Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Working through projects collaboratively

I have already spoken about the importance of project work for the development of students and the good results teachers can achieve using them. In a previous post I also spoke about the benefits in our students of "project based learning". I also think that a "project" can be done in partnership with another school, the students will get more engaged and if our partner is in a different country, we have to sum up the benefits of learning to collaborate with others plus all the cultural and linguistic benefits that our students will get. And the teachers too.

There are many examples of engaging projects that have been successful with students, families and all the school community. I want to talk about one of them. It is, in my opinion, a very especial project because:
  • It has been going on for about nine school years
  • It is an international program that has not stopped growing
  • I know one of the schools taken part in the project and they have done an incredible job with all the students without exclusion
  • It is a project that integrates literature, ICT, literacy and other subject areas
  • The work is done mostly with kindergarten students and Grade ones, a great foundation to engage the students in future projects
The project is: "Hablamos de Literatura Infantil/Parliamo de Letteratura Infantile" organized by Tremañes School in Gijón, Spain and F. IIi Cervi, in Milan, Italy. The project is an "E-Twinning Project", a European program that supports and encourages schools in Europe to work together in school projects using the ICT. "We speak about children's literature has won numerous awards at a national and European level.

Both schools keep a blog where we can visit their projects that have been different in these nine years working together:

Just to give you an example of the kind of projects they work on, visit the site where both schools work on the Italian song Pasqualino Maraja, an Italian gentleman who falls in love with a lady in India and ends up in the Asian country where he teaches everyone to cook pizza. Based on this short story, students work in a project that ends up with the Spanish students cooking a pizza following the recipe their Italians friends e-mailed them first. The results are phenomenal:

In another project they work on an art project basing their works on famous painters like Dalí, Modigliani etc.

The schools have been working in this European project for 9 years now and have created an incredible amount of activities full of imagination. This school year, their project is still more ambitious, 4 more schools from Sweden, United Kingdom, Portugal and Czech Republic will be working with them, with all the linguistic challenge that this will bring about. I am curious to see the results.