Danaila Dimova about Polish Mobility -  after visit impressions


Time For Coding (Wapnica- 05.02.2023-11.02.2023) /An Erasmus Project report  

  1. School visit, impressions of the classroom, building students, discipline, communication.

 My overall impressions from our polish mobility are positive and satisfactory. Everything was very well organized. We were warm and friendly welcomed. All the students and teachers were gathered in the school hall, full of anticipation. We were introduced to the students and our colleagues from Turkey and Poland. Then we were shown around the school and had an opportunity to see all the classrooms, to get acquainted with teaching practices and visual educational materials. The whole school was fully decorated: stars, planets, rockets were all around us. Communication between us was open, smooth, and effortless. The hosts were very kind and managed to make us feel relaxed and comfortable. The students were warmhearted (they hug us all the time), well-mannered and disciplined. The way I perceived this school was as a community-a group of students, teachers, administrators that worked collaboratively towards the common goal- to create a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters personal growth and learning. 

  1. Places to visit - short description and how meaningful and memorable they were to me.

 The sightseeing program was rich, diverse, and well-planned throughout the week. 

  • We started the second day of our polish adventure with a presentation about geography, climate, nature, and wildlife in the region performed by Tomasz Olechwir in Uniwerystet Szczeciński Stacja Morska.

  • After that we visited the lighthouse of Swinojscie.
  • At a height of 212 feet, it is the fifteenth tallest "traditional lighthouse" in the world, as well as the tallest brick lighthouse, and the tallest one in Poland. It is located on the east bank of the river Świna.
  • After the challenge of climbing up 212 steps, a 360-degree panoramic view opens in front of us. We can spot 4 forts, the yacht port, ship service base and the LNG terminal.

  • Then we crossed the river Swina by ferry and found ourselves - guess where- in Swinoujscie againJ
  • It’s not strange because the town is located on both banks of the river Świna, and since there is no road connection across it, transport is provided by regular free ferries. Swinoujscie spreads on 44 islands but only three of them are inhabited: Usedom, Wolin, Karsibór. Once the town was part of polish kingdom, then in a row it was under Danish, Swedish and German rule. In 1945 after Germany's defeat in the 2nd World War, Świnoujście again became part of Poland.
  • A great attraction for us as well was the Museum of Sea Fishery in Swinoujscie.
  • The museum tells the fishing history of the town and provides an exhibition describing the development of the local sea trade throughout the centuries. Some navigational devices and a diverse collection of sea fauna are displayed there, too.
  • On Wednesday afternoon, the 3rd day of our polish mobility, our host had organized a visit to the Natural History Museum of Wolin National Park in Miedzyzdroje.
  • It was a small but nice museum displaying the huge variety of flora and fauna of Wolin National Park.
  • After the museum there was an organized visit to the Planetarium in Miedzyzdroje, where we watched a movie about galaxies, space bodies and the creation of the planet Earth.
  • However, the most impressive and exciting place we visited was the “Centrum Współpracy Międzynarodowej Grodno”, situated in the Wolin National Park where we enjoyed the beautiful Baltic Sea as well.
  • The center was a magnificent glass building where cultural and science events took place. Free ecological and nature classes for the students from Prof. Władysław Szafer’s Primary School were provided there, too.
  • The atmosphere in it was peaceful and calm. The big windows created the impression that nature was inside, and people were surrounded by forest on one side and the sea on the other. There, we were captivated by the slovic songs performed by Osada Piesni Grodno.

 With other words the program was carefully designed to offer a varied and educational experience through a diverse range of cultural and historical activities. 

  1. Workshops and Observation classes I attended - short description 

 On the third day of our polish mobility, we have an opportunity to observe and take part in a STEM lesson about electricity. The lesson was conducted by a teacher from Szczecin in front of the students from the second grade. 

