”SOS- Sustain Our Souls” aimed at students’ interests and their desire for self-improvement and professional evolution. The activities were focused on developing long term skills which will ensure a better integration in the educational and social environment. The educational process should target eight key competences from the European framework and this Erasmus project was able to address them in the mobilities, the virtual activities and the eTwinning project.
One of the key competences refers to the students’ ability to learn to learn and the activities offered them the possibility to use different sources of information in order to investigate topics like culture, traditions, history, geography, environment, arts, literature, music, sports, eating habits, natural places, business plans and inventions. Teachers’ support was given in order to make sure they know how to access the correct sources of information. The students behaved independently and they managed to finish their tasks within the deadlines.
Other key competences refer to cultural skills and digital skills and they were also developed through various face-to-face and online activities. Students needed to include different cultural aspects and they had to create power point presentations, posters, surveys, graphs, eBooks and games on the topics of the project. For example, in Spain, they created Draw My Life videos on generation gap and time spent in nature and ways in which people can protect nature and make sure people enjoy more time in a clean and unpolluted environment; in Italy, they created posters and an eBook reflecting eating habits and healthy lifestyle tips starting from the idea that man needs to be more connected with nature and produce food that contributes to the preservation of nature. In Poland, they went back to topics like natural and historical places which help preserve the heritage of a country, to inventions which helped the countries be known and the different cultural elements which were used to create a Kahoot! game starting from the video or power point presentations made by the partner countries.
They also made videos showing their experiences from the mobilities or videos which promote the topics of the project uploading them on the YouTube channel they created for Erasmus projects. They learnt how to use Zoom and the break-out rooms, to share their screens and use the chat. Also, they learnt how to use a blog in order to present their activities to the community and they did the same by creating an Instagram account and a Facebook page which are administrated by students.
In Romania, they worked in break-out rooms and created diamante poems about nature and sports tracks which were included in two brochures which prove that students are able to collaborate successfully despite being forced to work online due to Covid 19. They discussed about the importance of nature and its connection to people, to what people can do to live healthy and responsible lives and what it can be done to preserve the cultural, historical and natural heritage at national and European level. Students learnt how to create and present their own Mentimeter, pallets and WordWall games which included elements from the topics of the project. They made series of presentations summing up their work and presented them in the virtual mobility from Germany. In order to make the virtual days more attractive and engaging, they used these tools in between speeches.
The abilities of using foreign languages and mother tongues were obviously included in the project activities and students worked both in national and international teams in order to complete the tasks. They exchanged information and learning techniques, they improved their vocabulary and use of English as well as their ability to make presentations in front of a large audience both during the physical mobilities and the virtual meetings from Romania and Germany.
The math and science skills were also targeted during the mobilities and virtual meetings as students were placed in different day-to-day situations. For example, they took part in a Math class in Spain in which they had to work in teams to determine the surface of a sports ground, they analyzed and area and made suggestions for improving it; they interpreted data in Italy by analyzing the healthy eating survey given before the mobility, they took part in chemistry lab analyzing oil. They also analyzed different sport rules and sets of physical recommendations in order to be able to create correct and effective sport tracks which can be used by sports teachers to promote a healthy lifestyle and the importance of spending time outdoors.
They actively listened to one another, respected different opinions and made sure everyone had a voice in this way developing social and civic skills. One of the main objectives of the project was to have students and teachers work together no matter their differences and cultural background following the motto of the EU, ‘Unity in diversity’. Thus, the project activities encouraged peer learning and collaborative work which are two dimensions of the 21st century.
Taking the initiative is also an important competence which was developed through the project activities and thus the students felt more motivated and encouraged. They were the ones suggesting the way countries should work on their national materials and they also chose the digital tools and the activities which they worked on at international level. They suggested the type of materials to be prepared before, during and after the mobilities and virtual meetings, the articles for the press and for the mass media channels and the forms of organizing the twinspace in the eTwinning project.
SOS- Sustain Our Souls is a project in which we sustain souls from different perspectives: the activities covered both body and mind needs and the participants had various experiences which will greatly contribute to their personal and professional development. On the long term, they will be more secure of their skills and they will be more involved in the school community, offering support and advice to the new generations. They learnt team work skills, problem solving skills, they learnt how to manage their time better and how to respect other people’s opinions in order to finalize tasks within the project.