Third meeting report
The third Project’s meeting took place at Maresal Fevzi Çakmak Ortaokulu in Yalova – Turkey from the 20th to the 24th May 2013.
The meeting’s agenda was very carefully planned to include all the dimensions required for the Projects meeting.
The host school represented by his director Mr Serdar Kara and the English teacher Miss Tugçe Bodur warmly welcomed the participants introducing the week’s agenda that also contained facts and history of Yalova. The field trips were also assisted by Nuray Albayak the arts teacher, Gokay Hayon the social studies teacher and Mustafa Demir the maths teacher.
Some partner schools introduced new teachers in this mobility (Hungary, Bulgaria and Italy) and three partners bring students (Germany 6, Bulgaria 3 and Hungary 5).
Six of the eight partners were represented by their directors or school principals what means that the project is still regarded as a strong and viable one in their school communities.
The week constituted a big logistics challenge to organizers once fourteen foster homes had to be carefully provided. The hosting families were very cooperating, warm and careful and participative not only in the school activities but also during the educational field trips we did to Iznik and Bursa and Istanbul.
Activities in the school were prepared in order to keep the visiting students motivated and at the same time providing space and time to acknowledge a bit of the Turkish culture. Traditional folk and traditional painting ateliers were enforced beside the normal school classes’ routines.
All dimensions were well organised and special dedicated activities were provided:
The ateliers have been enthusiastically attended once the themes were very appealing: Turkish folk dances and plastic expressions atelier.
The routine class times were preserved in order to give the participants a comprehensive idea of the Turkish educational system on primary and lower secondary (5th and 6th grades). The visit to the class rooms and other school facilities (library, teacher’s room, ICT room, playgrounds, etc.) was much participated and well guided by our Turkish partners. One of the highlights was the gathering of all participants with all the local teachers in the teacher’s room followed by a traditional Turkish lunch. This moment was very important as teachers had the opportunity to exchange differences and similarities of their educational systems and exchange examples of good practices.
Facts and numbers about the Turkish educational system and the Yalova’s provincial educational status were provided during the reception at the Provincial Directorate for National Education by the Provincial Director, during the welcoming of the delegate’s briefing.
The scheduled visit to the Vocational High School enriched the knowledge about schooling offer in Turkey, fulfilling one important objective of Comenius Projects. This well programmed visit was hosted by the school Director seconded by the English teacher.
Foster families, as above mentioned, have been carefully chosen which provided to our students a home ambience full of care and attention to individual needs.
Once again and as most of the participants have attended the previous meetings, the moments of social interaction between teachers were fulfilled with a cohesion feeling, joy, motivation and a “belonging” feeling.
The dissemination of the project was not disregard and news were published, namely in the internet pages of the Romanian Targoviste City Hall. Most of the partner schools will disseminate news of this meeting in their school newspapers and school web pages, amongst other initiatives as the Project’s web page.
The study visits were of a great interest with diversified themes and historical/social interesting points as the:
- Museums, Ayasofya, ceramics atelier and the old school in Izniz;
- Covered bazaar, green tomb and city view in Bursa;
- Ayasofya Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cisterna, Sultan Ahmet Mosque and a boat trip in the Bosporus channel in Istanbul;
- Ataturk’s house and the Termal trip in Termal;
- The “Deprem Aniti” or moving house in Yalova.
There were two formal Project’s meetings where discussion and reflection about the work and results of the first Project year took place. A balance was done and more innovative ideas were launched to the next theme. It was approved the collection and publish of a subtheme for the fourth theme about traditional games.
Over all, participants were happy with the results achieved within the first year and with the materials produced.
It was decided to maintain all the decisions approved during the German meeting, concerning the Project’s material production and presentation.
Doubts were explained and discussed again, namely the moodle platform layout and how to reach the posted information. It was asked by our ICT coordinator, Kostas from the Greek partner school to channel to him in the first place all information to be posted.
The group felt so united and happy with the way all delegates worked so far together that the idea of continuation on a new Comenius Project was launched with everybody’s approbation. The German and Portuguese team exposed a future Project’s idea that was approved by the presents and will be, in future, structured and presented to all partner schools for further and detailed discussion.
