works of art will soon be proudly (deservedly so) displayed in the classroom.  Why not take the time to pay our gallery a visit?