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Arts Count!
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The idea for this project emerged from the coordinator school's desire to improve its students' communication and mathematical skills, while applying an innovative approach based on artistic creativity and cooperative learning. It searched for partners who shared the same concern, which means that all the schools involved in this project have the same goals and motivation. This project’s aim is not only to improve the students' communicative and mathematical competences, but also to enhance their artistic creativity in order to boost the growth of cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor pathways together with attitudes of innovation, flexibility, initiative, teamwork, self-confidence, and critical thinking; to achieve this, cooperative learning strategies will be used. This partnership will also provide the teachers with the chance to get in touch with colleagues who share the same concerns and goals. So, although the project is pupil-focused, teachers will exchange ideas and methodology with partners to improve our teaching skills. We want our students to improve the way they search for and arrange information, to develop reading comprehension and writing skills, to better their oral presentation and public speaking abilitities and to deepen their knowledge of and appreciation for other cultures,especially their art and art history. We will also seek to promote the learning of other languages,to encourage interaction through them and to enhance artistic creativity. By putting maths in context the students will see the usefulness and importance of maths in real life. About 230 students between the ages of 13 and 16 and around 24 teachers will participate in this project.The students come from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Many of the Turkish students come from families with low incomes and with parents that in most cases are unschooled.The French students either come from underpriviledged families (such as factory or vineyard workers) or wealthier ones (such as winegrowers, doctors, lawyers) so with totally differen backgrounds. The Spanish students live in a rural area and many of their families live on ranching and agriculture or fishing. The economic level is not very high. The Croatian students live in a rural area and come from middle class families who live mostly on agriculture, mainly as winegrowers. Some of the students' parents are retired veterans.The Swedish students also live in a rural area and their families come mainly from the middle- and working class. There is a low rate of higher education and very few students have roots from non-Swedish cultures. The students will be involved in real communicative contexts. They will compose online webquests, write stories inspired by photos and paintings, create illustrations and graphic scripts based on stories created by their partner students. They will also make and edit videos to illustrate poetry reading, make their own songs from poems, participate in theatrical performances and record their own films. Cooperative learning methodology will be applied in order to instill in our students the idea that each individual’s success depends on the group's success; this is not only true in terms of school tasks, without the cooperation of its members, society cannot flourish. Morover,cooperative learning is regarded as one of the best work tools for students with learning difficulties and helps to prevent early school leaving by unmotivated students. In short, the results we pursue are to improve our students communication and mathematical skills through artistic creation and cooperative learning. As for the impact, improvement in their linguistic skills will mean progress in all subjects, since language is the key to knowledge. Integration of maths in the project will give meaningful contexts for students . Enhancing their artistic creativity will help their cognitive, emotional and social development. Cooperative learning will strenghthen the bonds between them and they will learn to work together to accomplish shared goals. Their future employability will also be improved. The families of the students will become more involved in the teaching and learning processes and in school activities. The local communities will also be enrichened by their younger members’ experiences and learning. Longer term benefits include: the use of a more pragmatic approach to the teaching of languages and maths; the integration of art into other curricular areas will instill the students with a greater sense of emotional investment in their classes; cooperative learning groups will turn classrooms into learning communities and increase collaboration between teachers. These innovative teaching techniques will be implemented at the schools, so their students will be prepared to be part of a society which needs creative individuals capable of communicating with each other and of working together to achieve common goals.

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