Writing My Story For Endeavour

P1010936For my Endeavour this year I chose to write a story. My Story is about a Storm that hits the west coast of Scotland, when the storm hits a village in Scotland called Pugsville a family that are called the Camerons. One of their dogs run away then late at night they realize their dog is missing and they go looking for her.

Where Did I Get My Idea From?- Since I love reading and writing I thought I would do it as my Endeavour.

What Have I Achevied?- So far I have achevived my first draft of my story and some of my pictures.

Who Helped Me?- Mrs.Clark, Mrs.Cuthsworth and my mum.

What Will I Share With People At The End?- At the end I will try sell my book.

What Problems Have I Overcome?- The problem that I have overcome was finding out how to put my book onto a kindle.

How Did I Plan My Endeavour?- I planned my my characters by drawing them twice to see which one was better then I picked it to be in my book, I planned my story by doing a storyboard.



Fashion In The Past Century Endeavour

IMG_0422For 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.

Architecture Endeavour

IMG_0436This 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.

Wooden Toys Endeavour

IMG_0420My 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.


My Amazing Baking Project!

IMG_0028I 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.


Sweet Making Endeavour

IMG_0025For 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.


IMG_1588The 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 to100_9494 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.


What I Achieved Through The Holidays

oysterflyThrough the holiday I managed to achieve 2 walks up to Lagavulin with my mum and my dog both times , we didn’t meet anyone and 2 trips to the Singing Sands. The first time I went to the Singing Sands it was just me, my mum and my dog but the second time I went it was me, my mum, Emily, Eva, Charlet-Rose, Patricia, Eva’s Auntie Katie and Chloe. Eva’s mum and auntie brought their dogs as well and luckily there were no goats to chase!


I also managed to find a website called “plot a route.’’ It is where lots of people share different places to walk, cycle, run and many more activities. Its a great website:)



Here are some of our top tips for carrying out Endeavour:


Orienteering Club

On Monday afternoons after school ends Mrs Harrison takes orienteering club from 3:30pm to 4:30pm. It is for classes 4-7 it is a great way for the children to get fit and more healthy. We either do 3 courses or 1 course.  At the last club we did 3 courses, 2 timed ones and one just for fun.

The timed course had 3 different levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold. There were 10 numbers in all the courses you had to get as many numbers done in the fastest time you could. There was a tie for 1st place between Ruaraidh Macdonald and Bronagh Newman. In orienteering club we start 20 seconds after the  person in front so when you finish you take off your starting time. Today is the last orienteering class before the holiday.

We have all enjoyed it!


A Little Update On My Endeavour

The past few weeks I have been visiting quite a lot of places. So far I have been up to Ardtalla, Claggan Bay, Ardnave Point and many more, I have also been a couple of places on horse back. Me and my mum have taken the camera every place we go, which means I have been sticking and writing, sticking and writing in my Explorers Log!

I am also planning on making a little collage of photos on the laptop and will add some information of the places I have been.

So far my favourite place has been Ardnave because there is a beautiful lake, lots of sheep and when I was there what two beautiful swans were gliding across the lake.

We had to obey the countryside code and close all gates which you MUST keep shut unless you want chasing after you!!





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.

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.

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.

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.

100_8227Maisie 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 100_8228ingredients 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.

IMG_1601We 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.

IMG_0168Emma 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.

new endeavour planner



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.

Endeavour task management rubrik

Endeavour information rubrik

Endeavour presentation rubrik


At the end of the project children complete an assessment sheet with teacher and parents input, and there is also a review presentation.


Endeavour review

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.

100_8226Resources 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.

IMG_1601Since 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.

Endeavour questionnaire(1)




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.

quiltIn 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


My New Endeavour Project

Hi my name is Natalie and I am doing an Endeavour project, and I thought I would share it with the world. Endeavour is an independent project where you choose your own project and learn about it for eight months and in June we have a big fair and share our learning with friends and family. For my Endeavour I chose “Walks Around Islay.” I chose this project because there are ALOT of places on Islay I have never been, and I would like to find out some information/ history about Islay. So every so often I will share some information and history about place I have been on Islay.

The people that are able to help me are my family,  Walk Islay and mainly people that would like to go for a walk or another place that they have been before or a new place.

I planed my project with my mum and we had a wee chat about something she would be able to help me with and we could go places together in the holidays.

At the end of my project I will have an Explorers Book, A Collage of photos and maybe a book of information.

To Sum Up What We Have Achieved

Port Ellen Primary School P5/6/7 has been learning how to Orienteer. To sum up what they have achieved is quite remarkable.What they have been doing in oreeinteering this year such as making some course challenges, made a map of the school grounds, Google Maps course around Port Ellen, and they made a course round Islay on a map and put QR codes round the school .

The School got a grant of 2,000 so the school thought it would be a good idea to buy water proofs and other outdoor achievement for orienteering and other outside activates with the school. They have recently done a Google Maps course round Port Ellen with videos and pod casts.

I know they have been very successful in there orienteering topic and we hope they can continue this topic.

Pontoons-Checkpoint Green E

If you are at this checkpoint you will be able to see the ferry, the Port Ellen Lighthouse and the lookout hut.  The pontoons are for people to keep their boats at when visiting Port Ellen.  There is an information board showing where the free spaces are for mooring your boat.  One of the things we like to do at the pontoons is crabbing.  Here is a video explaining how to do it.



Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 22.52.22
Part of the Successful Learners skills ladder

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!

Welcome to Endeavour- Developing Skills for Life, Learning and Work

ENDEAVOUR: Verb   try hard to do or achieve somethingNoun  an attempt to achieve a goal.

tess4_110113The 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.  100_7215Then 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.