For my Endeavour this year I am studying clothes in the past 100 years because I am really interested in what people wore in the past compared to what people wear now. I got my idea from sewing and clothes designing because it includes sewing and different clothes designs. I planed my Endeavour with a long term planner which helps me with what I am doing for as long as I do Endeavour this year and I also use a short term planner which I use to help me plan what I am going to do for our Endeavour afternoon on Thursdays. I have achieved sewing my drindle skirt from the 1950s but I still need to finish another dress. For my Endeavour Mrs MacFarlane has helped me and so has my Mum. At the end of my Endeavour I will have two dresses to show.
This year my Endeavour is Architecture. I got the idea of doing Architecture because I don’t know anything about Architecture and I wanted to learn more about it. I have achieved a model house, a plan for my model and lots of research to help do my Endeavour. I planned my Endeavour by doing my long term planner. Long term planner is a planner that has writing on it which what I wanted to do in my endeavour. A problem I have overcome is when I was making my house it broke and I had to start again. My mum has helped me with my Endeavour at home and my teacher Mrs Clark has helped me in school and a teacher from the high school Mr Pollack sent me an email. At the end of my Endeavour I will have to show my model house my plan for it research and a big board of what I have have done in my Endeavour.
My Endeavour is on making wooden toys. I choose this Endeavour because I wanted to try something new and this year your Endeavour had to relate to the world of work. This project I can sell the products I make to people at the Endeavour fair.
I got my idea one night when I was watching my dad make a gate for where he was working this inspired me to chose this project.
I got my plan from looking on the internet where I saw loads of cute and really good ideas so I took some put them together and made my plan.
I have achieved lots of things like a pram, 2 jigsaws, lots of plans and wooden box with alphabet letter.
I have been doing a Endeavour Project on Baking. I chose Baking for my Endeavour because I had never done Baking before. I planned it by using a Endeavour planner. I wrote all the things that I wanted to do for it. I have achieved doing baking for all the class and making pizza for the whole school to eat. I have also achieved on nearly doing my Recipe Book with all the recipes that I have cooked so far. There has been a few problems that I have overcome. Sometimes I can’t go baking with Mary because she is busy and I had problems when I could not find books with recipes that I need in them. Mrs MacFarlane helped me when I was going baking at school. Mrs Holyoake also helped me by lending me her recipes for me to use. Out of school, Holly’s gran Mary helped me bake things for my sisters bake sale for her Endeavour. Nearly every Saturday, I go to Mary’s house to do some baking. At the Endeavour fair, I will be showing a recipe book, A taste table with all the recipes typed on a sheet of paper, and a video of me baking, and top 5 recipes that you can bake at home.
For my Endeavour this year I have picked to do sweet making. The reason I have picked to do sweet making is because I really like sweets and I really wanted to learn how to make them myself. I have made lots of diffrent types of sweets such as honeycomb, peppermint creams and lots more. The only problem I have had so far with my Endeavour is running out of time for the sweet to set so I had to leave the sweet till the next day. Mrs MacFarlane has helped me in the kitchen with making sweets and she has also helped me come up with sweets to make for the week after. At the end of my Endeavour I will have lots of sweets to show and for people to try and a video of me making sweets and I will share some recipes and even have invented my own sweets.
The culmination of the Endeavour project for the students is the Endeavour fair. For primary 7 pupils they join other primary 7s from around the island in High School for an afternoon alongside S1 and S2 pupils to showcase their learning. There is also an Endeavour fair in school for P5-7.
The High School Endeavour fair is an opportunity for students to see what others have managed to achieve in their projects and chat with them about their journey. Teachers from High School also have a chance to meet with students and discuss their learning alongside members of the public. It is a great opportunity for children to demonstrate their communication and presentation skills.
Our school fair is always widely supported by parents and we have had food, cake, plants for sale, live lobsters and chicks and exploding volcanoes to entertain the visitors, as well as music and videos and games. Sharing the learning is the final an most crucial part of the Endeavour project and it is an opportunity and motivation for children to make the effort to complete their projects.
Here are the outlines for some of the projects carried out in 2014:
I will research the care of chickens, chicken housing and breeds of chicken. I will build a model chicken coop, then use this as a model to build my own house. Having persuaded Mrs Macdonald to have chickens in school I will then incubate and hatch the chickens.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL DISASTERS
I am interested in learning about natural disasters, what causes them and how climate change may have an effect. This will involve a lot of research, and I also hope to make experiments that look at the effects of climate.
