What do teachers do in the summer?
Summer projects, academies, internships and exciting experiences with the students are part of the summer holidays for participants in A New Way to Teaching program.
Summer is the time for holidays and rest for all teachers. Before indulging in a well-deserved rest after a challenging school year, the participants in A New Way to Teaching program traditionally use the summer months to provide additional support to students and build on their experience and knowledge in various fields by implementing their own summer projects and internships. Among the summer plans of all 76 teachers from the class of 2021-2023 this year, there is a wide variety of summer academies, activities to develop students’ skills, upgrade their own experience as trainers, coordinators and volunteers in various organizations and institutions.
Some of the projects were so good that together with our partners from PEPCO, we decided to support their implementation financially.
In a series of publications, we will tell you more about some of the projects that have already been implemented. Here are the first ones:
Summer academy with students from Bratya Miladinovi High School 97, Sofia
Organized by the teachers Mihaela Bozhankova, Mihaela Dimitrova, Ivelina Borisova, Vassiliki Drakontidis
School 97 has been carrying out its own summer academy for several years, organized not only by current participants in A New Way to Teaching, but also alumni of Teach for Bulgaria who continue to teach at the school.
The academy this year was held at the end of June and covered 45 students from 1st to 3rd grade.
For two weeks in June, students broaden their worldview through a variety of themed days, a combination of individual activities and group work. The activities during the academy cover the following topics:
- Creativity – drawing on various topics, recreating cave paintings, bean mosaics; getting to know plants – real-life observations, creating a herbarium;
- Folklore – Bulgarian costumes and needlework, a class on pravo horo, thematic presentations;
- Dramatization of fairy tales, reading comprehension, health education, “Teddy Bear Hospital”,
- “Safari” with challenges in the school yard, School 97’s Got Talent, a culinary day with food preparation, etc.
Activities each day include daily student feedback, motor games, daily morning physical warm-up. In addition to lots of fun, the academy also engages the students in a charitable cause – the children craft items during the academy and participate in a Charity Bazaar for the benefit of their upper year student. The amount raised was impressive – 1,500 leva!
The greatest victory since the organization of the academy reported by the teachers is “The positive attitude of the students, who came not out of obligation, but with eagerness.
The fact that the students made at least one new friend, learned at least one new thing, and realized that they were good at at least one thing they hadn’t suspected before. The fact that they completely overcame the age gap in their communication and treated each other as equals.”
More about the fantastic summer academy of School 97 School can be seen on the photos on their Facebook page.
Care for nature, society and ourselves (From the inside out) for first graders in 90th school “Gen. Jose de San Martin”
Organized by the teachers Ivan Damianov and Kristian Georgiev
90th School in Lyulin is one of the host schools for the traditional Summer Academy of Teach for Bulgaria, but before the start of the twelfth academy, two teachers from the school organized a special experience for their first-graders. For two weeks in June, the school’s youngest students had the opportunity to improve their reading literacy through different approaches. They also developed skills to take care of themselves, the environment and the people around them through volunteering.
“Behind all this was the idea that everything depends on us and if we want something to improve, to become more beautiful, we have to be able to take care of it ourselves, because the change is inside us,” the initiators Ivan Damianov and Kristian Georgiev share.
The students live in the Lyulin district and have rarely had the opportunity to visit different sites, especially in a group, so the teachers included such mini-excursions in the first week as part of the lessons. Among them are – a visit to the zoo in Sofia, the botanical garden and the trail of “Health” in the town of Bankya. In the second week, students were busy cleaning around and in the school yard and visiting the Sports Museum in the Vasil Levski National Stadium, as well as the stadium itself and the Borisova Gradina Park.
At the end of the week, the activities ended with healthy cooking in the STEM center and a movies afternoon.
“Students demonstrated exceptional commitment throughout the project. Each day they came extremely charged and looking forward to the next experience that lay ahead. At all times they were actively involved in the various discussions and took an active part in the solution of the various tasks that we set for them. They demonstrated assimilation of new knowledge and understanding the importance of a person’s own attitude and what they themselves want to do. In their own words, the group visit to the various sites will remain an unforgettable memory for them,” Ivan and Kristian say, as they share more about the effect of the experience.
The two also share that the support they receive from their colleagues and the management of School 90, who are also involved in some of the activities, is extremely valuable to them.
See photos from the experience on the Facebook page of the project.
Friends of nature in the “Anton Strashimirov” elementary school, village of Bohot, Pleven region
Organized by the teacher Maria Borislavova
In her summer project, Maria Borislavova sets herself two goals: 1. For the students to take into account the viewpoint of anyone affected by their decisions, and 2. For the children to care about the environment and demonstrate this in their daily lives. In order to achieve these goals, the teacher has planned a variety of activities to encourage the development of cooperation, empathy, nature conservation and care, argumentation of decisions made by students, exchange of experience and motivation to attend school.
Among the activities that captivate the students from the very first day are cleaning the schoolyard from garbage, removing weeds, cleaning the village playground, etc. This is followed by activities such as planting flowers, bushes and trees, placing waste bins and other finishing works to beautify the school yard.
Gradually, with each activity, children learn to rely on each other more.
“The children loved the project activities – the fact that they work in groups with parents, teachers, friends, and can clearly see how the activities of planting, growing and cleaning the natural environment take place. They saw that everything is up to them and that they are a very important part of the world around them,” says teacher Maria Borislavova about the effect of the summer project.
She also says that the students make their own decisions about what should happen, and this motivates them to do their best, to be more motivated and diligent. In addition, they begin to value and protect the more welcoming environment they have created themselves.
The biggest achievement, according to the teacher, is:
“The students are willing to cooperate, work in a team, exchange experience, value their peers’ point of view, make their own decisions and justify their choices, take care of nature and its preservation.”
View photos from this project: