Comenius Sneak Preview
Last week 4 year 9 students travelled to Barcelona as part of the Comenius project.
Last week, Harry Bradford, Alex Davies and Mollie McFarlane attended the fourth Comenius Conference in Germany. They stayed with pupils from the Willigis Gymnasium, Mainz.
During the visit our pupils presented themselves, our school, our country and our multi-cultural mask project. They also worked on several activities linked to the theme of a multi-cultural society: an art project entitled “Doors into Europe”, a caricatures competition and a group discussion based on how societies and languages are changing due to foreign influences including immigration, culture, social media etc. All pupils involved reflected well upon these questions and came up with unique and interesting responses, especially for this question – “The USA has been described as a melting pot where cultures have melted together and formed a new culture, the American one. Others have described the USA as a salad bowl, where you can clearly see the different cultures which together make up the American society. Which of these two terms, melting pot or salad bowl, will be the best to describe the future European society?” Answer – “it depends on the chef!”
During the visit, our pupils were extremely lucky to attend the Mainz Carnival, also known as Mainzer Fastnacht, one of the largest carnival events in Germany. The crowd gathered in Schillerplatz and observed the celebrations, parade and fancy dress! Pupils also had the opportunity to visit Frankfurt and the Museum of Communication.
Our pupils had a fantastic time in Mainz and gained a wonderful life experience.
Four Y Pant pupils attended the third Comenius Conference in Holland, with the focus of the conference on using technology in the 21st century. Our pupils stayed with host families and attended the local school, Rijks Regionale Scholengemeenschap in Bergen op Zoom. They adapted well to life in Holland by cycling to and from school and all were amazed by the Dutch school; the facilities, the lack of school uniform, the cleanliness (lots of bins and hardly any litter!), the technology available (free WIFI!) and how well behaved all Dutch pupils were.
During the visit all pupils presented themselves and their schools, participated in a “Time Machine” activity where they compared the 1950s to the present day and the not so distant 2050s, they learned about the history of social media, they went mountain biking, designed logos for the project and visited Antwerp and Rotterdam. Our Welsh pupils were extremely impressed by Holland and have all made friends for life.
The week before half term Y Pant successfully hosted 21 exchange pupils for its Comenius Project. This was the second conference held for the project and students arrived from various European countries; Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.
The conference lasted three days and during this time all schools presented the work that they had worked on in their own countries, linked to using social media, education and being an entrepreneur. Y Pant pupils researched famous British entrepreneurs, created a video about educational apps and presented the results of an online survey. In groups, students made coins in the art department (inspired from our proximity to the Royal Mint and the online currency Bitcoin) and within mixed nationality groups, students took part in a “Dragons’ Den” styled activity in which they had to create and develop an educational app before pitching it to Mr Powell! (The winning app was called MyMusik and it helped people learn how to sing!) On the last day of the conference the students went on a cultural trip to Cardiff Castle.
Y Pant thoroughly enjoyed hosting our European Guests and we are working hard ready for the third conference in the Netherlands.
The coin commemorates the Comenius visit here at Y Pant.
The statue at the centre of the village of Llantrisant is in the centre of the coin.
Llantrisant is the location of the Royal Mint, the site where all coins here in the UK are made.
Our coin is representing the typical Dutch things like the windmill and the typical old Dutch shoes. And, of course the flag of our country!
We discussed ideas for the coin. We decided that a dragon would be a good representation of Wales. We also wanted to have an object that symbolised our country so we drew a Shamrock as well. We then decided to draw a daffodil to represent Wales.
We made this coin, and it represents our project. We have ‘The Gecko, ‘The Love Maze’, models we have made back in Norway in our Art class, and the Sandnes symbol – The Gauk. We wanted it to stand out and therefore used a lot of colours.
Our coin represents the union between all the countries that have taken part in this project and the collaboration is represented as a tree. We were thinking we wanted to represent the union of our countries.
Our coin represents our good experiences we have made here in Wales. Wales is symbolised by the Red Dragon and the pint of beer stands for Germany. The Dragon wraps around the glass symbolising us coming together. The background looks like the flag of Wales.