I am interested in setting up my own garden at home with raised beds, and planting and managing the school croft. I will write to the Beechgrove garden for advice, will need to research vegetables and growing conditions, build and maintain my garden. We could use vegetables grown in the school croft for a café.
I would like to work in an office when I grow up and so I have decided to learn about the skills needed to work in an office. I will create spread sheets, learn about keeping books and get experience working in an office for my dad and in school. At the end I will be able to make a working model of an office.
In school we have learned about health and I wanted to try and become more healthy by learning about keeping fit. I will walk and do fitness at home, research fitness techniques and run a fitness afternoon at school.
I will research tribes around the world and the different survival skills they have learned. Looking at survival skills, I will try different activities such as foraging, lighting fires and building shelters and then use these to organise a trip into the wilderness where I will need to apply my skills.
HORSE RIDING INSTRUCTOR
I would like to be a horse riding instructor so I plan to learn all aspects of horse riding, including making a labelled model and writing a blog. I hope to teach someone from my class to ride a horse and make a video of how to tack a horse.
WRITE MY OWN BOOK
I enjoy reading and writing so I have decided to write my own book for my Endeavour project. I will research top tips, plan my plot and then write and edit the story, getting people to read and suggest improvements as I go.
For my Endeavour I want to learn how to sew and make my own clothes and other items. I plan to make a skirt and top, as well as a bag which means I need to learn how to use a pattern, sew by hand, use a sewing machine and design clothes.
A popular area for Endeavour projects has been cooking. We are very lucky at Port Ellen to have our own teaching kitchen area and take advantage of it for children wishing to cook or bake for their Endeavour.
Maisie used the kitchen extensively to create beauty products like smoothies and face masks for her 2014 Endeavour, and even persuaded some of the boys to try it! She also researched the impact of the beauty industry on the environment and animal welfare, and enjoyed creating her own eco-friendly beauty products.
Abbie was a joint winner of the first Endeavour award for her cookery book on international cooking. She would bring in ingredients every week for recipes around the world and would then feed the class, who would give her feedback on the project. I really enjoyed her Indian onion chutney.
We have had two trainee bakers, Annie and Natalie. Both baked the guess the weight of the Christmas cake for the school fair and sold their cakes as businesses, developing skills for the world of work at the same time. Both made birthday and Christmas cakes, and their baking was amazing as you can see from the photo. You can read Natalie’s cake blog in the link on the right.
Emma also enjoyed developing her skills in the kitchen. She was learning to cook and develop independence in the kitchen, shopping for food, finding all the equipment, following a recipe and cleaning up afterwards. Despite her communication difficulties she enjoyed working with other children and learned skills for life.
Over time we have developed a lot of different resources to help provide structure to Endeavour through a process continuous improvement and tweaking. The planners and assessment rubriks used are not essential to the project, but do help guide the process.
Initial planning for Endeavour is key and children fill out this planner at the start of the project to guide them to the finish line. This long term planner is then broken down over time into medium and short term plans, the short term planner being based on a simple plan, do, review format (see below). We also carry out a SWOT analysis so children can assess the likely success of their project.
Children also regularly carry out peer and self assessment tasks over the course of the project to check they are making progress. There are task management, collating information and presenting rubriks.
At the end of the project children complete an assessment sheet with teacher and parents input, and there is also a review presentation.
All these documents are useful tools in the management of Endeavour, and are applied rationally over time to ensure high quality self evaluation of progress and of their own project, and should always be accompanied by lots of class, peer and teacher discussion.
In the first year of Endeavour all the schools involved worked closely and held several discussions to assess the impact of the project, as well as surveying the views of parents and children. Some of the key issues we had included finding space in the curriculum, resources and ensuring all children could achieve at the correct level.
Space in the curriculum is limited and we were allocating an afternoon a week for at least two terms in the year, so we had to justify this use of time. The depth of learning achieved and the skills of planning, time management, researching and presentation developed meant we were confident children were achieving skills that would be invaluable in their future learning and careers. The results the children produced at the end confirmed this, but the projects required careful management and direction at the outset if they were to work.
Resources were another key issue. Some projects required the purchase of equipment and it should not be expected that parents will provide all the resources. In the first year the authority provided some funding, but since then we have managed any extra costs through the school budget. These have included the purchase of a sewing machine, soldering equipment and electronics, and model airplane kits. Human resources are also key; as the teacher the project can be difficult to manage if the expectation of the child being responsible for their own learning is not clear at the start. This can be challenging for some and they may require more structure and support to succeed. The use of classroom assistants and local community members can be invaluable here; this year I have a classroom assistant supervising baking, a former headteacher supporting learners and a member of the community teaching sewing skills. However in my first year I managed with no extra adult support.
