Project implementation period : 01/09 2015–31/08 2017
About the project
The project, On the Wings of Europe, was a 2-year project established within Erasmus+ Program, in which five partners cooperated. The participating schools were from the Czech Republic, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania and Spain.
This biology project deals with an interesting topic, the migration of birds. It will give the students the opportunity to do systematic work, collecting data, studying the literature, comparing final data, and evaluating gained materials. The teachers will also be given the opportunity to practise new approaches and innovative ways of teaching.
The migration of birds belong to the most amazing phenomena on our planet. Along with our partners we would like to research the unique way of behaviour of some birds. We will concentrate on the bird species who spend part of their lives in these countries and are participating in the project. Then, we will observe the life of some species which move over a large part of Europe.
On Thursday, 10th September students first met with the teachers – coordinators of the project. Michal Dusek, Vera Brachetkova, Vera
Polakova and Jakub Drevikovsky gave the students the initial information related to the project.
The first event was an interesting lecture of Martin Paclik, Ph.D., a biologist and ornithologist from the Museum of Eastern Bohemia in Hradec Kralove, which was held at our school on 17th September. We learned so much about bird observation.
On 22nd September we visited an important site and nature reserve, “Bohdanečské rybníky” for our first bird watching. We observed about 15 bird species, like ducks, herons and cormorants, but the most attractive ones were flocks of starlings which chose this locality for their overnight stay.
October 19–22, 2015 – 1st transnational meeting, Pardubice, the Czech Republic
The first transnational meeting was held in the Czech Republic, at our school, SPŠCH Pardubice. The meeting was attended by our partners from Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia and Spain.
During the busy three-day program, teachers of all partner schools started working on the project and agreed on a common approach for the next period.
SPŠCH Pardubice as the coordinating school has organized a number of events. During the first day of the meeting the teachers introduced their schools and discussed the objectives, the innovative teaching approaches and modern teaching methods and the timeline of the project. Our partners were acquainted with selected species of migratory birds with which we can meet in the Czech Republic and in other partner countries. Our students organized this information in short presentations.
We enjoyed the lecture of Mr. Martin Paclík Ph.D., the ornithologist from the Museum of East Bohemia in Hradec Kralove and bird watching under his leadership on “Bohdanečský rybník”, a nature reserve and significant bird area. We attended together the exhibition “Nature of Eastern Elbe Basin“ with the participation of the authors of the exhibition Vladimír Lemberk and Jan Dolanský of the East Bohemian Museum in Pardubice. The meeting was concluded by observing waterfowl on the river Vltava and tour of the historic part of Prague.
We hope we have established new friendships and gained fresh motivation for further work. We look forward to the next international meeting that will be attended by students and teachers at the end of February 2016 in Spain, the host country of IES Virgen de Guadalupe, school in the town of Caceres.
November 2015–January 2016
After the first transnational meeting we prepared the observation sheets for all project countries. We started individual bird watching in chosen localities and getting information about these bird habitats.
Illustration: observation sheet
In February all students met in the biology lab. Four students participating in the first short-term exchange of groups of pupils in Spain prepared a presentation on starlings and a quiz, both in English. The listeners gave the students a valuable feedback about the presentation. They also completed the quiz and we could find out which questions were too easy and which were quite difficult. We needed this information as each country chose one bird species and prepared a quiz about this bird for the international meeting in Spain.
In the afternoon we were drawing a large map of Europe on the school playground for a game about bird migration. We drew the main routes of migratory birds that annually travel from their wintering sites to their nesting sites and we realized how amazing the phenomenon of migration is.
The international meeting in Cáceres, Spain, 21-27 February, 2016
Monday 22nd February was our first day with other students from other countries. In school IES Virgen de Guadalupe we met Spanish students and their teacher Mercedes Bayón and we played some games to break the ice and remember names. After these activities students from each country gave a presentation about migratory bird species. In the afternoon we saw a local park and a greenhouse. The definitive end of the programme for that day was at 9:30pm, it was a very long day.
