Thoughts on our Erasmus+ project - Finland

Erasmus+ project is about to end. Metsäkylän yhtenäiskoulu has been part of a three-year program titled Invaders - How They Shaped the Europe of Today. The main focus of the project has been to broaden students' thinking, their knowledge of history and their skills in working together towards a common goal. The various tasks of the project have included majority of our student from grades 3 to 7. The mobilities to partner countries involved students from grades 5 to 7.

The list of tasks during this project was long and impressive. Our students have participated in the following tasks:

- a recipe book: two recipes of food influenced by invaders
- FAQ: frequently asked questions on invaders - a task carried out via Flashmeeting with our parther schools
- stories and rhymes: four historical stories with Swedish or Russian influence written and illustrated by 5th graders; four nursery rhymes or other existing rhymes with Swedish or Russian influence or by our partner countries written and illustrated by our 4th and 5th graders
- music CD: two songs with invader influence sang and played by 4th graders
- dance DVD: two folk dances (tanhu) with western and eastern influence performed by students who participated the mobility to Italy
- book on landmarks, monuments and famous places in our area (Pirkanmaa); a PowerPoint presentation by 4th graders
- online debate with Romanian students via Flashmeeting; 7th grade students debated whether invasion is a positive or negative thing
- drama; 5th grade students created, acted and recorded short drama performances on invader topics. They created the outfits and our 3rd grade students created the various goods needed in the drama
- news story; students who participated the mobility to Romania created a mock news story of invasion; the news were recorded in a real TV-studio in Romania
- dictionary; a dictionary of common and invader words was put together to show the differences and similarities in the vocabulary of the seven partner countries
- fact book; each partner country studied a chosen invader common to at least two of the countries; our 7th graders studied the Swedes, whose influence is noticeable at least in Finland and in Poland
- children's games: our 3rd graders recorded two invader-themed outdoor games and explained the rules to other partner countries
- laws and government: 7th graders studied in history if our current laws, government, constitution, currency, etc. have been influenced by our invaders
- invaders in common: one of our ICT teachers created an online game of all the invaders in common with the seven partner countries; the game was introduced to all during the mobility to Metsäkylän yhtenäiskoulu; the link to the game is available to all
- surveys: as part of the project, all participating students and teachers have answered three evaluating surveys, a student survey and a teacher survey

On top of these "official" tasks, we have had two international weeks. During the first one, different grades studied assigned partner countries and made posters about them. During the second week, the topic for the whole school was "Finland as a part of the world". Our older students studied invasion facts during history lessons.

We have incorporated our project into English lessons, arts and crafts, PE, history and Finnish language lessons. We have skyped with all partner schools, created art with invader influence, played invader games in PE, studied Finnish history from invaders' point of view and written stories, rhymes and newspaper articles. We have sent Christmas cards and video greetings to our partners.

At  school, we have held assemblies after each student mobility and a welcoming assembly to our guests during our partners' visit to Metsäkylän yhtenäiskoulu. Our tasks have been on display in the school library. A photo book of each mobility will be created for our school library. With our project money, we have bought invader themed books for the school library, musical instruments typical of our Irish partners for our music room  and some technical gear for our school to enable smooth skyping and sharing.

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