Ensuring all children achieve and that they are focused on their work can be tricky. Most are motivated to work hard because they chose the topic, but ensuring planning at the start is detailed really helps keep them on track. Endeavour works well for all children as what they do and how they show their learning is chosen by the child; children who are reluctant writers can achieve a lot through practical work or film or presentations. A child with autism and communication difficulties was able to complete successfully two years of Endeavour on cooking and trips around the island.
We gave out questionnaires in the first year to parents and children and the response was very positive. Everyone felt they enjoyed the project and that it was worthwhile. Some parents felt children needed more help and some children would have liked more time in class to complete their project. More regular peer and self assessments were introduced to ensure children were on track and challenging themselves to the same level as their peers.
Since the implementation of Endeavour children are always excited to know when their project will start, and we have now rolled it out throughout the school at early and first level in the form of mini endeavours, where children apply similar skills at an appropriate level and with more support over just a term. Children have a better set of key skills for life, learning and work and are able to apply them across the curriculum; children are more independent in their learning and able to make decisions about how and what to learn. They are also more prepared for High School and future careers. You can access the questionnaire we used below.
One of the key features that helps build a successful Endeavour is having the children get advice from experts. At the start of the project I have the children write a persuasive letter to an expert in the field, usually someone who uses key skills relevant to the Endeavour in their job. In the letter they ask key questions that will help them in their project. I am always surprised by how often they receive helpful replies and how motivated they become as a result. Contacting people locally and further afield to ask for advice and help with the project shows the children that their projects are real and valid, and it is also very exciting when a letter arrives in the post! Letter writing and communicating successfully with others is also a useful skill for work.
In the first year of the project a local architect sent a series of letters to Scott explaining how the house design process works. Sometimes help is more direct; Jason was contacted and video-conferenced with a nuclear engineer on electronics, while Helen and Elinor had the local wildlife photographer visit to tell them how to take great photos for their wildlife related projects.
In 2014 Beth’s project on puppet making was helped when she used Twitter to converse with Steve Hewlett, the ventriloquist from Britain’s got Talent, about her project. Elizabeth received a letter from Manran encouraging her in her Gaelic singing project, while Cameron was in regular email contact with the Beechgrove Garden team about his croft. Often we receive gifts as well; Asher was sent survival books and Torin was very excited to receive video games through the post for his game design project. Local help came in the form of weekly visits from the local quilters association to help Danni with her Islay quilt, while local bakers posted baking equipment to Annie for her cake business.
2015 and Beth visited the RSPB for her bird anatomy project, while Emily and Jodie visited local wool makers. Eleanor worked with the local dietitian on delivering healthy eating advice to the school and Oliver received a letter from a physicist at St Andrews university advising him on his project on quantum mechanics. This year Eva received advice from the director of the Royal Shakepeare company on her project on Shakespearean monologues, and Kaitlyn received freshwater pearls from a jewellery designer in the post for her jewellery making topic.
People are invariably kind and generous with their time and help and we have been very lucky to be supported in this way by so many.
Here is a list of other projects tackled in 2013 to give an idea of the range of areas tackled.
HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE
My uncle is building a house and I decided to find out more about the process involved in building a house. I researched architectural design, writing to a local architect, as well as plumbing, joinery and electrical fittings, and elarned how to draw plans. I designed my own house using Google Sketch up and even built a model.
WHALE AND DOLPHIN MAGAZINE
I researched potential threats to the habitats of whales and dolphins on the west coast of Scotland, with help from SNH, HWDT and by visiting the Islay Wildlife Centre. I created and edited a magazine and learned how to work to a deadline, and sent copies of my final magazine to the HWBT.
I found out how to become an excellent footballer, researching how top footballers learn how to play. I found out how to improve my own skills, then planned a series of coaching sessions to improve the skills of others. I had advice from a coach from the SFA and our active schools co-ordinator to help, and I set up a football skills club in school.
VIDEO GAME DESIGN
I designed and created my own video game using programming skills and the software Kodu. I managed my time, planned my game using storyboards and learned how to deal with problems. At the end I had a full game people got to play and I entered the Kodu cup.
I was interested in finding out about different ways that can be used to help people relax when they are stressed. I needed to research how the body works when stressed, and how effective different methods of relaxation are. At the end of my project I created a CD of relaxing sounds recorded on Islay along with a presentation and leaflet.