Pavlína Hřebíčková, 1B
School year 2016-2017
The international meeting in Ignalina, Lithuania, September 2017
On 17th of September we met at the train station in Pardubice. Members of our group were Denisa Cabalková, Magda Kašparová, Sany Hořejšová, Pepa Škorpík, Vojta Biben, Lenka Storoženková, Mgr. Michal Dušek and Mgr. Jakub Dřevíkovský. We went by train to Prague to the airport, where we caught the plane to Warsaw and we had to change the plane. We had something about one hour at the airport. When it was 15 minutes to take off we realized that we stood at the wrong gate, but luckily we managed that and after one hour we were in Lithuania at the airport where other members of our project team from Croatia, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania waited and we went by bus to Ignalina. We stayed in Sports centre Ignalina. After we found the room and unpacked our stuffs we all went for dinner.
Denisa Cabalková, 4B
On Saturday we met at the railway station in Pardubice and we went to Prague. In Prague, we went by bus to the airport where we waited for the plane to Warsaw. In Warsaw, we rushed to the plane to Lithuania, but we managed it. In Lithuania, the bus took us to a mall, where we spent two hours. Then the bus took us to the hotel. We travelled 1300 km. The school, which we visited, looked strange and quite old. I think, it was 50 years old. The school consisted of three interconnected buildings. The school had a ground floor and first floor, they had a gym and a lot of classrooms there.
Vojtěch Biben, 2A
On Sunday, September 18 we went to Ginučiai after breakfast. It is a small village and a local man told us an interesting story about the village. We learned how to make fish soup and of course we also tasted the meal. Then we went by bus to the archaeological complex Ladakanis, we observed birds and there was to see a historic church. Our teachers discussed the progress of the project and shared their experiences.
Lenka Storoženková, 2A
On Monday September 19 we went to city council to visit the mayor of Ignalina District. He told us about the history of Ignalina and we watched a short film which showed us more about the life here. Then we visited the local school where we and all others countries to presented our birds. Our bird was rook. Later we got to the restaurant, where they served us traditional Lithuanian food. After dinner we had a multicultural evening, where all countries presented their traditional dances and then we had disco.
Magdaléna Kašparová, 4B
All partner countries decided to teach the others one game. We did not have time to play our game at school so we played that in the evening during the disco night. The rules were easy. We made a circle from the chairs. All of us had a chair except one who stood in the middle of the circle. The one in the middle always said one thing about himself, for example: ‘I have one brother‘. And all the people who had one brother stood up and they had to change their place and also the middle one wanted to sit. Who did not have a place to sit was the new one in the middle. It was a good game to get to know each other.
Denisa Cabalková, 4B
On Wednesday, September 21, we went on a long journey across Lithuania. We went to town Palanga, where we visited the ornithological station. We met with the ornithologist and the second largest catcher of birds in the world. We had a chance to hold and then let out a bird. Next we moved to a modern restaurant where we got a four-course dish. As another activity there was Dinosaur Park, in which we walked ourselves. Finally we arrived in a new hotel near the beach. We visited the beach too.
Sandra Hořejšová, 2D
Thursday, September 22, started with a breakfast at 8 a.m., with a lot of sweet and salty kinds of food. At half past nine we went to Palanga Botanical Park, where we could see several species of birds, for example mallards, tits and chaffinch. We visited the garden there and then we went to the beach, where we spent some time until the museum was opened. In Palanga Amber Museum there was exposition of amber, because Palanga was a huge site of amber. After the tour to the museum we had a lunch at Smaku Smakas in Šiauliai. At 3 p.m. we moved to the Hill of Crosses, a place which represents Lithuanian resistance against The Soviet Union. Our day ended by dinner in town Ignalina.
