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:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1T5D8NaC7kLEZe2B6dbDMZOa9fk8jQ8xY/view?usp=sharing

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.

Ice breaking activities

We started our first meeting from ice breaking activities which involved checking how well students know the human body, its systems, nutrients, and vitamins it is made of. Escape room games do never bore people — puzzle ideas have no limitations in terms of creativity and entertainment. Not only did they break the first language barriers between them, but also were able to develop cooperation and creativity skills as the objects and clues were hidden and discovering them demanded some team work. Some Christmas decorations were also used as hints to feel the atmosphere of the holidays appraoching.

The Human Body Race instructions: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1xtQhPxZ6tDaDnFHJvVMKi03Ddhjh3OUY?usp=sharing

Welcome to Gdańsk!

As the coordinator of the project Szkoła Podstawowa no35 z Oddziałami Sportowymi organized the first meeting of the teachers from the partner schools.

Not only ice, but all the barriers breaking.

The teachers took part in two activities, one of them was ‚Odyssey of Mind’ workshop, performed by two licensed coaches. The workshop consisted of numerous mind teasing and creativity wakening activities which demanded collaborative work. The tasks involved logical thinking, drama activities, solving verbal spontanous problems and hands-on puzzles. It was a good chance to know each other better and collect some good ideas for introducing some creativity and out of the box thinking to our regular school activities.

The next activity, to which we invited our fellow teachers from other primary and secondary schools, was CLIL workshop, performed by Hanna Kryszewska, trainer at DOCED at University of Oxford, University of Gdansk and the editor of Humanising Language Teaching website magazine. We were presented an educational approach based on the integrated learning of foreign language and content. Acquiring foreign language through subject-related contents is supposed to encourage learning, what is one of the objectives of our European project.