Elementary school “Sveti Matej” Viškovo is inviting you to “share positivity and like diversity”
Schools in Croatia are having their summer break but we are posting the news about the projects they implemented before the end of school year. Here is the story of the school in Viškovo, Primorsko-Goranska County, and their work in Start the Change project.
Elementary school “Sveti Matej” Viškovo is the biggest school in Primorsko-goranska county. It has 920 pupils in 39 classes. It is situated in the industrial zone of Viškovo which is characterized by intensive settlements of people from different parts of Croatia, as well as from abroad. Such a big number of pupils also brings diversity in various aspects: cultural, socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, educational status of parents and educational possibilities of pupils.
So, it doesn’t surprise that is was important for this school to join “Start the Change” project to find additional inspiration, as well as to inspire others for new activities that will help pupils recognize the importance of constant reflection on mutual respect and acceptance of diversity.
After becoming part of the project they started “a storm in their brains” and brainstormed a project “Share positivity, like difference”. As the name of the project itself states, goals and values which they want to achieve and develop by implementing this project are the development of social skills important for interaction with peers, encouraging cooperation and mutual respect among children, and increasing closeness and tolerance of diversity among peers.
Find a brief description of the project activities below given by the project coordinators: a pedagogue Jasna Pipinić and a professor Ines Kovač.
Through workshops to positive changes
“Through workshops to positive changes” is a project designed interdisciplinary to be implemented in classes of Croatian language, Maths, Music, IT, and class lessons. The final results of all project activities were shown at the school play on the School Day, which carried the name “Share positivity, like diversity”. The school newspaper “Tratinčica” was also dedicated to this project.
Workshops “Let it start from me”, “My Collage” and “Goodbye Violence, Welcome Tolerance!” have so far been conducted during the classes (find the workshops in the Start the Change” workshop collection).
One workshop was implemented with parents.
Pupils became more aware that they are responsible for their behaviour, and that it is up to us to do our best to start the change. They learned which human traits are needed to be good people, became aware of their power to start changes in their daily lives. They learned what identity is, and that each and every one of us is special and unique. They recognized that labelling is giving negative characteristics to a person or a group based on prejudice, and learned that it is nice to support diversity and to see similarities among children and young people.
All the pupils were truly touched by the movie “Life Vest Inside – Kindness Boomerang – One Day” through which they could learn that good deeds are spread around like good vibrations, and that each and every one of us can encourage others to do good things by doing them ourselves.
Do school children socialize enough and in a quality way? Are they willing and able to cooperate and solve tasks if they are in a group of randomly chosen class mates? Socialization walk “Together to the goal” was created as a part of the “Start the change” project with the intention to show that all of the fifth graders can socialize successfully and solve set tasks together regardless of their interests, physical and intellectual differences.
The activity takes around sixty minutes, and includes group formation (pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of families of different races, even the ones that are fictional – we respect them all), the walk and solving the task (a crossword puzzle that is different for each group, whose solution is a concept or a message promoted by the project), checking the solution and returning. All the groups completed the task successfully. Each group will create an overview of the activity and present it to others during the IT classes.
Starting a change in the maths classes
With the goal of refreshing the maths classes, the teacher is trying to engage the pupils by giving them various motivational tasks. A motivational task shows up on the board in the classroom several times through the semester. It’s not compulsory and pupils solve it on voluntary basis. They can hand in the solutions within the period of two weeks. Good will is important and each attempt and solution is taken into account. The goal is to stimulate thinking, to express freely, develop ideas and strategies which point to the possibility of approaching a problem in different ways. The most interesting solutions are displayed on the board in the classroom.
Below we provide an example of the task for March and solutions found by the pupils: Write a concept (or draw a picture) which you associate with the “Start the Change” project and map it axially symmetrically with respect to the chosen direction as the axis of symmetry.
Starting a change in the Croatian language classes
At their Croatian language classes, pupils dramatized the folk song “Mara’s crown” and created a potential outcome of the play in accordance with the “Start the change” project. The folk song ends with Mara’s rejection of Maurin known as the Black Moro. Pupils where changing the relationship of the main characters who are different by nationality, religion and skin colour into a friendly and tolerant. Many turned the dramatic conflict into a happy love with a fairy-tale ending. The pupils had a lot of fun with destruction of prejudice and participated actively in the creation of more tolerant relationships in society by working in a group – including writing texts according to a given literary template, preparing scenography, costumes, dolls, theatre posters and performing the play. After the play, they got a task to reshape the song into a comic book, and finished the media classes by creating the comic.
The pupils received key terms from which they created the lyrics of the project anthem at the Croatian language classes. The teacher collected pupils’ creations and composed the school anthem out of the most successful ideas. Music for the anthem will be created, and the music teacher will practice the performance with the pupils.
THE ANTHEM OF THE SCHOOL PROJECT “SHARE POSITIVITY, LIKE DIVERSITY”
Start a change
My school is a friend to everyone,
Big and small,
It is the pride of our region,
All have equal rights,
Creativity joins with the mind.
Omit the diversity in play,
Find yourself in togetherness,
Accept black and white,
Give your hand, help,
Let love and hope prevail,
We need life without prejudice!
Breaking fences is not easy,
Everyone can make an effort,
To build bridges of friendship,
Not to go alone through life,
It is easier when you belong to someone.
Move, let’s change the world,
Start the sparkle of tolerance,
Colour the world with colours,
Listen, connect with others,
SHARE POSITIVITY, LIKE DIVERSITY!
We hope that you found inspiration among these amazing ideas for your work with the pupils. For further inspiration listen to the music of the poem we recorded and the photo gallery of our activities here.
We are greeting you with the pupils’ message “Move, let’s change the world…” until next time and news from the “Sveti Matej” elementary school.