Josef Škorpík, 3C
On 23rd of September we ended our trip. We went in early morning hours by bus to Vilnius to the airport where we took plane to Warsaw. Then we have four boring hours at the airport which we spent in the shops or on the internet. After that we went by plane to Prague and we started to rush, a friend of our teacher took us by car to the railway station but we weren’t fast enough. We missed the train by one minute so we went to the station and we waited again. We finally got home late at night.
Denisa Cabalková, 4B
On the way back we waited 2.5 hours in Lithuania at the airport, where we were taken by bus and four hours in Warsaw at the airport. Unfortunately we missed the train to Pardubice, we waited an hour for a train. At Pardubice station we parted. We travelled back 1300 km. Flights were peaceful and Lithuanian roads were quite good.
Vojtěch Biben, 2A
April 2-8 2017, the international project meeting in Varaždin, Croatia
On Sunday afternoon we arrived at Zagreb and our new friends from partner schools were waiting there for us. Together we left for Trakošćan Lake where we had lunch. After the lunch we played icebreaking games. It was fun. We were in small groups and played really funny games. After these activities we went to our hotel and had dinner.
On the second day, we finally visited the partner school Prva Gimnazija Varaždin. The headmistress of the school had a welcoming speech and later we had a school tour. In the afternoon we participated in “Treasure hunt“ in Varaždin and it was amazing. We tried to find some places according to instructions and we also visited the Angel Museum. We came back to school for lunch. At school all teams had presentations on endangered species in their countries. After that we had a city tour with Croatian students, so it was a really nice day.
The third day we came to school after breakfast. We met our friends who made the programme for us. A bus took us to Veliki Pažut, there we went to the forest and walked along the river bank of the Sava. We observed birds of this area with the ornithologists. After that we went to a restaurant and had a lunch with a great dessert. After lunch we visited another area, but the weather wasn´t good so we couldn´t do all of the planned activities, but it was a really nice day.
Kateřina Vavřinová, 2BC1
May 7-13 2017, the international project meeting in Malpils, Latvia
We met at school in the morning. We had lessons, They taught us Latvian language, maths, biology and PE. The maths with Spanish students was really interesting. They showed us maths trick and some cards tricks, which were very interesting and we really wanted to know the secret of that trick. After lessons we had lunch and later we arrived to Sigulda. We borrowed bikes and went on a trip with a tour guide. She showed to us interesting places, told us something about them and sang Latvian folk songs. sound. After the trip we had dinner in Sigulda and we went back to Malpils.
On Wednesday morning we arrived to Engure close the town Jurmala. With an ornithologist we observed birds. We saw spotted redshank, common crane, common shelduck, northern shoveler, long-tailed duck, Eurasian oystercatcher and common goosander. After that we went to a restaurant and to Jurmala to the sea shore. In Riga we saw seagulls, gray crows and ducks. In the evening we had dinner and we went back to Malpils, There is also a military area, where is higher incidence of European roller, which has become a symbol of untouched Latvian nature.
Iveta Kulhánková, 2D
Sunday was arriving day. At Frankfurt airport we met Spanish people and after that we were getting ready for the flight to Riga. The Latvian teacher Leva was waiting at the airport for us so we could continue our journey. We had a bus which got us to Alpha shopping center and after that to Malpils. When we arrived to Malpils, Latvian students were waiting for us and we first learned about our new Latvian families. Latvian students had a surprise for us. They took us to the bonfire and we met with students from other countries.
On Monday we were at Malpils school and we had a meeting with all people from On the Wings of Europe project. There were Spanish group, Croatian, Lithuanian and Latvian students. At the beginning of the programme the head of the school and the mayor of the city had a speech. After that our Czech group had a presentation. We had a presentation about us and about our school. Next were other groups with their presentations and after that we played some ice-breaking games. In the evening we were at the country cottage and we had a lot of food and drinks, we ate, talked and had a good time.
