Elementary School ‘Mladost’ (Knjaževac) is different from most schools in Serbia since almost all pupils come from vulnerable groups. Starting as the State Home for the Enrolment and Protection of Child Orphans, founded in 1945, it has developed to school that implements the curriculum and examination program for students with behavioural disorders since 1997.
This curriculum was adapted to a given category of students who, in addition to behavioural disorders, often had mild mental difficulties, motor restlessness, poor visual-motor coordination, slow response, poor vocabulary, reading and writing difficulties, verbal communication difficulties, problems with learning, reduced attention and the absence of abstract thinking. In addition, there are social and emotional immaturity and undeveloped work and hygiene habits of students.
Students from all over Serbia have been enrolled in this school based on referrals from the Centres for Social Welfare. The students are mostly from a group of children with problems in behaviour, often with combined developmental and learning difficulties. About 60% of students live without parental care mainly due to abuse and neglect in the family. All students have Individual plans for development of social skills. Those plans are developed in cooperation with the main teacher, psychologist and carers.
The programme 21st Century Schools was implemented in the school in 2019 and students from grade 8 were actively involved in the project as well as a group of four teachers. The school managed to adopt the project and tailor the project expectations in line with the specific capacities of the school students. About five students from the grade eight actively participated in the project and they were all enthusiastic and positively reacted to the activity. Eight grade students were chosen because they have had the biggest authority and could protect Miro:bit devices from being stolen or lost. Although, the capacity of students is not up to the level of their peers in regular schools, teachers took on a lot of responsibility to create a project that is suitable and interesting for them and that will provide positive learning outcomes for them.
Project "Measuring temperature"
Students were invited to participate in measuring temperature on regular bases by using micro:bits. They were helped by their teachers in programming the devices, but they were asked to keep track of the temperature of different areas of the school by using the device.
Benefits have been noticed in relation to the knowledge and attitudes of the group of students involved in the project. Students learned basic temperature measures and it was nicely incorporated in the regular curriculum. They also increased their knowledge about temperature and the idea of solar energy.
Students also were proud that they were given responsibility to protect Micro:bit devices from other students. This helped them to develop sense of responsibility because they got a task to care about something. They were very persistent and consistent.
"They really had fun while participating in this project."- Teacher