I was interested in finding out how different electronic gadgets are made and work, and wanted to make my own remote controlled vehicle using my own electronic circuits. I researched and investigated the workings of electronic items, and learned how to solder my own simple circuits that do things like make noises and light lights. I had a video conference with a nuclear engineer about my project and in the end built my own remote control tank.
WHISKY DISTILLING AT LAPHROAIG DISTILLERY
I visited the distillery and interviewed the workers and the manager to find out about whiskey distilling at Laphroaig. I needed to manage my time, plan and organise, find out about whisky distilling and I then created a leaflet from my research.
HOW A ENGINE WORKS
I learned how an internal combustion engine works and created several diagrams to explain the process. I built a working model combustion engine and visited the local garage to find out how a real engine works.
Music was a popular theme in the first year of Endeavour. Three girls worked on different projects that built on existing skills they had in learning musical instruments, but increased the level of challenge. They were all keen on careers in the music industry. These projects exemplify the different levels of success that can occur with Endeavour, and highlights some of the challenge children face.
A P7 girl who played the tin whistle and piano wanted to write and record her own song as a music video. She successfully researched different types of music and styles and along with the other two performers contacted the High School music teacher who kindly came in on several weeks during his free periods to support them in their Endeavours. However she struggled to compose the music she wanted because her level of understanding of music was not high enough. She instead focused more on improving her skills at the piano and composing a simple tune, and was happy at the end with what she achieved.
A P6 girl who was learning to play the piano decided she would compose, play and record her own piece of Scottish piano music. She learned the different types of tune and learned to play examples of each before composing a simple tune of her own. She was more successful as her Endeavour was less ambitious and in line with her skill set.
Another P7 girl who was learning the accordion and was an accomplished Highland Dancer wanted to compose a piece of Scottish music for her accordion which she would record and then invent her own dance to go with the music which she would then video. She was able to learn a suitable tune, but composing and creating a new dance were more challenging. In the end she used an existing tune which she then learned to play and created a dance with steps to fit the tune before recording it as a video, dancing and playing-although not simultaneously! She was applying new skills of combining her talents and videoing them, and you can see the finished video below.
Another one of the projects from 2013 was carried out by a Primary 6 boy who was interested in wilderness survival and wanted to take up Kayaking, as there is a local club on Islay. He planned to carry out a kayaking expedition to Jura, the neighbouring Island, with his dad.
There were a lot of challenging skills to be learned for this project which involved careful planning. After he organised a meeting with a local coastguard he encountered his first problem; the currents between Islay and Jura are too strong to safely Kayak. He then altered his plans to make the trip to one of the small uninhabited islands off the coast of Islay. Attending Kayak club weekly with his father he built up his skills, and in school he used maps to prepare his route, learning about tides and prevailing winds. Using examples from his father’s work he made his own risk assessments that included detailed plans of what to do in an emergency. He finally took the trip to Texa island, camping overnight and successfully concluded his Endeavour. Motivated by his interest in the project, this learner was successfully able to apply new skills in a meaningful context, and although the project was not directly related to a future career, the skills he developed would be useful in any career path he might choose. He even recorded his endeavours in a blog: http://1kidskayakingadventer.blogspot.co.uk/
In the first year of Endeavour there was some trepidation as to whether the project could work. To me the key to the success of Endeavour was children working independently and being challenged. This meant support of planning and monitoring of progress but not having adults do the project for the children; support from home was purely in providing opportunities and resources. I did not want children coming in to school with lovely posters or models that their parents had spent hours preparing for them. I also needed children to take on tasks that challenged them suitably through developing new skills and knowledge- they had to come across problems and find solutions and if that wasn’t happening then the project was not challenging enough.
In the first year of Endeavour one of the outstanding projects was a documentary on sheep farming which was made my a primary 7 girl who lived on a farm. In order to make the project challenging she had to do more than present what she already knew about farming in a powerpoint. She decided to create a documentary on a year in the life of a sheep farmer, and her key new skills were learning how to make a documentary film. After analyzing some David Attenborough documentaries she was able to plan how her film would look using a storyboard.
At each stage in the sheep farming cycle she would film the process on the farm and then bring the video into school to edit and add narration. She recorded every stage of the process; from her lambing a sheep to selling her own sheep at the local auction mart, for which she was given the morning out of school. She even organised a visit to the abattoir with the local Vet, and filmed the final stage of the process, with the vet showing her the anatomy of the sheep. This part of the filming process was not included in the final cut for viewing audiences however! She also identified key areas of knowledge she would need as a sheep farmer, such as diseases and official record keeping, and researched these often challenging areas very successfully. The final film was a big hit at the Endeavour presentation to parents and was a true reflection of the hard work and independent learning involved. Although supported by her parents in accessing resources, the work was all her own, and an excellent example of how Endeavour can work well.
