Nice to meet you all!

The first meeting of students took place in Gdansk from 9th to 13th of December 2019. We started from ice breaking activities as to get off to a good start and get familiar with each other. Students had to mix up in different groups regardless of their nationality to carry out different kinds of tasks proposed by the hosting teachers. They had to resolve some puzzles and riddles related to the project in within the framework of an “Escape Room” game, which they found really fun and useful to foster teamwork and exchange their first moments with their counterparts. As the final tasks they had to use their own bodies to form the acronym of the title of the project.

After that, students had to perform a singing of Christmas carols that had been previously practiced in every country before the visit to Poland in front of the vice president of the city, who had the courtesy to come to the school to meet us.

After that all the students were split into groups. Some of them did the zumba dance and played team sports, others made Christmas decorations, wooden boards with some peaceful messages on them. To sum the first day up we played Kahoot checking our knowledge of European history and geography.

Next day students took part in the sketchnotes workshop, delivered by Vitia Bartosova – Hoffman and they learned hot to illustrate their ideas, emotions and make clear visual notes.

After that students attended the workshop about time managing while others participated in the discussion about ideal school, what they should be like and what can be done to improve them and make them less stressful places. Trying to sum up what they learned the students designed their own dream classrooms and ‚manage time wisely’ reminders. We finished the day with ice skating. For some it was the first time they had ever skated. And they did it well!

The next day was the day out. We took our guests to Centre Experyment in Gdynia to let them see the most high tech science centre in the north of Poland. This modern building with an area of 3,500 sq. m houses four permanent exhibitions: Hydroworld (hydrology), The Tree of Life (nature), Operation: Human (physiology and medicine) and Invisible Forces (physics). The exhibitions feature over 150 advanced, interactive items which invite experimenting and learning about scientific curiosities. After the visit we went to Gdansk to visit Amber Museum and stroll down the streets of the Old Town.

On Thursday we dealt with stress, its origins, causes, symptoms and ways of coping with it. After the workshops students made sketchnotes illustrating the the stress and its chronic consequences as well as ways of preventing or managing it.

When this workshop ended, they attended to a class focused on how to preserve the proper body posture, especially when using their mobile phones of carrying their school bags to avoid pain and damage.  To remember how to maintain the proper posture they designed their own handouts with the photos of does and doesn’ts. In order to find out the most suitable learning style and the kind of dominating intelligence they participated in the multiply intelligence workshop.

At the end of the day, the hosts organized a farewell party at school, in which the students were able to share their last moments together having fun, exchanging impressions and listening and dancing with music from the four countries.

As final activity, students had to record a podcast about all the issues they had been working on during all the week. The topics to be put across were the negative effects of the stress, anti-stress activities, how to learn effectively, the ideal classroom and how to manage their time. They were divided in groups, they revised the topics, wrote the script and recorded the opening for the podcast and its content. All these was conducted and revised by the teachers all the time, to ensure that the topics were fully covered and that this product of the project met the expectations.

At the end of the day, there was a final meeting in the Erasmus+ hall with all the students to share opinions and asses the experience and their contribution to the objectives of the project. To finish they were awarded with a certificate for their participation in this mobility.

All about me!

The aim of this locally organized activity, taking place in the time preceding the mobility in Poland, was having our students present their favourite ways of letting the steam off, the leisure activities they enjoy most and find the most relaxing. Since they were given a choice of the tool they were going to use to present themselves, they made posters, presentations or collages. The best works were also uploaded on the project TwinSpace.

We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.

Jimmy Carter.

Anti-stress activities

As we were told, stress is everywhere. It lurks in the wings sometimes attacks suddenly, but it also motivates us to harder work, pushes us to reach our goals and sometimes helps us accomplish our tasks efficiently. It is always the matter of the appropriate attitude, ability to manage the pressure and relieve stress when it is necessary. We all need some stress-relieving activities. To make the podcast, students researched for the following information:

  • Ways to relieve stress and anxiety
  • Short term stress-relief strategies which can be done anywhere
  • Long term stress-relief strategies for lasting health
  • Positive thinking strategies
ASAPodcast Anti-stress activities

Let’s Make School a More Friendly Place

On the whole our schools are not user-friendly places. Regardless of the location, across Europe, we tend to perceive them as hostile and oppressive buildings and places. In order to define what their weakest points are and what demends improvement, students took part in a debate. They listed the shortcomings first:

  • too crammed classrooms, too much furniture and not enough space to walk and move
  • tables and chairs in poor condition, not comfortable enough
  • too much teachers’ rubbish!
  • decorations are boring and hardly ever updated
  • poor lightning
  • narration as the main teaching strategy
  • not working clocks
  • too much copying
  • only one message board in the school
  • teacher’s-centred lessons prevail over student’s-centred classes

What are the students’ expectations:

  • less crowded classes
  • more spacious classrooms
  • decorations changed frequently, displaying students’ works and projects
  • designing one classroom for projects and team work
  • special area for silent relax
  • more comfortable desks and chairs
  • doing things and performing rather than copying and listening
  • some additional information boards, classrooms are better labelled
  • tablets used on a daily basis
  • more games, performances, events which would truly engage the students
  • appreciating their initiativeness

