Because we´re Wörth it! Erasmus+ KA2 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in Wörth an den Donau, Germany, 8.-15.11.2017

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8.11. Two teachers, Jaana and Katri, and two students, Emilia and Kamilla from the 9th grade ready to go! Wednesday was a travelling day so after a flight to Munich we took a bus to Freising, a train from Freising to Regensburg and finally a bus to Wörth. Families took the girls and took care of them and we teachers settled in Gasthaus Butz. Students and teachers from Finland, Iceland, Germany, Poland, Greece and Spain getting ready to work together for almost a week!

9.11. First meeting at Mittelschule Wörth at 8.30. Info about the project, a tour in a school, welcome meeting in the school Hall by the Headmaster and working on a project.

In the afternoon meeting at Mayor`s Hall by mayor Anton Rothfischer and an EU- representative Arne Gericke. Next day there was a report on a local newspaper about the meeting and we got the copies of the magazine. Later a walk through the old town and a visit in an old castle. Castle is nowadays a retirement home for senior citizens.What a great place to spend your golden years! In the evening a welcoming party arranged by the parents. Great food and company!

 

10.11. We were introduced a project where qualified pupils work as mediators solving fights etc. between other pupils. After that a visit to Karin´s transition class and meeting great youngsters for instance from Iraq, Syria, Romania, Vietnam and Ethiopia.

Then again to a car and to Regensburg to vist Lernwerkstatt where there´s a project that helps young people who avoid school, get an education and profession.

Lunch at Kneitinger which is a traditional Bavarian restaurant and a guided tour through the city of Regensburg. Visit to St. Peter´s Cathedral and a lot of historical information!

 

11.11. Freetime! So we took a bus to Regensburg and did some heavy shopping ( well, some of us…) Lunch together enjoying Bratwurst und Sauerkraut! And because it was 11.11. at 11, there was a big parade starting the Christmas season and remembering those who died during the World War.

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12.11. Early in the morning a bustrip to an old mediaval Schloss Prunn with the students and a visit to Kuchlbauer brewery and a tour in a famous architect Hundertwassens House. In the evening a dinner at Jagerwirt in Aumbach, a traditional Bavarian restaurant.

13.11. In the morning at school a demonstration by socialworker Claudia and team about SOR, school without racism and after that a report about German and Bavarian schoolsystem which is quite different depenging where in Germany you live. Also evaluation and planning the project and checking that everything is on schedule especially for next meeting in Canaria on February. Students worked in three different groups ( games, art, cooking etc.) and in the afternoon we all cathered together to hear which teams won the trophies. Team Finland won but unfortunately there were no Finnish students in that group…

In the evening we all met at Gasthaus Geier where we played Skittles, a local game a bit like bowling. We had so much fun and the evening ended with farewells, hugs and kisses because next day it was time to go back home, except team Finland, who stayed one more day before leaving.

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An interview with our Erasmus+ R.E.S.P.E.C.T. teacher guests

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The second year of our Erasmus+ KA2 project R.E.S.P.E.C.T. has started with a meeting held in Helsingin Uusi yhteiskoulu, Finland in mid-September. Among hard work and the planning of this year’s activities we wanted to ask our international guests a few questions.

Team Gran Canaria Spain, Arabela & Carmen

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What makes you do these international projects?

Our project coordinator, Carmen: “Because I am a masochist! It is a lot of work, but I do it because of the impact these projects have on people on all levels, because of the contacts between colleagues and personal growth. We are a good team!”

What were your first impressions about Helsinki and Finland?

Arabela: “Helsinki reminds me of Berlin, it is modern, peaceful and quiet, people are friendly. And it not as cold as I expected.” ( I must say, even the weather improved with the arrival of our guests.)

Favourite sight? Carmen and Arabela: “Porvoo! We could move here.”

Team Germany, Klaus & Franz

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What would you take from Finland to your country and vice-versa?

Franz and Klaus: “I would take your school system. You don’t divide pupils as early as we do in Germany but teach everybody the same. Everything is modern and efficient here, you can pay everywhere with credit card and everybody speaks English.”

Franz: “I would give you our cheaper prices!”

Team Poland, Ewa & Barbara

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Your first impressions of Finland and Finns?

Ewa and Barbara: “Beautiful airport, music at the airport train station, it is quiet everywhere.” “Finnish people are calm and speak with a quiet voice. The school is modern and well organised, all tools and equipment are good.

