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European Innovative Teaching Award
Project

Numeracy@English

School: Agrupamento de Escolas General Serpa Pinto de Cinfães

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Topic(s) addressed

The project Numeracy@English was created to help students appreciate the importance of numeracy in everyday life, emphasise the importance of English, and broaden their digital skills. The project’s main objective is the popularisation of numeracy and that of its usefulness among young people. Showing the usefulness of maths across different areas of life will encourage students to widen their knowledge and broaden their minds. By dealing with numbers through nature, geography, money, travelling, ecology and energy saving, arts, songs, social media, and ICT, students will broaden their basic numeracy skills as well as improve their knowledge of English, the project’s official language.

Target groups

The project’s target group consisted of pupils of various ages, from pre-school (5-6 years of age) to the finishing years of primary school or lower secondary school (13-14 years of age), depending on the school in question.

Methodologies

The project’s main objective was the popularisation of numeracy and its usefulness among young people. Throughout the project, students worked on different activities related to numbers and everyday life, English language, and ICT. The first activity pupils worked on ''Facts and Figures about Our School, Village/Town, Region, and Country.” This was followed by an exploration of the currency symbols used in each country, the history of money, and the currency used in each Member State prior to their introduction of the “euro,” as well as credit cards, and online payments. Furthermore, a comparison was carried out of basic goods in participating countries such as bread, meal, milk, fuel, electricity, and so on, followed by the activity ''Numbers, Nature and Ecology,'' which explored the number of national parks, animals, and plants in participating countries. Other activities were also implemented such as Erasmuspoly and Travelling in Numbers, with the former created during pupils’ short-term exchanges, whereby pupils from each school chose towns, cities, and interesting places from their country, explored them and presented during the game. For “Travelling in Numbers,” we paired partner schools, with pupils from two schools working together online to calculate and compare distances between schools; draw out a map; measure distances using Google Earth; determine means and time needed for travel; learn the use of the Michelin website; develop a comic book, and prepare stories of travel to partner locations. An activity was also devised for Safer Internet Day, where by discussing facts and figures, numbers about benefits, and the dangers of Internet, pupils (together with the ICT teacher) produced comic banners, distributed them to other classes, and exchanged them by mail to partner schools. Following activities using smartphones/tablets to experiment with augmented reality, pupils learnt how to create QR codes using links to songs, webpages, and videos, learnt to embed them on blogs and TwinSpace. Pupils also developed a numbers/maths multilingual picture dictionary (in paper) of all partner languages, with the numerals 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 decorated in A3 format, using symbols from partner countries which were then exchanged among partner schools. During the “Erasmus City’’ activity, pupils created 3-D monuments of locations within partner countries, where they explored height, width, the shapes of said monuments, and the calculation of the ratio of the actual size of 3-D models, allowing them to learn aspects such as age, years, decade, era, century, BC & AC. The activity “Proverbs and Acrostic Texts” was about sayings, with graffiti related to numbers and the development of acrostic texts (number words) on bookmarks. We organised five short-term pupil exchanges during which pupils worked on: money, numbers in everyday life, numbers and ecology, saving energy, Erasmuspoly (board game), interactive boards and augmented reality, and a numbers/maths multilingual picture dictionary. Also, teachers were a target group with regard to their professional development in areas relating to mathematics, English, and ICT (financial education) through the use of Web 2.0 tools, social media in classrooms, the eTwinning platform, the sharing of good practice in using number games and pedagogical maths games in classes, the sharing of ideas on how to use Interactive boards and tablets in classrooms, Content and Language Integrated Content, and the use of different mental math strategies. By the end of the project, at least 60 pupils and 181 teachers were directly involved with many more indirectly reached through the dissemination activities of participating pupils and teachers. Through the project, we expected to popularise maths as a school subject; increase awareness on the use of numbers and basic numeracy skills in everyday life; improve English language knowledge; broaden and improve digital skills; increase the popularity of the eTwinning portal and various social media platforms among participating organisations; exchange didactic materials, experience, and ideas among teachers; and, establish enduring friendships among participating schools. This project has enabled partner schools to develop students’ capacities for European issues, cultivate a respect for European citizenship, and increase knowledge of Europe as a whole – all of which are aimed at teaching participants that European unity is based on a respect for diversity. New friendships were formed that have evolved into other parallel projects such as those on eTwinning and the sharing of good practices among teachers and their classes.

