Arsakeio Gymnasium of Thessaloniki
Address: Elaiones, Pylaia, p.c. 555 35
Project: 10+1 reasons for being grateful every day
Working language during the project:
- English &
French (for other projects)
Themes of the Council of Europe campaign “FREE to SPEAK, SAFE to LEARN - Democratic Schools for All” covered:
- Making children’s and students’ voices heard
- Improving well-being at school
Competences from the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (CDC) addressed and where / how they were integrated:
- Openness to cultural otherness and to other beliefs, world views and practices
During the project’s presentation, the students expressed curiosity about and interest in discovering and learning about the views, the beliefs, the values and the practices of their peers. The mosaic created during the presentation helped the students develop emotional readiness and stability. Additionally, the students were able to relate to others who are perceived to be different from oneself
- Autonomous learning skills
Every student was able to select appropriate methods for accomplishing his/her task. The project gave students the opportunity to search, locate and gain access to various information resources, advice or guidance, which is required to address these needs. These resources included personal experiences, interactions and discussions with others in a digital classroom but also in a “special environment created because of the pandemic- their house”. They shared opinions and world views and they acquired skills, especially in the digital media (graphic design, image processing).
- Knowledge and critical understanding of the self
During the lockdown the students had the opportunity to think and recognize in a critical way their feelings, especially the things that made them grateful. This established a positive and constructive basis for the well-being of the students.
- Empathy- Respect
This project, carried out in a very difficult period for students of this age, led to an understanding that students from different backgrounds have the same psychological needs. The students showed respect towards the different forms of expression and the different communicative conventions (both verbal and non-verbal) that were created during this procedure (both online as well as after the lockdown).
Target group age range:
- 11 - 15
Level of education:
- Lower secondary education
Short description of the project:
10+1 reasons for being grateful every day is a project carried out in Arsakeio High school of Thessaloniki during the COVID-19 lock-down (from March until May 2020). Its aim was the creation of a digital collage by each student showing the reasons for being grateful, namely the persons, spaces, activities, things in general each student considers important in his/her life. Acknowledging all the benefits each student enjoys in his/her life results in feelings of gratefulness, self-esteem, self-efficiency, joy and strength for the confrontation of problems such as those of the lock-down, but also other problems in general. Additionally, the diversity of the reasons for gratefulness presented by each student reinforces the recognition and the acceptance of each person as a unique human being, worthy of other people’s respect and appreciation, whereas the reasons’ uniformity highlights all children’s common needs. In conclusion, this project aims at strengthening each student’s feeling of individuality, but also the feeling of belonging to a community.
The students’ voices are heard one after the other, their collages are presented all together, creating a colourful mosaic of images that depicts their world. A world that accepts, respects and depends on each one of its members, while at the same time constitutes a compact and coherent core, which emits its wonderful and life-giving qualities in the broader society.
The students were trained in graphic design and image processing, in order to compose images, photographs, graphic elements and text in a single collage that would present artistically each student’s unique realm.
The composition procedure involved several team presentations of each student’s work-in-progress, followed by discussions and feedback provided by the students themselves. The positive and stimulating environment in the digital classrooms, created by several discussions, resulted in strengthening each student’s feeling of self-confidence and sense of freedom to reveal information about him/herself to his/her classmates, thus strengthening their relationships.
The objectives of the “10+1 for being grateful everyday” program are:
- …to promote a common understanding among students.
- …to develop empathy skills.
- …to give the opportunity to express different values, opinions and attitudes.
- …to improve students’ confidence and self respect.
- …to improve communication among students.
- …to enhance partnership and cooperation.
- …to support/boost students’ mental health and wellbeing during lockdown.
As a result of the project, students learnt that gratitude allows them to celebrate the present, it dispels negative emotions, builds more resilience and cultivates a higher sense of self worth.
After getting into the spirit of feeling gratefulness, participants were more motivated to seize the day. They became friendlier, kinder, more enthusiastic and expressive. They were more connected to and satisfied with their friends, school, community and even themselves. Additionally, they felt optimistic and used the feeling of being grateful to form new social relations. Lastly, teachers and parents observed that participants were more competent in dealing with daily problems.
Challenges you faced
At the beginning of the program, we were concerned that some students might hesitate to express their opinions and expose their identity. However, we were pleased to find out that all participants were overjoyed that they could share thoughts with their peers.
Time-frame of the project:
March 2020- May 2020
Council of Europe materials on citizenship and human rights education used while preparing or implementing your practice:
- Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture
- All Different – All Equal