(Short-term exchanges of groups of pupils)
A BRIEF PRESENTATION BY OUR COORDINATOR, Augusto Oliveira
An Erasmus mobility took place from 6 to 10 December as part of the school library project “School libraries promoting readers, values, literacies, skills and inclusion”, whose main objective was the exchange and sharing of good practices, bringing together fifteen students and ten teachers from Italy, Greece, Poland and Portugal.
Throughout the week, educational and cultural activities took place, focusing on reading, the dynamics of school libraries and the holocaust theme, a topic that denotes the need for permanent education for human rights. On the first day, the students and teachers participated in a welcoming event promoted by the school library team and attended by the school headmaster, who spoke about Erasmus and its importance for education and the personal and civic education of our students.
The Portuguese Erasmus team students, Íris Ferreira, Sofia Barbosa and Lucas Silva, from 9th A, welcomed our guests and presented, in a perfect English, all the special moments of this ceremony.
Next, the students of Paula Campos’ Music Club and the respective students of the 5th B, together, sang “Welcome” – a welcome song and “Menina Estás à Janela” – a traditional Portuguese song, popularised by Vitorino Salomé. Then, in order to remember the importance of the European Union and the Erasmus + programme, the teacher Carlos Silva on the trumpet, accompanied by the teacher Paula Campos on the piano, played the musical piece “Ode to Joy” – theme from the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony (the official anthem of the European Union). These were moments of special emotion and strengthened the bonds of friendship between the European partners present.
Also during the welcoming ceremony, the students of the Language Club of our school, coordinated by the teacher Ana Paula Borges, and led by the students Alice Baião, Cristina Matos, Cátia Santos, Henrique Astorga and Rui Carvalho, animated the activity entitled “The faces of hope”. In their presentation/dramatization they showed two faces of hope in the world through two illustrious Portuguese people: Aristides de Sousa Mendes and Fernando Pessoa, both represented on stage by two students, dramatising these great Portuguese figures with enormous mastery.
Also during the same morning, the students performed a “Kahoot”, prepared in a collaborative way by the four project countries, about the book “The boy in the striped pyjamas”, which gave the name to this mobility of Portugal, since each meeting between students and teachers obeys, as stipulated in our Erasmus project, the reading and preparation of one of the selected books on the holocaust theme (“Anne Frank’s Diary”, “The boys who deceived the Nazis” and “The Dream Workshop”). The students of the English Club also offered a “human bingo”, an activity that proved to be important to break the ice between the students and create a good atmosphere.
In the afternoon, teachers Rosário Sá and Alice Loureiro offered a workshop on Portuguese tiles. The purpose of this activity was to introduce foreign students and teachers to the richness of the Portuguese heritage, in this case, the tiles. Everyone was able to illustrate one or more tiles, with the guidance and mastery of the Portuguese teachers, following some creative proposals or giving wings to their imagination. After passing through the muffle, the students and teachers were later given their tiles, which showed great satisfaction with the final product produced.
On Tuesday, the day was spent in the city of Porto, visiting museums. In the morning, in the building of Alfândega do Porto, the Erasmus group attended two events, namely, “Fabulous Christmas circus” and “Porto Legends”, in this last one they had the opportunity to know, through an immersive virtual show, the culture and history of the Invicta city.
After a guided tour of Boavista and its largest avenue, despite the bad weather that was felt, the group had the opportunity to pass by the coastline near the Castelo do Queijo and throughout Foz, returning to the place of departure. There, in the afternoon, the students and teachers visited the Museum of the Discoveries, getting to know in detail the discoveries and the Portuguese expansion. The visit was a great pleasure for everyone and had unique moments that will stay forever in memory.
Wednesday, the 8th, a bank holiday, was a day when the foreign students spent the day with their host families. Each family freely defined the programme for that day, with visits to Porto and Gaia, and the gastronomic experience of francesinha was quite common.
On Thursday 9th, the group travelled to Guimarães, accompanied by professional guide Marta Villares who gave us a detailed and enriching tour of the monuments and streets of this Unesco World Heritage city. Thanks to the cooperation of the teacher Ana Cristina Ribeiro, who made available to us the clothes used in Canelas Medieval, the group was dressed in medieval clothes for the visits to the Castle, Church and Paço Duque de Bragança, here with the participation in a very funny dance workshop, requested by the school.
In the afternoon, we visited Alberto Sampaio Museum and then, divided in four groups, we did the peddy paper “Guimarães historical centre”, an activity which was a great pleasure for the students and teachers who participated. This activity added a greater knowledge about the historical and monumental city of Guimarães.
On Friday, the last day of activities, the group spent the day at school, the teachers returning to the work inherent to the project, jointly defining the tasks and programming the pedagogical activities until May, date of the next mobility in Italy.
The day opened for the students with an illustration workshop run by the teacher Márcia Moreira and that allowed the students to illustrate a panel dedicated to the book “The boy in the striped pyjamas”. The students participated in the eTwinning discussion forum, entitled “Book versus movie”.
Later, the group had the opportunity to visit block C3 and watch the performance of the “Band (still) with no name”, always captivating and which amazed our foreign partners. They also had the opportunity to know in detail the “Yes, we are able” project, through a brief presentation by its responsible, teacher Luís Baião.
The teachers had yet another memorable experience, this time of a gastronomic nature, participating in a cooking workshop, streamlined by teachers Liliana Soares and José Cruz, accompanied by the wonderful students of the professional course of Catering and Bar. They presented the recipe for the dish “Bacalhau à Brás” to the group of teachers and accompanied them in the preparation of the same during the workshop. This was, in fact, the dish that was served for the group’s lunch and which pleased everyone. A cultural moment of great relaxation, enthusiasm and conviviality.
The day would close with the tasks programmed for the team of teachers and with the conclusion of the illustration panel prepared by the students, with the respective display in the mini-auditorium of the school library.
Saturday, the day when all the partners left for their respective countries, proved to be very emotional, because throughout the week, as was easily perceived, strong bonds of friendship were created between Portuguese and foreign students and their families. Gifts, invitations for visits abroad and promises of friendship for life marked this day of farewell and closure of the mobility.
Erasmus is more than a trip: it is culture, exchange, learning and friendship! As Pessoa says, everything is worthwhile when the soul is not small. And in this exchange, the fundamental values of the human condition were cherished. We can say that we entered the exchange and left it different and better.
A special thanks to all our collaborators – who were many and unconditionally – who gave their support for the success of this mobility, allowing it to be a unique, unforgettable and remarkable moment for all who participated.