Environments

The project was constantly being evaluated, with all partner schools given activities between each mobility that were aimed at developing and achieving thematic final products for each subsequent mobility, with said activities developed by teachers and students of each participating school. Furthermore, each partner was responsible for adapting these activities to their school’s practices and to define the timings and modes of execution for each activity. All implemented activities were presented by the project coordinator at the beginning of the project to the Pedagogical Council, which was followed by integration into the school curriculum. This involved determining the grant involved, as well as the number and location of activities and themes to be carried out in the mobilities. The Numeracy@English project consisted of 9 mobilities, 3 transnational meetings, and 6 Learning/Teaching/Training Activities (LTTA), coupled with teacher training and 5 student LTTAs.

Teachers

All of the project’s partners were already known to either the Portuguese or Croatian coordinator, as such, it was easy to determine the contribution of each partner to the development of activities. Besançon kindergarten was chosen because we wanted to show that the generality of learning mathematics and English could be transversal to all ages and teaching cycles. The Portuguese school already had a comprehensive history of financial education, with teachers who were broadly experienced in the teaching of financial education. The Croatian school, with its extensive experience in education platforms and the dynamism of its eTwinning projects, had already received a number of European awards for the projects it had developed. The Latvian school had also participated in a study on new mathematical games and approaches to concepts. While the two schools in Northern Ireland are neighbours, they nevertheless had differing backgrounds, with one being Catholic and the other a public school. However, due to previous community projects, it was possible for both schools to begin developing a project to share teachers and experiences – including new methods of teaching mathematics. The Italian school had a project called "backpacking," where teachers developed activities using interactive whiteboards, QR codes, augmented reality, and robotics, which promoted the school’s overall success. The Valsequillo School (in the Spanish Canary Islands) had in its curriculum, vast experience in the application of the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) method in the teaching of several subjects (with the use of a foreign language as a mode of communication). The Polish school also had extensive experience in community-based projects, with its coordinating teacher having led a number of said projects successfully. The contribution of each partner was to stimulate or organise learning-teaching training activities for students at their schools, which could then be disseminated throughout all participating schools.