Favourite sight? Not able to decide 🙂  (Porvoo?)

Team Iceland, Rima and Victoria

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Rima has spent eight months in Joensuu during her studies, and naturally she loves Finland. “Amazing country, friendly and orderly people.”

Favourite place? Allas sea pool and sauna.

Victoria is a Swede living in Vik, Iceland. Her first impression of Finland was, “This is like Sweden, my home! I miss home.” “I like your school food, it is healthy.”

Team Greece, Emilia and Vassilios

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Emilia and Vassili: ” Finland is a green country, excellent airport, good transportation, roads are wide, great infrastructure and a friendly atmosphere in the school.”

Did you learn any Finnish during your stay?

Emilia: “TULOSTA”

Your favourite place during the visit?

Emilia: “Your school. I like your school.”

Vassili: “We love your country!”

Aaw, we love you too! (Team Finland)

Our trip to Poland

Three students from HUYK made a one-week trip to Birzca, Poland in March. The trip was part of our school’s Erasmus+ project called R.E.S.P.E.C.T. In addition to us there were teachers and pupils from Germany, Iceland, Greece and Spain.

During the visit we experienced all kinds of things from frying sausages around a camp fire to exploring the city of Krakow. We also rehearsed and performed a play together in a school talent show.

By Venla    (translation by E.R.)

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The teachers had decided the pupils would perform a play together. The theme of the play was bullying and its consequences, which was also the theme of our project. At least one pupil from each country took part in the performance, and from Team Finland we had Ly and I.

We only had 30 minutes time to rehearse with the teacher and after that some two hours among ourselves. We had to speak English and work with almost total strangers. On the day of the talent show almost all the actors arrived late so we had no time for a dress rehearsal!

However, the performance was a success for everybody and I was very proud of Ly and myself. Many people in the audience started to cry. Right after the show we went for a hike in the forest.

By Tia   (translation by E.R.)

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As a school trip abroad, we and other students from other countries felt a bit nervous and curious along the way to Poland. But after we left our first footprints on this Birzca land, and were welcomed to the Polish families, everything turned to a very interesting way. I could see that Polish people are maybe friendlier at first sight than Finns when every host came and gave us kisses on both cheeks. Polish are also very sociable and kind. We were treated extremely well and we were offered many Polish delicious traditional dishes. We joined the play, always tried to get to know more about others, we also visited national forest and 4 cities in just 5 days. But every single moment, since we started our journey, we found a feeling, named excited. This journey gave us many memories but also challenges, led us to learn new things, to get new friends and to enjoy our youth.

By Ly

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HUYK visit to Poland 19th–24th of March

Early in the morning on Sunday 19th March our team met at Helsinki–Vantaa airport in order to start a six-day visit to Publiczne Gimnazjum Nr 1 wBircy in the town of Birzca in the southeast of Poland. The team, which was later known as the Finnish team, consisted of three students,  Ly, Tia and Venla, and two teachers, Tuukka and Johanna. After a very early wake up we were ready to start the adventure!

The plane took off 6 a.m. to Münich, Germany, where we had a transit – and a nice organic breakfast. After three hours we had another flight to the Polish town of Rzeszow. The German team took the same flight with us, along with several Orthodox Jew pilgrims on their way to Poland. When the plane landed we had our first glimpse of Poland which was windy yet on the verge of spring. After a few hours’ wait the Icelandic team joined us and we started the last leg of the journey by bus to Birzca.

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In Birzca we were greeted by the Polish families who hosted the international students. Ly and Venla knew already their hosts a little thanks to the communication possibilities of modern technology. When the students left to join the rest of their Polish families the teachers could unpack and get to know the other international teachers. However, we were still two teams short since the Greeks and the Spaniards from Gran Canaria arrived late after midnight.

Monday 20th: activities in Bircza, teachers visiting Przemysl
On Monday morning every visitor had arrived and the day started in Forest Education Center of Bircza. There the students participated in team-building and were interviewed by Rzeszow radio channel. Team Finland was represented by Ly and her words were translated into English by Johanna – after the report figured out which one was the student and which one the teacher.

After a soup lunch most of the students left to practice a play that was written and directed by miss Tamara of the Polish team. The premiere of the play was already the next day so the group had a big task in their hands. While the others were practicing, the rest of the students stayed in the Forest Education Center and learned about Polish forests.

