26 November 2007

Backround information about Türi Gymansium

Türi Gymnasium is a school with around 700 students. Work takes place in two buildings: elementary school building (1924) and the gymnasium building (1970). There are 30 sets of classes. The school employs over 50 teachers, each with a pedagogical professional education. For teaching children with special needs there is a speech therapist, student councelling by a psychologist, and, if necessary, remedial teaching.

The long-term traditions of the school help to develop and sustain the atmosphere of the school, starting from the Knowledge Day celebration meeting on September 1st and ending with the seniors planting a tree in spring. There are lectures, amateur contests, quiz shows between classes, competitions, subject days and weeks. Student council, run by a president, makes the school unique. A newspaper office publishes the school paper “Radiaator”. An almanac has been compiled of the works of students “On This And That Side Of The Horizon”. Athletes are among the first in the county and successful in national competitions.


Türi Gymnasium:
  • is one of the oldest school in Estionia.
  • education has been given over 320 years.
  • approximately 700 students study at our school.
  • students work in two buildings: the elementary schoolhouse(1924) and the gymnasium schoolhouse(1970).
  • there is 30 sets of classes.
  • there are over 50 teachers in our school, who all have a pedagogical education.
  • students from classes 7 to 9 study Estonian and Maths in different groups. The groups have been formed according to their knowledge in Estonian or Maths and allow the teachers to work on individual bases.

Subjects taught in our school are: Estonian (mother tongue), English, German, Frensh, Russian, Latin, history, biology, physics, geograpghy, chemistry, mathematics, social studies, psychology, industrial arts, career studies, art, music, physical education and some more vocational subjects.



23 November 2007

Treviso - Veneto - Italy



Informations on our town (Treviso) and our region (Veneto) in some pupils' works on the web: these pages are in English.

22 November 2007

Italian middle school: L. Coletti

‘Scuola Media Statale’ in Italian means ‘public lower secondary school’.

It is attended by students between the ages of 11 and 14.
This kind of school has three grades of classes: the first one (11 years old), the second one (12 years old) and the third one (13 years old).

At the end of the third year, the students have to pass an exam to go to the higher secondary school.
Our school is situated on the outskirts of Treviso. It has two buildings. The main one, with the administrative office, is in a district named S.Liberale, the other one, where I’m teaching , is in the S. Bona quarter, within walking distance.

The social context of these quarters is varied, because they are inhabited by an original group of families with economical and social disadvantages, alongside a more recent settling by middle classes families and nowadays also by a large number of migrants from the Balkan peninsula, Latin America, Africa and China.

The percentage of migrants is now between 10% and 15 %.
All students go to school from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for five days a week (Saturday included) and from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. one day a week. Often our students spend more time at school, in the afternoon, because they choose to do optional activities such as theatre, playing a musical instrument, sport… or, if they are weak in some subjects, they have extra classes.

The subjects taught in our school are: Italian, History, Geography, English, French, Mathematics, Natural Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Ecology…), Technology, Music, Art, Sport, Catholic Religion (or an alternative lesson, depending on the choice of the parents) and Computer Science.

Mathematics and Science are taught by the same teacher for six hours a week.

Coletti school is also a centre of education for adults (mostly non EU).


15 November 2007

SMILE project

1. What are the concrete aims of the Partnership?

  • To promote European cooperation between schools by:
    • comparison among school systems and curricula and exchange of didactic experiences; the differences between partner schools allow us to deal with same themes and issues from different points of view, related to different curricula and pupils’ age.
    • cooperative gathering and making of material (such as models that enable students to visualise mathematical rules, students’ worksheets, ICT tools, exhibits for exploring scientific phenomena, schemes for environmental inquiries…); trialling and evaluating the effectiveness of these materials.
    • involvement of students in the production and exchange of materials and other common activities
  • To experiment and evaluate methods of teaching based on the informal approach as a facilitator for understanding mathematic and scientific rules and concepts and for acquiring inquiry skills.
  • To build learning environments suitable for motivating pupils, especially the less gifted ones and those at risk of social exclusion, in order to overcome their lack of interest toward mathematics and scientic
  • To encourage self-guided an d cooperative learning and peer teaching; in this way we aim to prepare pupils towards lifelong learning
  • To enable pupils to identify the relationships between mathematics, science, other subjects and everyday life by working on interdisciplinary issues.
  • To assess the role of ICT in enhancing the learning process and in fostering the cooperative work.
  • To lead pupils toward a cultural (multi-field) approach of science by promoting a debate about relevant contemporaneous scientific-technological issues, locally and internationally.

2. What impact is the Partnership expected to have on the participants and other interested parties (on the pupils, teachers, institutions, local community, wider educational community)?

