I’m going on holiday and I’m taking:
My country in a suitcase
The question: “How can our students experience the culture and living conditions of their peers in our partner school in Benin, without having to visit them?”
The answer GILKO Merelbeke and partner school École Primaire Wansokou in Toucountouna came up with: Select some typical Belgian or Beninese items, dishes or customs and put them in a suitcase headed towards the partner school. And so it came to pass ... the Belgian and Beninese suitcases were born.
The next question: “What do you pack in that suitcase?”
Invite students in both partner schools to bring items to class that they think are typical for their country and culture. Discuss them in class, make a selection, write a short manual for the selected items and/or make an accompanying illustrative video.
Pack the objects for the next visit to your partner school and exchange the suitcases. Take a moment to discuss the content of the suitcases with your colleagues in the partner school, so you can start using them immediately in class.
Pack the suitcase with items that are typical for your country and/or culture.
Blogging: a tool for interactive communication
A shared blog stimulates interactivity, increasing opportunities for exchange and involvement of both schools. Thanks to this platform, students (and teachers) can reach out to their peers when the necessity or use of an item from the suitcase is not entirely clear.
The blog has also proven to be a successful method to involve parents and the community in the school link, which further strengthens the project.
Let your imagination run wild, don't limit yourself to clichés.
Embrace the diversity in your own classroom and get to know your students’ everyday life. Allow your students’ inspiration to run wild and let them decide which items will be sent to the partner country.
Do not limit yourself to miniature versions of a famous statue, or a typical, well-known recipe from your country. Instead, pack the necessary components to craft the same birthday crown as the one you use in your class, for example. The students in your partner country will have so much fun!