Second meeting report
The second Project’s meeting took place in the Bruder Grimm Schule in Gottingen – Germany from the 18th to the 22nd February 2013.
The week’s work was planned millimetrically by our German partners, which contributed to an unforgettable, intense and productive meeting in all dimensions.
The assignment of a German teacher, as a welcoming host, to each delegation, turned a small yet brilliant idea into a warm, inclusive and decisive welcome to Gottingen and the week’s work.
Most of the partner schools introduced new teachers that are working in the Project in their classrooms, fact that diversified our discussions with new perspectives, angles and opinions, enriching the Project and setting out new objectives and goals.
One aspect to enhance is the fact that 75% of our partner schools (6 out of 8) have been represented by their directors or coordinators which revels the importance this Project has assumed in their schools and communities by the thematic it addresses and interactions it provides, not only amongst students and teachers, but also with grandparents, parents and the local community.
The week was superbly organised. Bearing in mind the fact that we took students with us for the first time, it must have constituted a big and new logistics challenge to organizers. Activities in the school were carefully prepared to answer the needs of all students with diversified interests and motivations.
All dimensions were well organised and special dedicated activities were provided:
The proposed ateliers have answered to the most required needs and were full of interest, fun and learning opportunities in a very playful and relaxed classroom environment.
Visits and participation in routine class times were also very interesting and well organised.
Most of the normal school activities have been preserved in order to give the visiting students and teachers an experience of the German’s school daily routine.
Interaction between partner school’s students and local students were enriched by songs from each country. Students felt as part of the same project with the “Tell me how it was in your time, grandfather” Comenius Project song written and played by Moritz and sang by all the school community.
The visit to the school facilities and educational offers, complemented with the explanations given by the director Ines and other teachers, introduced the group to the German Educational System and particularly to Bruder Grimm Schule enriching reality.
The scheduled visits to other educational institutions enriched the knowledge about schooling in Germany, fulfilling one important objective of Comenius Projects.
Foster families have been carefully chosen which provided to our students a home ambience far from home, contributing to a closer interaction with the immigrant community and a better insertion in the week’s works and society.
Moments of social interaction between teachers were fulfilled with a cohesion feeling, joy and motivation. The group felt united and turned this moments into cultural “voyages” trough their countries costumes and traditions, letting everyone present flavour the scents of each reality.
One of the week’s highlights was the visit and presentation at the Pro-Seniore Residenz, where participants spend a magnificent afternoon with the residents and staff, presenting their countries songs and interacting during the relaxed moment of the afternoon coffee and cake.
The dissemination of the project was not disregard and interviews to a local newspaper were given by the school director and project’s coordinator.
The study visits were of a great interest with diversified themes and interest points as:
- Mayors reception in the city hall and Gottingen historical and modern video;
- Visit to old city hall and old city centre highlighting the importance of Gottingen as an University city;
- Visit to former east/west Germany borders and museum which constituted a time journey to the grandparent’s time.
The visit to the nature reserve Heinz Sielmann Foundation in Herbigshagen constituted a very educational experience not only because of the visit to the didactic interactive museum but also trough the farm’s visit and the “learn how to do” proposed ateliers.
While students were attending ateliers or classes, teachers gathered together in order to work on the Project methodology, discussing and reflecting about the work and results of the first theme and launching innovative ideas to the next ones.
Over all, participants were happy with the results achieved with the first theme and with the materials produced.
It was decided that:
- The poster layout was to be maintained changing only the colour scheme of the theme’s name rectangle;
- The poster shouldn’t have massive information and would be written in Comic Sans MS 12;
- The booklet would comport most of the detailed information highlighted in the poster and be written in Times New roman 10;
- The booklet layout proposed was accepted and each theme (chapter) will display, beside the theme name in all languages, one photo of each partner school working the theme and the interveners testimonials;
- The photos, texts, videos and other materials produced during a theme work shall be send to our ICT expert to be published in the project’s page and consulted by everyone, rather than show it in the meetings;
- The Skype interactions should contain some presentations prepared by the students like a traditional song or story in order to make them more attractive and pedagogical.
Doubts were explained and discussed namely the moodle platform layout and how to reach the posted information.
New ideas were submitted to the group in order to enrich the project and turn each theme into a more challenging one.
For the second theme was proposed and accepted that each country should compile a traditional/popular story in order to, after being translated to English, elect the best one and publish in the booklet.
All the events of the second meeting went very well and were fruitful. The agenda was very well balanced between moments of intense work, visits and relaxing pauses. The ambience amongst the participants was of a great complicity and the interest and motivation for the Project’s works was highlighted by all. The group show cohesion around the main aspects of the Project, namely the materials produced, the activities scheduled to future themes and interactions with the community.
Motivation was a strong factor as participants had a “brain storm” on suggesting new ideas for the Project. This new ideas turned into adopted “sub-projects” within each theme implementing new goals in order to exceed the designed objectives of the Project.
German partners are to be congratulated by the extensive work they went through in organizing a meeting that, I’m sure, we all remember.