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For the teachers the Polish team had arranged a meeting with local authorities. While having a cup of coffee the teachers were given the chance to ask about the Polish education system and its latest reform. The change in Polish schools has been a big one and it has taken place very fast, which causes a little uncertainty about the teachers’ future.

In the evening the teachers visited Krasiczyn castle and the town of Przemysl. The students enjoyed a free evening with pizza and international friends.

Tuesday 21st: premiere of the play, trekking, barbeque-evening
The morning started with more official activities: all the teachers had a project meeting at the school and students were working with a psychologist on anti-bullying and anti-violence posters.

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Around mid-day it was time to go and see the famous play! The first day of spring is traditionally celebrated by students’ talent show and we were happy to take part in it this way. After only a few hours of rehearsing the Erasmus-students gave a powerful performance against bullying. The whole school was applauding and cheering for them. We also enjoyed a German student playing a trumpet, a student-made fashion show and very retro singing performance by two ex-students of the school.

Then it was already time to keep moving and we headed to Bircza forest for trekking. The forest was quite familiar looking for Finns and the German team who came from Bavaria. However, tall trees and green undergrowth was a new experience for teams from Iceland, Greece and Gran Canaria. At the end of the trekking path there was a famous fountain that is supposed to have healing powers. Unfortunately the water level was so low that we weren’t able to test it for real.

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The evening was spent in another forest area around a camp fire. The whole Erasmus team, the Polish parents and forest authorities spent time together barbequing, playing guitar and singing. After the teachers left for dinner, the students kept on having a good time as the stars were coming out.

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Wednesday 22nd: a trip to Przelmys
A whole day trip to Przelmys began on top of a hill that used to be part of a fortress. During the First World War this fortress, along with several others in the Przelmys area, protected not just the town itself but also the rest of the Europe from invaders from the east. Nowadays there are no buildings left anymore but the hill itself was quite impressive.

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There is also a castle in Przelmys and we visited it, too. The town of Przelmys was built around this Medieval castle and later spread further and further. The two churches that used to fit inside the walls of the castle have been rebuilt in the town and we had the chance to visit also them. After that it was time to visit the Museum for Bells and Tobacco Pipes that, coincidentally, was originally built to be the bell tower of the other church but ended up alone when the place of the church was changed yet again.

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After walking around in Przelmys for a few hours the students were given free time to explore the town and have lunch. The teachers decided to have lunch in a nice restaurant they had found Monday evening. Unfortunately the food was brought to table very slowly so most of the teachers missed the scheduled meeting time with students. While “lunch-group” was still eating, the Polish and Greek teachers took the students to a shopping mall. Eventually the lunch was finished and paid for and the lunch group met with their students and the whole Erasmus team started heading back to Birzca.

On the way we made a small detour to a pompous hotel complex in Arlamow. This four-star hotel had for example a spa, a golf course, a ski center and a sports center with a tennis-court, a climbing wall, an indoors horse-riding arena and a shooting range. Practically everybody thought that the next Erasmus meeting Poland arranges should take place there. All inclusive.

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This was the last day when everybody was still together. In the evening we bid farewell to team Iceland and team Germany who were leaving the next morning.

Thursday 23rd: exploring Krakow
When we woke up 4.30 a.m. we envied the Germans who had rented a car so that they could go to the airport later. All the others escorted team Iceland to Rzeszow airport and then continued to Krakow. On the road we had a second breakfast in McDonalds and were trying to get some sleep – or to have a big party on the bus depending on the nationality.

Four hours’ drive to Krakow ended quite near the Wawel castle where we admired the castle itself and the courtyard and church that were inside its walls.

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The next steps took us around the castle and we encountered a metallic statue of a dragon. While we were busy taking photos we didn’t pay that much attention to the statue, really, and Venla freaked out when it suddenly started to breathe fire. We learned an important lesson there: never turn your back to a dragon even when it’s not alive.

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The next stop was Jagiellonian University after which we visited a lovely market square that actually had a roof on it. Next to the market square there was a tall church called Kosciol Mariacki (St. Mary’s Basilica) we visited briefly. While waiting for the other teams we heard a trumpet playing and when we looked up we saw a man in one of the churches towers. When he had finished his piece of music he waved to people on the square and went to another window in the same tower. Miss Barbara of the Polish team told us that the man plays to all the four winds and this tradition is very old.