Impact on the teachers

  • increased knowledge of successful strategies for the teaching of Mathematics and Science
  • enhanced awarness of the positive outcomes of working in a team
  • more enthusiam in doing their job, thanks to the opportunity to come out of the routine (particularly stimulating will be, from this perspective, the teacher exchanges).
  • widening of their perspective, getting over language barriers and increase of the sense of European belonging
  • improvement of the English knowledge
  • improvement of ICT competencies
  • opportunity to work with a variety of stimulations and to bridge the gap between school and real world
  • development of a scientific thinking and of a critical reasoning; pupils should be prepared to critically evaluate the received information and to make conscious decisions; they should be led to appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they cannot do (new technologies for example often will decrease some risks and increase others)
  • improved ability to work independently, with the minimum of support from the teacher positive effect on the attitudes for mathematics and science
  • enhancement of curiosity, awe, interest to know more
  • enhancement of collaboration between pupils, development of self-control, self-confidence and sense of responsibility
  • perception of the unifying nature of the scientific language, that teaches tolerance by refusing stereotypes and gives the mental tools to critically evaluate facts and information;
  • improvement of the linguistic ability in general and of the English knowledge in particular; doing experiences like team work and peer teaching pupils will discover the real importance of studying foreign languages as a means of communicating ideas
  • acquisition of new communication skills by using ICT

Impact on the school and local community

  • introduction of new ideas that are helpful for school development
  • widening of the activities offered by the school
  • tightening of relationships inside school parties (teachers/students/parents) and between them and the local community (involvement of neighbouring schools in the presentation of experiences and material, contact with local health and environmental agencies for collecting information…)

3. How do you intend to evaluate the progress of the Partnership and its impact on the participating pupils and teachers, the participating institutions and, where relevant, on the local community?

Results and impact will be evaluated in different ways depending on the type of resource developed and on the aims. The participating schools will prepare a workplan with a deadline for each activity and a description on how to evaluate it. The participating teachers will present a progress report on the project at meetings in their schools/departments to inform and involve other teachers.

We intend to evaluate:

  • the pupils’ and teachers’ feelings about the project and its outcomes by carrying out surveys at different times (beginning, end of the first year, end of the second year of the project)
  • the cognitive impact on the pupils’ by observing them when activities are in progress and by testing their knowledge and inquiry skills when the activities are concluded
  • the quality of lesson plans and material produced and its impact on the school by measuring the flexibility and frequency of their use not only in the classes directly involved in the project.
  • the impact on the pupils’ motivation and attitude toward mathematics and science by observing if there are changes in their behaviour during the compulsory lessons; a more long term assessment will be done by registering the number of students who choose to continue their studies in a scientific field.
  • The development of skills for working in groups, of self-confidence, as well as performance in communication by observing how pupils are able to undertake new tasks independently and as a team.

These evaluations will form the basis of discussion at project team meetings. At these meetings the work-plan will be reviewed in order to ensure progress towards the objectives is being made.

4. How do you intend to disseminate and use the results, experience and end products amongst the participating institutions, other institutions and the local community?

  • We will create a website that presents teaching methods, collaborative activities and tools experimented and produced by the participating institutions. Students, parents and other interested parties will be encouraged to use the website to learn about the structure of the project and to adapt the resources for their own specific needs. The common website will be translated into the local languages of the partner schools.
  • CD-roms and videos from the different countries will be shown and discussed with the participating students,
  • an article in an educational magazine for maths and science will be published
  • the local newspapers will publish in the press those activities of public note that are done in the project
  • At a local level some of the schools will make exhibitions (school-based) when they have developed and evaluated sufficient material. This may coincide with events when schools invite parents or pupils from other schools to show how teaching and learning is taking place in a positive environment.
  • The different partners will have links on their school websites as a means of communicating with parents and the wider community.

SMILE abstract

The main goal of our proposal is to overcome the general lack of interest of pupils toward mathematics and scientific subjects.

Our challenge is to explore ways for integrating the informal learning approach, characteristic of out of schools activities and centered on the direct and active pupils’ involvement, with the formal one, more structured and directive, typical of the school. We intend to take advantage of the comparison among different European school systems and experiences to study and to experiment learning approaches based on cooperation, interactivity, creativity, enhancement of different learning styles and rhythms in order to:

- raise pupils’ curiosity about the surrounding natural and technological world

- motivate them, especially the less gifted ones, taking also account of the gender difference

- help them to acquire scientific literacy which will allow the future citizens to critically evaluate the received information in a world deeply influenced by science and technology

- give the necessary tools to prepare them towards lifelong learning

The ICT will play an important role in our project, as a means of developing knowledge and skills and of facilitating communication and cooperation. The collaboration with peers of different countries will make pupils feel the European dimension of their future citizenship and perceive the unifying nature of the scientific language, that refuse stereotypes and teaches tolerance.

10 November 2007

Antarctica 2007

I invite all SMILE group inside Mc Murdo Station and in the Andrill project: a scientific expedition in the past of our planet!

From october to december, I am here to collaborate to this international research. You can find a lot of information on Andrill project in this link:


ANDRILL ( in English)

in Italian in my blog:

SCUOLANTARTIDE


If you want you can enter with a text in English using a Google account. The picture and the movies are interesting, anyway.
All pupils are invitated...

Graziano

(Snow - ice - wind, November 10, 6.30 pm)

08 November 2007

Hello! The project just started! Ready, steady, go ...

The current blog is made for the purpose of keeping track on our project SMILE. Through the blog we will share all our great ideas and the course of the project.

All the best to all of us in having a great time with our project!

The participants of the project are:
Scuola media L. Coletti from Italy
Scuola media L. Stefanini from Italy
Szkola Podstawowa nr 1 im. Kornela Makuszynskiego from Poland
1st Gymnadium of Trikala from Greece
Türi Gümnaasium from Estonia