You can see the video below:
P5/6/7 have recently started Endeavour. They all get to pick there own topic for 6 months and before they get started they always get a computer to do there plan for the 6 months, so for instance you can plan what you would do January to February. You have to make your Endeavour ambitious. It has to be something that you can write and research about. Your Endeavour has to be something achievable. Then if you can do the six months complete your teacher will call you a star.
During the pilot process we worked with other schools on Islay, Jura and Kilmodan in developing Endeavour, although each school took a slightly different approach in the way it was structured that suited their individual situations. As a group we identified skills development as the key structure for the project; children would be choosing from a wide range of topics with vastly different areas of learning and specific skills but all of them could focus on assessing specific transferable skills-skills, for life, learning and work. On Islay and Jura we had developed our own skills ladder based around the four capacities and related transferable skills that would be applicable in the world of work. It was the skills for successful learners and confident individuals that the children would focus on developing through their Endeavour; most regularly plan do review, inviting feedback and sharing learning from Successful Learners.
Space needed to be created in the curriculum for Endeavour, and we decided an afternoon a week was necessary to allow children enough time to develop their projects in depth. Because we were covering different skills in such depth it was felt that this was justifiable, and the personalisation of children’s learning was also a key aim we could fulfill.
To ensure children were focused and managing their time well (Confident Individuals), a plan do review (Successful Learners) structure was used to manage the projects. Over time children filled out long term, medium and short term planners. Once a term they would work in pairs to discuss and assess their Endeavour progress based on questions on an assessment peer review sheet; they would also be monitored by myself at the start through planning meetings and during the term to ensure progress was being made. The ethos of Endeavour is very much independent learning, and your role is less that of teacher and more that of coach or mentor. It was really important that children developed project management skills and used them without being over managed by myself, even if that meant at times they hit problems. I would offer advice on how to manage any problems that arose, but I had to resist the urge to do it for them if I was to help them become more resilient and independent. And I was regularly surprised by how much they could achieve on their own, and how well they dealt with challenges they faced.
Short term planning happened at the start of each lesson; children would review the previous session and then plan their activities for the afternoon. Some found this planning quite hard to manage initially and needed support, but by the end of the year they could clearly see the benefits. They would carry out their tasks and at the end write down what they had achieved and next steps. Sharing learning was one of the key aims of Endeavour and at the end of each session two children would present their learning to the rest of the class, with a question and answer session afterwards. These sessions are invaluable for children to think through their projects, and the questioning from other children was always surprisingly perceptive and testing. Oh, and I would often use these sessions as a talking and listening assessment for my records!
ENDEAVOUR: Verb try hard to do or achieve something. Noun an attempt to achieve a goal.
The online dictionary definition of the word Endeavour neatly sums up the ethos behind this learning project, begun in 2012. As a teacher I want to challenge and motivate my students in their learning and help them deal with setbacks and problems whilst allowing them ownership of their learning. Students now have so many opportunities available to them that allow them to take their learning in new directions. School projects in my day involved trawling through the limited information available in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ladybird books or the teacher’s general knowledge, and then copying images neatly into a jotter and summarising the key facts. Today I can remember very little of the different breeds of dogs or the Kings and Queens of Britain…
The students who have worked on the Endeavour projects in the three years since it began will hopefully have a much clearer recollection of their learning in the future, and may even be able to relate the skills they began to develop in primary school to those required in their future careers. The personalisation and choice of developing your own project, the usefulness of transferable skills development and the satisfaction of solving problems independently will surely have a more significant impact on their future selves.
One of the first Endeavour participants in primary 7. Keen to be a fisherman like his father this boy wanted to use Endeavour to develop his own lobster fishing business. He wrote to the business teacher at the High School to find out how to do accounts correctly and received a wealth of information, from which he set up spreadsheets to record the lobsters he sold to his father. Then he researched the costs of buying fishing boats online and looked into finance, calculating how much he would need to save up for a deposit. He also researched the life cycle of a lobster and the importance of ethical fishing practices to maintain lobster numbers for the future and created a photo diary explaining the process behind lobster fishing. In the final Endeavour showcase he bought into school lobsters which he sold for a good profit to teachers and parents- they were extremely tasty!
In his Endeavour project he was able to develop the skills for work and possible future career that were relevant to him, and was far more motivated than in other areas of his learning as a consequence. Endeavour projects are a great way to develop skills for life, learning and work in school.