Thursday 25th February 2016
The workshop began with a brief and simple reception of the European partners at the School, after which we left for Monfragüe National Park. The visit to the park was held the first day for organizational reasons imposed by the park authority.
In Villarreal de San Carlos, after a walk around, we visited the museum where a guide explained the different ecosystems, the park's biodiversity, climate and other environmental details necessary to understand the richness of this natural space.
Then we moved to the place known as 'The Fountain of the Frenchman' and from there we began our way up to the castle, along “The Shady Path”, accompanied by a park guide who gave us interesting facts about the fauna and flora of the area.
Once we reached the castle we had a little rest and we could enjoy the spectacular views and stunning flight maneuvers that the numerous vultures offered. Then, we began the way down along the Sunny Side of the mountain, which took us to the bus and then to the River “Tajo” near the place known as The jump of the Gipsy 'Salto del Gitano' from where with ground-based telescopes equipment from the park and the invaluable help of the guides could observe black storks, vultures and hawks among other birds that inhabit the park.
At this point we ended our visit to the park and set out for the Natural Monument of the Barruecos where we could appreciate the amazing landscape of granite boulders and visit the 'Museum Vostel Malpartida'.
This visit gave us the chance to admire not only the work of this outstanding artist of German origin who lived in Extremadura, but also that of other artists of the Fluxus group to which he belonged. The interest lies not just in the content of the museum, but also in the building where the art collections are housed today. This building in the best times of transhumance was an important wool laundry, from which many remains have been restored with special care and respect to the original.
Before setting off on the journey back to Badajoz we had a snack in the pleasant surroundings of the Barruecos.
Friday 26th February 2016
The working day started at 8.15 a.m. at the school. Our colleague Juan Hipólito and Czech Republic teacher Vojtěch Lacman shared with us the Joint Teaching from the Spanish workshop. Based on CLIL methodology, the students worked in groups in a session divided into three parts.
Once the whole class activity was finished, and with no time lost, we took the bus to San Vicente de Alcántara, where we could get a vast knowledge about the most important industrial activity which has to do with the use of natural resources in Extremadura: cork industry. We visited two factories for cork processing, handling and production in San Vicente de Alcántara.
At the first one we got information about the necessary steps to process the raw material for later production of cork manufacture.
At the second factory we witnessed the whole process for making cork tops for bottles.
After lunch we visited the Cork Museum where we could know about cork industry from a historical, environmental and commercial point of view.
To finish the working day, we visited the Centre for the Interpretation of Nature ALAS, about the Natural Park “Sierra de San Pedro”.
There were no guides for English speakers available at this centre, so our students Paco Pérez, Lorena Vélez and Samuel Cosme translated explanations and comments from the museum guide into English, with great suitability.
In the evening teachers from Bárbara de Braganza School organized a social dinner for the rest of the teachers from partner schools. There, all attendants could have a wine tasting guided by oenologist and wine expert Carlos Cabo.
At the end, we could taste all dishes cooked by the teachers and finally we officially gave presents each other.
Saturday 27th February 2016
On the third day, we devoted our day to Badajoz.
We started at the “Plaza Alta” (High Square) where we placed the starting point for the main activity in the morning: a cultural gymkhana (scavenger hunt) to get knowledge about the history of Badajoz, its foundation and the green heart of the town: the arab citadel and its surroundings.
Teachers and students in multinational groups participated in the activity. Students from our school helped as guided assistants in each post (10) of the map.
Once this activity finished, we met at Santa María Square to start an official sightseeing tour around the town. We started the tour at the Museum of the City “Luis de Morales” and the ending-point was the Museum of Carnival.
The tour included some historical sites such as San Pedro and Menacho Streets, La Soledad Square and charming parks like “La Galera” Gardens. It was a really nice walking tour livened by historical and social illustrations performed by Emilio Píriz, from media agency “La curiosidad del viajero” (Traveller's curiosity), throughout the tour.
Lunch on this third day was organized at the school by host families, who prepared their best dishes in honour of our guests. During this lunch-meeting, teachers and students shared experiences with the Spanish families involved.
After lunch, participants could enjoy spare time visiting other places in town, going shopping, or simply walking along some beautiful parks in Badajoz.
In the evening all teachers had an official dinner organized by Bárbara de Braganza School in honour of participant teachers at the event.
Sunday 28th February 2016
Olivenza and its surroundings was our destination on this holiday.
We started a guided visit of the main monuments: Villa, Santa Casa de Misericordia chapel, La Magdalena y Santa María del Castillo churches, the medieval wall and the city Hall with its amazing manueline door, among others.
Then we visited the local etnographic museum “González Santana” where the students carried out a didactic activity in the traditional farming equipment hall. After that they kept on visiting the museum.
We also enjoyed an Olivenza panoramic sight from the top of the tribute tower in the castle that all the students and teacher liked.
To finish the city centre visit we moved to a near museum called “Papercraft” where everybody looked for his favourite animal, character or building in cities all over the world scale models. Everything is 3D made, just using paper.
Lunchtime was about to start so we went to Villareal pier restaurant in Guadiana river shore. After having lunch we had fun with a little journey by the river.
A river side walk allowed us to enjoy the two sides landscape. In this way, we could appreciate the differences between the more natural and perserved landscaped in the right side, with the Portuguese Juromenha castle; and the human impact in the left side, where the main part of the area is dedicated to fruit orchards.
After all these activities we came back to Badajoz.
Monday 29th February 2016
The morning began with a tour around the school's facilities, classrooms, labs, library, offices and other workspaces.
After the visit, students attended classes with their partners while teachers learned about the advantages of working with the interactive whiteboard (IWB).
Students continued the day with the educational activity 'Seek, Find Nature and Picture it', where they learned the basis for successful nature photographs.
Teachers meanwhile gathered in “the official working meeting of the Spanish workshop” to discuss the details of the project facing the next period of work.
When both activities finished, in the auditorium teachers and students together enjoyed the musical shows performed by Spanish students in the farewell ceremony.
To end the morning, we had a festive activity of coexistence in the playground of the school. Everybody sang and danced dances that celebrate friendship and companionship.
by Vicente Paredes (Spanish teacher)