The Turkish meeting was a success due to its meticulous preparation and flawless execution. It was a very comprehensive week with all educational dimensions taken care of and social moments full of interaction. The hosts mobilized part of the docents to accompany the delegates and foreign students as well as they mobilized the entire school to participate in the programmed Comenius meeting activities, presenting us moments of Turkish folk and traditions, enriching our knowledge about their magnificent country. Resuming, I would dare to say that the Comenius Project week in Yalova was, no doubt, a Turkish delight.
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.
First meeting report
The first Comenius meeting took place from 23rd to 25th October 2012 in Misilmery – Sicily – Italy and our host school was the Misilmery Primary School “Salvatore Traina”.
The host group was lead by Salvatore Mazzamuto the headmaster seconded by Eleonora and Maria and a large group of fantastic teachers and school workers.
Delegates from the seven visiting countries were welcomed at the hotel by Italian partners, fact that contributed to a very warm, friendly and inclusive working atmosphere.
The agenda was meticulously elaborated and comprised several dimensions which contributed to a fulfilling working and social week.
The visit started with the fantastic welcome in the school with all the community present and a great show of traditional songs and folk and the majorettes group performed by the students.
We, than, were offered with a guided visit to the “Salvatore Traina” school and the educational system. Participants had a possibility to interact with ongoing classes and exchange information with the teachers.
On the programme were included, as well, visits to other three schools: “Empedocle Restivo”, “Delegazione” both in Portella di Mare and “The Vigilia” nursery school in Misilmery. All schools had prepared a warm welcome and delegates had the opportunity to share great pedagogical and social moments with the teachers and students.
Both Italian and foreign teachers had the opportunity to see and exchange views on the several educational systems upon the delegates presentations of their schools.
The cultural programme was vast, very interesting due to a very carefully planned schedule. We had the opportunity to acquire more knowledge about Sicily history and Misilmeri in particular.
Highlights go to:
- The drama play “La Cavalleria Rusticana” presented by “Theatre Company of Giovanny Furnary” on the church front (great night show);
- The interaction with the old crafts, games and trades presented by “Comitato Degli Anziani Diversamente Giovani” and parents associations that gifted all participants with a basket full of delicacies;
- The visit to both Sant’Elia and Comitini Palaces in Palermo, being the last one the seat of the Provincial Council, were a visit to the Palermo’s and Sicily history. After the guided tour, we were offered by the President’s particular secretary, Mr Notaro, a souvenir from the Province’s President. At Sant’Elia palace we could appreciate an extensive and very interesting vintage exhibition;
- Both the Misilmeri’s Town Hall visit and city centre visit were a must mastered by the knowledge and friendliness of Mr. Enrico Venturini, an exceptional tour guide;
- The fabulously prepared medieval fair at the Misilmeri Castle grounds and the interesting guided visit to the Castle with the “Palio dei Sestieri” Association’s Chancellor Mr. Venturini (once again perfect in his role);
- The unique gastronomic experience offered by the “Assessorato Regionale delle Risorse Agricole e Alimentari” provide all participants the opportunity to taste typical Sicilian mouthwatering dishes;
- All the relaxing social moments around traditional Italian pizza or espresso coffee, contributed for a better knowledge of the Italian way of living.
The working meetings were very fruitful. They were important as an organizational departure process for the entire Project.
Although work methodologies for all themes have been proposed before, they constituted a mere launching ramp to the Project’s structure. After a much participated discussion, methodologies, activities and materials proposed were approved by all participating schools.
This first working week was constituted by very important moments where all the paper work, materials and deadlines for the Project was established and approved by all participating schools.
The atmosphere was a very consensual one, gathering everyone around the same objectives and goals.
As a balance the following strong aspects must be emphasize:
- Adherence to the project theme with a very strong group spirit enthusiasm;
- Commitment shown by all participants in all phases of the project agenda;
- The compromise of active involvement of the students, teachers and community by all partners;
- The positive criticism and doubts presented by all participants towards better working methods and results;
- The creation of a moodle platform and webpage for the Project dissemination and information;
- The set up of an interaction Skype calendar with all participant schools;
- Lastly, but not least, the great empathy that was gathering all participants around the same objective
A very well organized meeting with spaces and moments to include all required dimensions as was above shown.
The entire group generated empathy, showing motivation and cohesion around the proposed subjects, which are the main ingredients to the creation of a good teamwork leading to a successful Project achievement.