Marcela Horáčková, 2D
The bird calendar
Firstly a group of interested students was created. Each student was told to design (graphics, colour, layout) individually a page for our calendar. After that the group met and the best design was selected. Then we asked participating schools to send us photos of migratory birds. In the next meeting we picked the best thirteen photos. Then we distributed photos equally among student and they job was to create a page for the calendar. In the meantime we asked participating schools to send us correct names of the selected birds. After putting everything together we started to correct all mistakes. When we were satisfied with the outcome we send the calendar for printing.
Summary of the project
The project On the Wings of Europe was a 2-year project in which five partners cooperated. The priority of the project was using innovative methods and achieving better results through more effective teaching methods. To achieve the planned goals, we chose a biology project – the migration of birds. This project gave teachers the opportunity to practise new, innovative ways of teaching and gave students the opportunity to learn a team work and learn about an interesting biological topic. We suppose the project also contributed to the awareness of the preservation of environmental diversity and deepened the awareness of unity in Europe.
The participating schools differ in number of students, age of students, national curricula and school problems they deal with but the project gave all of them the opportunity to learn from each other.
Stredni prumyslova skola chemicka Pardubice in the Czech Republic is a secondary technical school which provides secondary education for almost 900 students aged 15-19.
Malpils novada vidusskola in Latvia acts as a county high school for almost 400 students. There are primary and lower secondary education programmes, special education programmes for students with mental and learning disabilities. IES Virgen de Guadalupe in Spain is a public institution where about 450 students attend classes of Compulsory General Education, High Secondary Education and Vocational Training. The school also holds Specific Integrated Teaching for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, special needs and severe behaviour disorders. Prva gimnazija Varaždin in Croatia offers three national programmes (General, Scientific and Languages), bilingual programme in English/Croatian and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). The school is a member of the UNESCO’s Associated Schools, working on the projects of promotion and protection of the national and global, cultural and natural heritage. Ignalinos r. Dūkšto mokykla in Lithuania provides primary and basic education for 110 pupils in grades 1-10; 20 of pupils are children with special needs.
At the first transnational meeting in autumn 2015 we shared the first experience. We provided methodology for the students´ observations, made observation sheets and discussed how to cooperate effectively. We planned to issue the results of the biology part of the project in a brochure, to create a map of bird migration and to design a calendar. In the educative part of the project we started to collect methodology tips and to prepare an interactive presentation for biology teachers.
All these materials were successfully created during the following 2 years of the project work.
During short-term exchanges of groups of pupils we presented the results of the previous period in particular countries and we visited many bird areas with local ornithologists. Students gave their presentations on selected migratory bird species which they prepared in their teams. We often divided students into mixed groups for the workshops.
Between the international meetings we organized competitions, visited nature reserves and bird areas. We met with students many times in afternoon lessons. We wrote articles about the project events for the school web pages and we displayed posters at schools.
The short-term joint staff training event contributed to teachers´ knowledge in the field of counselling and coaching. The teachers worked together in a workshop, which focused on using new methods in lessons based on peer learning activities, and they exchanged examples of good practice.
The second transnational meeting in spring 2017, as the last international event, focused on presenting the project results. We evaluated the project products, in both biological and methodological parts, and decided about efficient dissemination activities. We observed and evaluated warm-up and ice-breaking activities which our students and teachers prepared and which were recorded in the collection of methodology tips. We observed the work of the students done in the creative workshops. We compared the project links on different school web pages and planned the last simultaneous bird watching held in all countries at the same time. We discussed the possibilities of future cooperation.
In all countries, we encouraged students of various social and economic backgrounds to take part in the project. In Spain autistic children and their assistants also participated in many project activities.
In this project, students developed their ability to find the information they need, work in a team and make deadlines. They benefited from the pleasure of discovering new things. They developed their computer and language skills.
Teachers benefited from sharing ideas, exchanging learning and teaching materials, and learning new teaching approaches.
We hope we increased a positive public perception of our schools and raised the reputation and attractiveness of involved educational institutions.
Věra Poláková and Michal Dušek