  • The lecturer started with a little theory included in a presentation about what electricity is and how it can be created.
  • Then from the theory she switched to a practical, hands-on approach to STEM teaching and learning.
  • Divided into teams of four (collaborative learning), the children should solve a problem:” How to create a simple electric circuit, using a battery, wire, and LED light.” When students managed to complete the circuit, the LED light turned on.
  • Then they had another question to answer: “Which of the objects on the table can allow electricity to flow through them?”
  • For this experiment the students had available iPads connected with Makey Makey (an electronic invention kit that allows users, in combination with a computer and proper application, to turn everyday objects into touchpads and to create with them interactive projects).
  • The students found out that some of the objects like vegetables and foil conducted electricity while others like paper and plastic spoons didn’t. The teacher respectively named them: conductors and isolators.
  • In this experiment an interdisciplinary approach was used as well: engineering, technologies and science were applied for the problem to be solved.
  • The last and the most difficult challenge that the children had to tackle was to create a game controller with materials at hand: plastic spoons, vegetables, foil, Makey Makey, alligator clips and iPad. If they succeeded, they could play a game on the iPad. The kids were excited and motivated. Our team managed to invent a controller from 4 spoons wrapped up with foil, properly connected through alligator clips with Makey Makey kit and iPad. At the end they were happy to see that the figures on the screen could move back, forward, up, and down.

  • The theme Astronomy was presented throughout our entire visit in Poland.
  • Yet on the first evening the hosts had organized an observation of a comet through a telescope. Unfortunately, the cloudy weather didn’t allow us to see it. Therefore, we attended a presentation about the comets and other astronomical objects delivered by an astronomer in “Centrum Współpracy Międzynarodowej Grodno”.
  • On the third day of our polish mobility there was an organized visit to the Planetarium in Miedzyzdroje to watch a movie about galaxies, space bodies and the creation of the planet Earth.
  • We had an opportunity to demonstrate the acquired knowledge about Space during our coding activities on the fourth day of the visit, when we had to match planets with their respective characteristics, and we should complete a quiz form related to astronomy.

  • On the fourth day of our visit to Poland, we were able to participate in various coding activities and observe others.
  • With the help of students in Tinkercad each of us created 3d image of a badge with our name on it. Later it was 3-d printed.
  • Another assignment we should finish was to choose a constellation. Then by finding the correspondent algorithm and with the help of a special table, and plastic bands we had to reproduce it.
  • We also observed some carpet coding activities that children from 1-2 grades completed. It was an interactive way to introduce young children to the principles of computer programming.
  • We also got acquainted with the Tynker- application, which taught how to create games and programs.3rd grade students introduced it to us.

  1. Helpful practices that I learned from Poland and I will use in my work.

 What I have learnt, and I am going to apply in my work is to incorporate more hand-on activities because learning by doing makes the students more engaged and motivated. I have understood as well that STEAM interdisciplinary approach can be used in early childhood education, too. Exploring nature and science through activities such as planting seeds, observing insects, or conducting simple experiments is a way to develop creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking skills in young children along with language and communication skills (what is the main purpose of my subject- English language learning). A very important conclusion I have made for myself is that the children at the age I’m teaching develop at a different pace. So, it’s unrealistic to expect all of them to acquire educational material with the same tempo and reach the same level of knowledge. The more significant thing is that every student makes progress. 5.Teaching Process in Poland During our polish mobility at the Primary School in Wapnica I had an opportunity to get acquainted with Dalton Plan- a concept of teaching which was new for me. According to this plan the child occupies the central place in the educational process, not the teacher. The responsibility and engagement of a student towards their own education increases. He/ She is proactive learner and is not taught and spoon-fed by the teacher. Students draw up their timetables in accordance with their individual differences and stages of psychological development. They work at their own pace and are only responsible for finishing the work on their syllabuses or assignments. The role of the teacher shifts from the one who only transmits information to one who guides and gives individual help when it is needed. The teacher encourages students to develop practical skills, provokes their critical thinking, inspires desire for learning and for personal development. In this polish school students from one class during the same lesson work on different subjects and tasks according to the syllabus they had created by themselves at the beginning of the week. When we entered the classes, we were surprised to find out that some students were solving math problems, some were studying something in their student’s books, others were working on tablets. All of them were engaged in their activities. They had freedom to choose what and when to do, however at the same time they had the responsibility to accomplish it. Their progress was a result of their own efforts and learning. Independence but in combination with cooperation was the feature of the Dalton approach adopted in the school. All over the place we could see posters that explained the steps one should follow to accomplish his/her task: 

  • Try it on your own.
  • Look it up in a book.
  • Search the net.
  • Ask a friend for cooperation.
  • Ask the teacher for help.

These moral characteristics: cooperation, independence (freedom of action), responsibility, sharing and friendship included in the Dalton plan, were key priorities for the school and therefore were awarded. Children received stars if they had contributed to their achievement. At the end of the month the child with the big number of stars received recognition and a moral award.