During the mobility the students attended the lecture delivered by Adam Parzyński, the headteacher of Primary School no 27 in Gdansk, the school leading in the city in terms of initiativeness and resourcefulness. He presented us some of the ideas of using the space wisely and effectively, relying on students’ skills and their creativity. Afterwards students made their own projects of ideal classrooms and they recorded the podcast on making a school more favourable place. They researched for the information in the following areas:

  • How to organize space well
  • How to make school effective for learning
  • How to improve school as a less stressful place
  • How to involve children and parents more

ASAPodcast Let’s make school a friendlier place

Learn more effectively

How to use the time spent in school more effectively? How to learn how to learn? During the mobility students could learn about new ways of taking notes and presenting them in a clear way and they were also exposed to different forms of teaching and testing such as games. Gamification is defined as a set of activities and processes to solve problems by using or applying the characteristics of game elements. Quizzes and escape rooms increase user emotional engagement, they provide fun, cooperation and rivalry at the same time. Generally it has a positive effect on individuals and for building the team. Another thing which contributes to an academic success is knowing one’s good points, abilities and recognizing one’s own learninng style. To find out what their dominant style is, students solved the simplified test of multiply intelligence and they discovered what their best way for studying is. The test is available here:

Before recording the podcast the students searched for the information in the following areas:

  • what good learning habits are
  • what different learning styles are
  • how to study smarter not harder
  • how to minimalize stress while studying
ASAPodcast How to learn effectively

Keep the proper posture!

Do you want to feel better instantly? Do you want to feel healthier? Think better about yourself? Keep upright. What are the benefits of maintaining a good posture?

  • it contributes to a good appearance
  • it decreases the weight of some joint surfaces
  • it diminishes the stress on the ligaments holding the joints
  • it prevents the muscular pains and fatigue
  • it allows you to breathe more deeply, which gives you more oxygen
  • a good posture can make you look thinner. Poor posture can create the appearance of a pot belly.

To sum up the lecture delivered by Eliza Niedzielska, a specialist in therapeutic reabilitation, students prepared handouts reminding about maintaining the proper posture.

Negative effects of stress

In order to find more about the negative consequences of long-term stress we invited Łukasz Warchoł, a psychologist and a psychoterapist, who delivered us the lecture about:

  • the most common causes of stress, which include overworking, low self-esteem, too high expectations, too much responsibility, feeling insecure, lack of support from family and friends and fear and uncertainty
  • the symptoms of stress, such as chronic headaches, losing or putting on weight, low energy, insomnia, aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • the long lasting effects of stress, that is mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders, obesity and other eating disorders
  • preventing stress-related health problems, thinking positively, relieving stress, finding one’s own personal ways for managing stress which is everywhere and, to the point, may be motivating and pushing us forward.

Students enjoyed the lecture and eagerly took part in it, answering the questions and asking them themselves. After the lecture they made sketchnotes about teenage stress and recorded the podcast presenting all the information they learned and found.

ASAPodcast Negative Effects of Stress

How to manage your time wisely?

To learn efficiently we have to know how to manage our time. To sum up the workshop led by Małgorzata Solowska, the headteacher of Liceum no9 in Gdansk, the students made handouts reminding us how to manage our time wisely, that is:

  • setting a time limit to each task
  • using a to- do- list, but not skipping tasks
  • using applications to plan your tasks and ticking off the already-performed-ones
  • avoiding time-wasters
  • delegating tasks, sharing work if it is possible
  • while working in a team appointing a person responsible for time-checking
  • replacing your bad habits with good daily keystone habits, such as exercising, learning languages or developing daily routines
  • starting your work from the most difficult tasks

ASAPodcast: How to Manage Your Time

Visual thinking

The main source of stress seems to be school. Traditional ways of teaching, crammed sessions of learning just before an important test, not creative enough opportunities for practice and growth are likely to build stressful situations rather than eliminate them. Visual thinking is the way to rehearse or introduce the information with the use of drawings, visual notes, mind maps. This might involve taking visual notes, or drawing a mind map. By learning in more than one way, you’re further cementing the knowledge in your mind. Vitia Bartosova Hoffman, a former basket player, now a teacher and a specialist in sketchnoting agreed to lead the workshop in sketchnoting and provided specialist knowledge at the highest level. Students were taught how to illustrate ideas, organize their thougths, did a short course in lettering, learned a new way of studying, and, finally, were able to present stress, its causes, symptoms and ways of relieving it with the use of visual notes.

Stress relievers

Since sport and creating artwork are considered to be one of the most effective stress relievers all the exchange students took part in craft and phisical activities. They started from brainstorming for the words and phrases related to calmness, peacefulness and quietness in their own languages. Then, they made Christmas decoration boards with the words and Christmas symbols. Creating art takes our mind off the most stressing things we have to tackle on the daily basis and it lets the steam off. Others relieved their emotional pressure in zumba dance. It is a form of cardiovascular exercise involving various active movements that help in improving mood and the energy level of a dancer through the secretion of hormones that induce stress relief. As the effects of zumba on supressing the stress causing hormones are commonly known, the zumba practice is held regularly during breaks in our school.