Impact

The project resulted in the attainment of all our anticipated objectives, which consisted of popularising maths as a school subject; broadening awareness on the use of numbers and basic numeracy skills in everyday life; improving knowledge of the English language; enlarging skills and attitude concerning the use of foreign languages as a necessity in Europe and the gaining of basic knowledge in partners' languages; increasing the popularity of the eTwinning portal and different social media among participating organisations; exchanging didactic materials, experience, and ideas among teachers; promoting respect and accepting the cultural and social differences of various participants; awakening the curiosity of pupils and staff; promoting children’s and teachers’ awareness of the world around them; contributing to the professional development of school staff; fostering enduring friendships among our schools; and, enlarging ICT skills so as to be able to follow broader European developmental progress. We also expected to share teaching methodologies and develop strong friendships between pupils and staff towards promoting contact with the cultures of children from various European countries; share broad experiences and concerns; promoting respect for others, human rights, and European values; promoting a personal concept and opinion of everyday matters; facilitating an understanding of one’s rights and duties as a European citizen; contributing to the professional development of school staff; and, utilising projects to develop computer skills among staff and pupils. It should be noted here that the impacts of the project’s mobilities were not only contained within schools, but also caused changes and curiosities among families and friends. Furthermore, it made a large group of people more aware of their goals and activities, and of how such mobilities may be important to the future wellbeing of students. Videoconferencing activities to host families as well as phone calls among participants and their friends brought about a differential impact on all participants, as it allowed them to better understand the importance of European citizenry. The project also had a major impact on participating municipalities, as it helped them to better understand the impact that schools have on their students, as well as the general and transversal trainings they provide. Given that this was a project involving a large number of schools from various countries, its impacts may extend further than what may be determined through this project (especially with regard to impacts on pupils, families, and the school community). Furthermore, the project’s large number of mobilities also saw a sizeable number of pupils who were traveling for the first time, with many never having travelled abroad prior to the project – which indicated to us that the project’s impacts were more than regional, local, or even European. We were aware however that the project impacted the individual, their community, and their families in many different ways, with pupils and their families becoming more motivated and clear-minded. Following the project, pupils have developed a European network of friendship, and as teachers, we now notice a motivation and a satisfaction in their eyes due to their participation in this amazing experience. This experience brought about a number of changes among pupils, and we believe that these positive impacts will ripple out from pupils to their families, communities, and regions. Teachers who participated in mobilities saw and learnt different methodologies, good practices, and new ideas for working in the classroom; furthermore, they brought said newfound experiences to their home schools and shared them with their colleagues. Meeting new people and getting to know different cultures was a very positive aspect for both pupils and teachers. As some of our partner schools were quite small, with several located in the countryside, this project has further increased and expanded pupils’ perspectives as well as their knowledge of the English language, which has also impacted their parents, relatives, and friends’ views of life. Each of the project’s activities necessitated pupils’ travel to various regions, which allowed them to meet other people and cultures, and to present their findings to other municipalities, which added to participants’ knowledge of the differences among regions. Furthermore, partners organised meetings with regional authorities so as to present information on culture, educative numbers, society and social measures, futures projects, and difficulties related to the management of a particular territory or group of people to all partners. This was carried out in a regional manner to reveal the positives and negatives of various groups, which facilitated the learning of good practices among schools and communities, as well as implementations of the same. On a European level, we wanted pupils from the eTwinning project to produce and create activities following the project’s completion. Thus, pupils’ mobilities provided the motivation for participants to reflect on the importance of European citizenry and the importance of respecting each culture, country, and people, which led to an understanding among them that a wider view of Europe, is indeed a wider view of humanity. Although both numeracy and English language learning are rather comprehensive, the concepts covered by this project may also be replicated among kindergarten children, children with special educational needs, and students between the ages of 3-15. Furthermore, the development of the Erasmuspoly may also be carried out by students of all ages; this applies also to the reproduction of an Erasmus City with monuments from their region and those of other schools. All of the project’s outputs are housed at participating schools’ libraries, with the Erasmuspoly game being replicable as and when it is needed. The “Move Your Mind Booklet,” which was also a full project activity, saw the development of an e-book containing all the activities that had been created by partners from the mobilities. This book was made available in printed form, and is also freely accessible online via this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zKc8PvPdG5J4eClxvXUMX7ZM3tMe86vH/view?usp=sharing. All of the presentations included enabled each school to build the Erasmus City on their own or with other buildings, with the audiodictionaire functioning as a tool towards the learning of foreign languages, the improvement of pupils’ knowledge, and their study of different countries and similarities among languages. Lastly, the idea of the Funny Lab At Maths and English (FL@ME) may also be continued in each school, with new activities added to it.

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Stakeholders

Participants

Instituto Comprensivo Lucca 6

Address
Italy

Colegio de Educación Infantil y Primaria Valsequillo

Address
Spain

Osnovna škola Strahoninec

Address
Croatia

Saint Vincent de Paul PS

Address
United Kingdom

Kalētu pamatskola

Address
Latvia

Ecole maternelle Vauthier-Sircoulon

Address
France

Zespół Szkolno - Przedszkolny nr 2 w Brodnicy

Address
Poland

Ligoniel Primary School

Address
United Kingdom