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Then we had a couple of hours both in that marketplace and in the shopping center next to the railway station. When all the students had shown up at the meeting point we got on our bus and started the four-hour journey back to Birzca. The last evening was spent packing and going to bed early.

Friday 24th: journey back to Finland
Wake up 4.30 a.m. again and off we went to Rzeszow. The Greeks and Spaniards took an early flight to Warsaw and we were waiting at the airport until it was time to check in. We didn’t need that many tissues since tears were quite few. However, we felt the days in Poland had been great and we really enjoyed our experience there.

Thank you teams Germany, Greece and Gran Canaria and a special thanks to our Polish team – students, teachers and families alike! We hope we’ll be seeing you soon!

On behalf of the Finnish team: Johanna (the text) & Tuukka (the photos)

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. logo contest

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The jury had a difficult task picking up the best six logos for the final poll.

 

It’s not easy to design a logo. You have to simplify your idea to a most efficient form. You have to think about the values and the message behind each line, shape and colour. You also have to be creative and stand out with your idea from the myriad logos out there.

With a group of 8th and 9th graders we took the challenge. Students had a limited time to design the logo for the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. project. First we discussed briefly about the basic idea and the values behind the project and then we started. After one hour of hard work and creativity we had 30 marvellous proposals. Some students even made two.

Our prestigious jury had a difficult task to choose the best ones. Many good proposals had to be left out. The jury gave much value to the idea, clarity and the visual layout and finally picked out six logos for the final poll.

Then we arranged a massive poll for all the students in the upper comprehensive school. We got 103 votes during one break and the competition was even. This time the winner was Emma Määttä (9DK) with 34 votes. Her proposal was visually interesting, the idea clear and skillfully drawn. Thank you for all the designers and voters. You’re great!

-Tuukka

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Winner of the logo contest: Emma Määttä

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. member schools

We had our first project meeting in Vik, Iceland in October where we met teachers from all the schools taking part in the project. We were planning the activies we will be doing next.

Here are the five other schools in the project:

IES Valsequillo in Gran Canaria (a map)

http://www.iesvalsequillo.es/

 

Mittelschule Wörth in Germany (a map)

http://www.schule-woerth.de/

 

Geniko Lykeio Kato Achaias in Greece (a map)

http://blogs.sch.gr/lyk-k-ac/

 

Publiczne Gimnazjum Nr 1 w Birczy in Poland (a map)

http://www.gimnazjumwbirczy.com/

 

Vikurskoli in Iceland (a map)

http://www.vikurskoli.vik.is

 

New Project!!

Our application for a new KA2 project has been accepted! So we will start a two-year project with schools from Spain (the project coordinator), Germany, Iceland, Poland and Greece. The name of the project is R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (Respectful European Schools Pursue Equality & Cultural Tolerance). The aim is to study and compare ways to tackle bullying, absenteeism, early school leaving and all kinds of discrimination at school. We will also try to find ways to help refugees, immigrant students and other students in disadvantaged positions to integrate.

This project will include students and their families, teachers and other school staff. There will be meetings in the participating countries when we get to present the work we have done in all the schools,  but we’ll also work online between the meetings. The first student meeting will be in Poland in March 2017, and the first teachers’ meeting where we’ll plan how to begin the project with our students is held in Iceland in October. There’ll be more news to come, stay tuned!

 

Erasmus+ Teacher Training course in Edinburgh

Course Programme
Introduction to Edinburgh and Scottish culture
Scottish People  ❤   and the Prize Giving Ceremony
Brexit and Scotland

 

 

I chose to attend a two-week teacher training course in Edinburgh, Scotland between 20th June and 1st July 2016. The full name of the course was “Effective Communication and Practical Teaching Skills with an Introduction to Scottish Culture”. The course was given by the language school Inlingua Edinburgh, which is a small school situated in the main street of Edinburgh’s new town. In our teacher training group there were only six English teachers, and the total number of students in the whole school during my stay was only about 20, so it was relaxed and we got to know each other, and all the teachers knew our names by the end of the first day I think! In our course there were two English teachers from Poland (upper secondary school),  one from Spain (nursery school), one from Germany (senior citizen education), one from the Reunion Island / France (secondary school) and I.

Course Programme

We had teacher training lessons every morning from 9.30 to 12.45, and after lunch we had our 90-minute spoken perfomance class, and the afternoons we spent exploring Edinburgh with one of the teachers as our expert guide. So our days lasted full eight hours and sometimes even more, when the afternoon tours took longer than expected :).

