These last week I have been on our annual visit to Zaragoza, Spain with a group of 21 seventh graders. We have had a great time and also a great weather (this is not the rule when we go there) and that has made many of the activities easier to manage. I am responsible for the Swedish part of the exchange with my colleague Cecilia, and we have the privilege of going to Spain every year. In Zaragoza the teacher just have a one year responsibility for the exchange. This has benefits and drawbacks, but the greatest benefit is that is makes it possible to make very different activities when the teachers in charge change. This year Carlos and Gonzalo took care of us.
As always the visit brought our pupils many insights on the Roman history and the history of Zaragoza with the help of some of the excellent guides of the city. We have decided that our main theme in the exchange is always history, and in Spain the Swedish pupils get to know Roman times and in Sweden the Spanish pupills get to know our medieval history. When they come to Sweden we are going to have workshops on castles and visit Glimmingehus, guided by our ninth graders that study Spanish.
History, is however not all that is learnt during the week. What Carlos and Gonzalo did best this year was to create a sense of community among the pupils. They started the first day with different tasks to get to know each other and learn the names of all the participants of the exchange. They also, throughout the week, arrange all sorts of tasks that made the pupils collaborate and laugh together. We danced a lot, mainly "silly" dances. The pupils also built pyramids stacking themselves on top of each other, and other similar tasks. They had a great time och apparently felt more at ease with each other. This year we have not heard any complaints at all about it being hard to get to know the Spanish pupils. Normally some of them always have a bit of trouble getting to know each other, which is very normal when you see each other for the first time and have som language difficulties, but these years tasks creating a very nice group dynamic.