Category Archives: Comenius

Comenius – A Reflection on Norway

Last week 3 year nine pupils represented Y Pant at the Comenius Conference in Norway.  They joined 5 other European countries in the last meeting of the project, My 21st Century.  Here Riya Kale (RK) and Megan Rees (MR) discuss their visit.

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Why were you selected to go to Norway?

MR: We won a competition and the prize was to go to Norway.  We visited a town called Sandnes.

RK: Our entries were presentations about Architecture and Society.  We used the brief (a Winston Churchill quote) and interpreted it in our own way.  Therefore we focused on our family backgrounds and compared and looked at the differences to our lives in Wales especially as we are from India, Nepal and Ireland.

Can you explain the project?

RK: The project is called My 21st Century.  We presented our PowerPoint on Architecture and Society as well as our stop-motion film and our line poster about how we interpret buildings in the future.  It’s a fun, confidence building experience where you can make a bunch of new friends of all different cultures.

MR: It’s a chance to build friendships with lots of different people whilst being part of a fun and interesting project.  The other schools in the project presented work about how houses will be adapted in the future to be more eco-friendly, about how town planning will evolve and the Dutch school made videos representing how they will live in 50 years’ time.

Where did you stay?

MR: We stayed with a Norwegian host family.  Their house was different to the houses here in Wales.  It was wooden and had 3 floors.

RK: The architecture was different.  It was rare to see a brick building.  All houses were made from wood.  My host’s house was very modern.

What did you do in Norway?

RK: Apart from representing Y Pant and presenting our work, we had a range of different activities: we went sight-seeing; we went to the beach; we participated in teambuilding activities such as Irish and Catalan dancing; we went bowling; we went hiking (even though the view of the town was blocked by fog!); we visited fun interactive museums.

What was the highlight of the trip?

MR: For me it was meeting new and different people.  I also enjoyed going to the beach.

RK: Making new friends and going on the hike because I really got to know people.

What did you learn?

MR: You can have a lot in common with someone who is from a completely different background.

RK: There’s no point in being shy!  Just talk to people because you only have a limited time.

Do you have any tips for future Comenius/Erasmus + travellers?

RK: Pack suitable clothing according to activities.

MR: Relax and be yourself.  Take a plug adaptor!

Would you participate in Comenius again?

RK: Yes!  I would do Comenius again, to make new friends in a different experience and also to have the chance to meet our new found friends again.

MR: Yes, to have the chance to learn even more about other cultures.

Comenius Sneak Preview

Comenius Sneak Preview

Year 9 pupils have been working hard making a stop-motion video ready for the next Comenius Conference in Norway.  Based on Winston Churchill’s famous quote “First we shape our buildings, then our buildings shape us”,  our pupils created miniature plasticine models of themselves before merging them into buildings.  The merging process did cause a bit of an uproar…  All miniature models were squished together in order to continue with the sequencing of the stop-motion video!  Some miniatures did have to be prised out of some very over-protective pupils!  Keep your eyes peeled for the finished video.
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Year 11 pupils admired by the Dutch for their style!

Back in September, Jessica  and Maria  (both in Year 11) represented Y Pant on the Comenius Conference in Holland.
Whilst visiting Rotterdam, Jess and Maria were approached by a famous Dutch magazine because of their cool style!  They were asked about where they liked to shop and who their style influences were.  Their pictures were published in the Dutch magazine recently and all their Dutch friends are now very jealous!

Students take part in the Comenius Conference in Germany

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.

Comenius Conference in Holland

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.

 

 

 

 

Comenius Visit to Wales

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.

Comenius Coin

Wales

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.

The Netherlands

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!

Ireland

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.

Norway

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.

Spain

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.

Germany

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.

Groeten uit Nederland (Greetings from the Netherlands)

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.

breendonk
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.

breendonk
Chris, our energetic guide with a Nazi propaganda photo of the camp guards

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.

breendonk
The cold, damp tunnels of Breendonk

Y Pant Comenius Visit to the Netherlands

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.