Y Pant has a long history of taking part in Comenius projects. (More recent projects are showcased here). In particular we have worked with RSG ‘t Rijks, a school in the Netherlands for many of these projects. Miss Purcell and I are currently in the Netherlands looking at a new idea for an exciting project that will probably start in September 2012.
We are meeting with teachers from schools here in the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Ireland, and Estonia, plus there is also a school in Croatia interested. The purpose of this visit is to finalise details of the project before the application deadline in February. We won’t hear from the British Council if we have the funding until July.
After a full day’s work at Y Pant (such is our dedication), Miss Purcell and I hopped on a plane from Cardiff to Amsterdam’s Schipol airport then took the train to Bergen op Zoom in the south of the country, finally arriving at about 11pm.
We started today with a meeting in school to discuss the project, then went on a cultural excursion. The other schools have been here for a few more days as part of another Comenius project and have students with them. We haven’t brought any Y Pant students this time as we haven’t yet started the project!
This excursion took us to Belgium (no passports needed) and a sobering visit to Fort Breendonk.
I think we’re all familiar with names such as Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi WWII concentration camp in Poland recently visited by Mrs Burnell and her trip. We were surprised to learn that the Nazi’s also had smaller concentration camps, used as holding camps and torture centres, in Belgium. Our guide for the 2 hour tour was the multi-lingual Chris. He explained European history and the day to day life in the camp to us in a way that brought it horribly to life. When he shouted orders to us in German, in a confined, damp, cold tunnel; I felt genuinely scared but it was surely nothing compared to the terror experienced by the hundreds of Jewish men and resistance fighters that were brought there.
He told us things that will stay with me forever and when we get back to school Miss Purcell and I will share some of this with you. It’s too important not to.
This trip reinforced in me, the importance of projects like Comenius in bringing people from different European nations together. The importance of getting to know each other and being interested in the differences between us but more importantly, celebrating our common humanity.
From 18th to 20th May, Jordan Sheehy, Natasha Vincent and myself visited a school in Bergen-op-Zoom in the Netherlands. Whilst there we went to the Deltaworks at Neeltje Jans, and saw the huge storms surge barriers. The following day we had a boat trip around the Port of Rotterdam, serving 350 million consumers in Europe and a trip up the 185m tall Euromast.
Natasha and Jordan stayed with families in the town whilst all the teachers stayed in a hotel and exchanged pedagogy ideas.
Here are some of our photos.
Learn Smart trip to St. Fagans, Tuesday 15th of February
by Mrs. Sara Nowell-Hughes
St Fagans is one of Europe’s leading open–air museums and Wales’s most popular heritage attraction. It seemed a perfect choice of location to carry out the Learn Smart year 8 trip. The aim of the trip was to visit particular buildings around St. Fagans which linked with the theme of ‘A Sense of Place’. In small groups pupils tried to find out information which would help them to learn more about the local Welsh history. Each pupil had a specific role within the group and then needed to present their findings in the next Learn Smart lesson. The roles were: Team Leader, Team participant, Scribe, Photographer, and Artist.
One group per class was also responsible in making a film based on the ‘You Shoot’ project. They followed their planned story board and were able to use the PE Departments Flip cameras to film the footage. Their work will be edited after the ½ term and will be submitted for the Comenius ‘community’ project.
After a frantic start to the trip (making sure that nearly all 200 students were on the 4 coaches) we arrived at St. Fagans in the rain! The Learn Smart groups were then able to go off to their starting points to begin their activities. We managed to visit all the relevant areas such as the stores, Workmens Hall, the School etc.
Apparently the highlight of the trip was the sweet and bread shops! It was not an unusual sight to see a Y Pant student walking around with a loaf of bread under their arm, munching away at it in the rain!
This is what two pupils thought about the visit;
On the 15th of February we went to St.Fagans as part of the “you shoot” project. It was a very valuable educational experience for the whole of year 8. We all had different tasks to do on the trip. Eventually we got to the old shops and got very hungry and decided to buy a loaf of crusty, homemade, hot bread. Some people didn’t do that and bought sweets and fudge. And before we knew it we had to go home. =( by Bryce and Dylan.