What we made: The Guidebook

We met several times in all four countries of our project and tried out tools and activities like Kahoot or playing tennis. That was fun – but in all this time, we also worked on a product to show off the experiences we made. That’s the guidebook.

At our last meeting in germany, we collected texts and pictures in a tool named Google Presentations and assembled a book to print. You can have a look a the PDF-Version, when you click on the button beneath.

Our trip to Germany

Day 1 (May 12, 2019) was the arrival of three groups (Estonia, Macedonia and Poland) to Germany. It was the day full of surprises for most of the participants, especially Polish ones but finally everything ended happily. All the participants meet their host families at the train station and approached their temporary houses. On their first evening they mostly spent time with the families. Some of them went sightseeing and shopping while others were at home.

Day 2 (May 13, 2019), the second day of the project started at school in Loxsted. All the participants were greeted by the headmaster of a school and were presented the overview of the week by the German coordinator. After this short meeting, teachers were allowed to look around the school, at the same time students headed to their first workshop where they were working on the guidebook which was supported to be finished in the following days. Students were divided into groups. Each of the group worked on a given task for example, the cover of the book, content, pictures ect. The hard work of students was very hard and the time for the rest has finally come, so the BBQ was organized. Full of energy members of the project came back to their host families and enjoyed their free time.

Day 3 (May 14, 2019), the third day of the trip was very pleasant for students and teachers as well. We started our day in front of the school in Loxsted and went by bus on the beach in Cuxahven. When we got off the bus we saw a beautiful beach and the sea which was going over! The view was amazing! Students have a lot of time to enjoy themselves, play some games like football or volleyball and then eat lunch on the beach. After the beach fun our guided trip through the sea started. The guide told us a lot of interesting facts about flora and fauna in that area. We also had an opportunity to try some weeds. Some of the students could even try an oyster found by themselves! After the long walk through the dry sea all participant were given commemorative photos from that adventure.

Day 4 (May 15, 2019), the fourth day was the day of work for our students. They met at 8.00 at duene 4 and continued their work on the guidebook. After 4 hours of fruitful work time for lunch, delicious soup made by one of the teachers and parents, came. Students were very engaged in working together in international teams. Beside of work it was also the time for socializing. They could spend more time together, share their experiences and points of view. It was also the time for giving an interview for local newspaper and taking a lot of pictures together. At around 2 pm. students went on to do activities with the host families.

Day 5 (May 16, 2019): we started our day at Loxsted train station. The goal for this day was to visit Bremen, having fun at the same time. The tour started in a park with an Actionbound. Students were divided into international teams and their goal was to complete all the given task prepared earlier by the German teacher. The task was much more difficult because they could useu only one smartphone in each of the group. It was even harder, because some of the task required help other people. Luckily each of the group managed to complete the majority of tasks in a short period of time and we could go for the lunch. Students spent this break with their host families. This activity evoked a lot of laugh and happiness in students and they definitely liked it. After the lunch and time for buying souvenirs we gathered at the train station and headed homes

Day 6 (May 17, 2019), the sixth day was the last day spent together. It started in a very active way. In the morning, students took part in different sport activities on the fresh air. They were divided into three teams and each of the team took part in different activity, like playing football, hockey and dancing. Surprisingly dancing connected all the people! We had a lot of fun dancing to widely known songs like Macarena or Wake me up before you Go-Go. Two German students did their best to teach us short choreography and we did it! It was an amazing experience to see around 40 people dancing together on a pitch! After this warm-up we were ready to meet the Mayor of Loxsted and took part in an official lunch. After the Mayor’s official speech, we were served delicious soup and the official sign-off ceremony started. Students were handed their certificates, T-shirts with the Erasmus+ logo and prizes for the Actionbound. It was not the end of surprises, because in the evening students were invited for the party organized by parents. That day could definitely be described as action – packed and exciting.

In front of the townhall of Loxstedt

Our trip to Poland

Erasmus + 3rd meeting in Poland, Warsaw 15-21/10Erasmus + 3rd meeting in Poland, Warsaw 15-21/10

The students arrived in Warsaw on October 14-15. The host families met them at the airport and took them home. On their first evening they mostly spent time with the families. Some of them went sightseeing and shopping while others were at home.
October 16
Students met the teachers at school. The day started with an overview of the week by the Polish coordinator. It was followed by a short lecture on the use of smartphones.After the lecture the students and teachers enjoyed a coffee break.The students were instructed for their following assignment.
Before the actual workshop the students were given a chance to be active and to socialise in a local park.After a nice walk in the sun, the group was guided to the House of Culture. The students’ aim was to create a sign that should help them regulate the use of smartphones at home. They had time to come up with an original design, slogan or visual concept to put on a small placard.The idea was to implement the attitudes of using smartphones in balance with physical activity as is the aim of the project. Having finished the crafts workshop the group had a refreshing walk back to school for lunch. The final official activity for this day was physical activities with the school’s P.E. teacher. In the evening many families co-operated and took the children out to swim, go-kart etc.
October 17

We started our day in front of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw. The group was divided in half. Both groups had a tour guide and were shown around the centre. The students were driven to various locations by a vintage bus from the seventies. The guide gave the students some interesting facts about the different parts of Warsaw.  The tour ended on the other bank of the river at the Neon Museum. There the students were divided into groups of five. The groups were international. The students learned about the history of Neon signs in Warsaw. After that the students went on to do activities with the host families.
October 18