We had four Inlingua teachers training us in the mornings, so we were offered a wide range of teaching techniques and resources. We learnt about adaptable teaching, teaching grammar creatively, using Cuisenaire rods in language teaching, teaching speaking, listening and phonology, activating vocabulary, teaching reading and writing, how to teach grammar creatively, the use of games and drama, and the use of web resources in the classroom. On the last day of the course we had to plan a lesson and present it to the group.

We were also taught the Scottish national poet, Robert Burns, and we read his famous poem  “To A Mouse“, which he wrote in Scots, the Scottish dialect of English spoken in Lowland Scotland. We then had to write a poem of our own using the Burns stanza, which was quite fun. We also picked up a few words in Scots, such as:

Aye = yes (in every day use still)

wee = tiny, little (also in everyday use in Scotland)

loch = lake

glen = valley

och = oh!   (and there are many more)

I must say I just loved the Scottish accent! It was always different depending on the speaker, but everybody rolled their Rs, which made them “rhotic speakers”. All our classes were conversational, and we had lots of chances to speak English with native speakers. I did not say a word of Finnish in three weeks :).

Introduction to Edinburgh and Scottish culture

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As I told before, we spent our afternoons visiting various sights in Edinburgh and its surroundings. I think this was something extra compared to other courses, as there was always a teacher with us who could tell us about the places we visited. And all explained in the beautiful Scottish accent ;).We also did quite a bit of walking around the city!

We visited the old and new town of Edinburgh, the Georgian house which is a town house from the late 18th century, the Royal Botanic Gardens (we learned that the thistle 330px-Milk_thistle_flowerhead is the national symbol of Scotland), The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland, the Calton Hill, the Scottish Parliament and Rosslyn Chapel and the Edinburgh Castle. The school also organized a pub night with teachers and we were given some expert advice on Scottish whiskies. We were not able to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse because it is the official residence of  the Queen when she is in Scotland, and she was there to give some garden parties and open the Session of the Scottish Parliament.

All in all, I learned a lot about the history of Scotland, its kings and queens, the Jacobites, the history of the old and the new town of Edinburgh, about the Scottish politics and the Scottish national identity.

 Scottish People  ❤   and the Prize Giving Ceremony

I stayed with a family in Edinburgh, because I wanted to practise English and get a real insight into life in Scotland. The house was a 45-minute walk from the city centre and the school, and I bought a bus pass because the walk in the morning was uphill. The buses were quite slow on the busy cobbled streets, the ride to school took some 20 minutes. I stayed with Carolyn and her daughter Katherine, who were just lovely and made me feel like a member of the family!

I found all the people I met extremely friendly and polite. That is something we Finns could learn from the Scottish people. I did not hear any swear words either. It is considered very rude to swear in Britain, especially to people you don’t know well. I am going to tell my students that there is no need to sound like gangsta rappers in my classes 🙂

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Katherine received four or five awards!

I had a chance to visit Katherine’s school, Drummond Community High School, with her mom and grandmother for a prize giving ceremony. Students received prizes for their achievement at school. The ceremony was for their families. There were a couple of speeches and musical perfomances, so it resembled our end of term festivities, but it was two weeks before the end of term and the beginning of summer holidays. There were prizes in different categories: “General award for effort and commitment” in various subjects,”overall year winners”, “100% attendance and excellent punctuality” but also “strive to succeed award” which was for those who had improved their performance. All the names of the students were printed on a leaflet, a copy of which I got, too. This ceremony made me think that in Finland we do not want to make a great fuss about good achievement at school, perhaps because we fear that it might cause bad feelings among those who do not get any prizes, but maybe the students find these prize giving ceremonies motivating instead?

 

Brexit and Scotland

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During my stay the UK had the referendum whether to leave or remain in the European Union. I stayed up on the 23rd of June until about 3 in the morning and went to bed thinking that the remain side would win, but woke up to Brexit. It was a shock to many people in Scotland, as Scotland and also Northern Ireland had voted for staying in the EU. It remains to be seen if there is  a second vote on independece (indyvote2) after this.

The Scotsman on Brexit

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Last, I did a little bit of travelling on my own and visited the Higlands and the Isle of Skye. I left a piece of my heart there ❤

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by Erja Rantanen