The students started their day with a walk around Old Town Warsaw and the journey took us to an exquisite culinary workshop. The students were divided into international groups by random draw. They started the cooking competition in groups of 10. This time it was clearly visible that all of the students interacted in English and felt rather comfortable doing it. Since thèy were preparing Polish dishes which were foreign to them, thèy had to make themselves very clear. We ended up with four delicious dishes. The students were tired but happy. They ate all the food that they had prepared. After the workshop they walked to  the Planetarium and saw a film about black holes. It was a fascinating experience because the children could feel as if they were in space. This day was the longest and the most tiresome for the students. The evening was spent with their hosts.
October 19
Schoolday #2.We started our day with meeting the headmistress and the head of education in the municipality. The Polish students had prepared a few songs with their choir. The whole group also sang the Erasmus+ song Together. Then the Polish teacher gave a lecture and started a discussion on the topic of smartphones in school. The idea was not to forbid the use of smartphones but to regulate it effectively. Having sung and being entertained we continued with a coffee break and the students went on a school tour which was guided by some of the Polish students. The focus of the day was on the workshop. The students were divided into teams by nationalities. They were given so called phone homes. Small houses made of wood. The aim was to decorate the houses so they could bring them home and start using them in classrooms as a way to regulate smartphone use by leaving the phones in a designated area before the lesson.

The school served the students a satisfying lunch and the day ended with some physical activities at the tennis court. The whole day was also being professionally filmed so that the project would have evidence of the actual work. Each country was also given a chance to say something about the project. This way it is possible to promote the proječt and its aims. The students had evening activities with their host families.
October 20
The students’ first activity was the trampoline centre. They had a chance to be active together with their group before going home. After that was the official sign-off ceremony. During lunch the students were handed their certificates and thus the exchange project week ended. Now it was time to pack up and begin the journey back home. The students’ hosts brought them to the airport/ train station and said their emotional yet happy goodbyes.
Conclusion
Overall the week was packed with physical activities and the students found ways to use their smartphones effectively during these activities. The participants could communicate in real life and also via Messenger etc. The third meeting of the project was successful. The students were already familiar and felt more comfortable with each other. This made it easier for them to actually work together in random groups and share their experiences.

Trip to Tartu, Estonia

Hea Päev Tartu

written by Maria Nighbert

Our second meeting of our “Find your Balance” Erasmus+ Program took us to Tartu, Estonia. All four nations met on Wednesday 11 April 2018 in Tartu, where we were all welcomed by the lovely Estonian teachers and the students’ host families. Since the traveling day is always exhausting, everyone went to sleep early to be ready for the next days. On Thursday we all met in school and the day started with a wonderful welcome ceremony where the Estonian students showed us traditional dances and sang traditional songs. It was an amazing show they had prepared for us. After the ceremony we were divided into our national groups and one Estonian student showed us the whole school, which was really interesting, because everyone got to see the similarities and differences compared to their hometown school. The students did a wonderful job leading us through their school. In the afternoon the students had the chance to carve butter knives or make soap, while the Estonian hosts prepared a lovely buffet for us, which had a variety of traditional Estonian food on it. The students who prepared the buffet did an outstanding job and gave their guests a nice impression of what a traditional Estonian meal looks like.

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Getting to know each other in Skopje

Getting to know each other in Skopje

Written by Maria Nighbert

Our first “Find-your-balance”- Meeting took place in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. The students and teachers from Germany arrived first at the airport in Skopje, where they were picked up by the teachers Frosina and Maja and the lovely host-families, who were waiting with signs for their guests. It was the middle of the night (Saturday to Sunday) when the German students and teachers arrived, so everyone was happy when they got to go to bed and sleep in the next morning. All German students had the advantage of having a nice relaxing Sunday in Skopje. The host-families went with their student on trips and introduced them to traditional Macedonian food. The students and teachers from Estonia and Poland arrived a little after midnight on Monday. Their host-families waited for them at the airport as well and gave them a warm welcome. After traveling for so long the students and teachers from Poland and Estonia were happy to fall into their beds.

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Tartu Veeriku Kool

The 17th Primary School of Tartu was founded on September 1 in 1987 as a bilingual school where 528 students started studying, 93 of them had Russian as their first language. In the beginning, there were 29 teachers. The first headmaster of the school was Valentina Ritsing and her substitute was Reet Pärn.

Since 2004 the school has been run by headmistress Ruth Ahven and the director of studies Carmen Luts. The reorganization of Tartu’s school web has caused the number of students to increase: 2013 – 424 students, 2016 – 619 students, 2017 – almost 700. This has also increased the number of teachers. A lot of new classrooms that have been renovated to support modern studying have been taken into use.

Tartu Veeriku School won a national ICT use competition. The school incorporates digital devices into everyday work and it has become a standard for the students. On the other hand the school is linked to a project which aims to get the pupils moving during lessons and the breaks.

Our teachers linked to Find Your Balance:

  • Astrid Salumets – project coordinator in Estonia. A teacher at Tartu Veeriku School since 1987. Subject: English. Forms 4-9
  • Aili Kadaste – teacher at Veeriku School. Subject: English. Teaches in forms 4-9.
  • Liis Leilop – a teacher at Veeriku School since 2015. Subject: English. Teaches in forms 3-9.
  • Reet Tallo – a teacher at Tartu Veeriku School since 2002 Subject: handicraft, art. Teaches in forms 4-9
  • Priit Pensa – teacher at Veeriku School. Subject: geography.
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