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.

100_7169A 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.

A Scottish Performance By Emily Logan from Jo Clark on Vimeo.



kayakAnother 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.

kayak2There 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.


sheepIn 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:

SHEEPS YEAR from Jo Clark on Vimeo.


Compass Points


We have been learning about compass points because it helps us with our orienteering because you need to know your compass points to get to the markers. Here are all the compass points are north represented by an N then there is north-east represented by an NE after that there is east represented by an E then there is south east represented by a SE then there is then there south represented by an S and that is half the circle. Then on the other half of the circle, there is south west represented by SW then there is west represented W then there is north-west is represented by NW then is north again. There is a degree for each compass point which helps you to know if you’re facing the right way. When you change the degrees  to north to east or to east to south you add 45 degrees on because each turn you do you add 45 degrees. North is either 360 or 0 and north-east is 45 degrees. East is 90 because 45 add 45 is 90 degrees. South east is 125 degrees. South is 180 degrees. South west is 225. West is 270 degrees and north west is 315. Then back to north which is 0 degrees.



The bearing of a point is the angle measured from the north line. Bearings help you find your destination so if you are new town bearings can help you around the place.

bearThis diagram shows compass points and the bearings plus the angles of a compass.  You can see the bearing of A from B is 065° and from B from A is 245°.



This is a triangle that is labelled a to b b to c and c to a.

A to B = South West

B to C = South East

C to A = North West


This is a hexagon labelled a b c d e f: A to B =south west

B to C= South C to D = South East  D to E = North East E to F= North F to A =North West

By Ruaraidh and Rowan at Port Ellen Primary School



Maps, Grid References And Coordinates

There are 2 lines that are on all maps and they are called the vertical and the horizontal lines. They are always in a straight line and they either go up and down or across the way. Grid references are between the lines which make it look like a maths square that has numbers. The difference between grid references and coordinates is that coordinates are where the lines meet and grid references are in between the lines. We are learning about grid references in school and we already know six figure grid references and four figure references. Every ordnance survey map in the world has a six figure grid references and a four figure grid references for every place. We also learnt about coordinates. We played battleships to help understand grid references. We know you say the horizontal line first and the vertical line after. The horizontal line is the X axis at the bottom and the vertical line is the Y axis.

We found a map of the school and we thought it would be a good map to use for orienteering because the one we have is old and things aren’t in the same place anymore. Then we realised we didn’t have some things on the new map so we went outside and measured the things that weren’t there by how wide they are, how long they are and how far away from some things like the school and the fences area. After that we measured them to scale and put them on our map. Now we use the map to make up orienteering courses. This is the map we use and we use it to do orienteering in school.



The Mile Walk And Run

walk p34P5/6/7 wanted to do a mile walk or a mile run to improve our fitness. But first we had to calculate and measure how long a mile is. We had to use Google maps to see how much it takes for a mile from up the path and back. We were going to go up the path but we did not want to go 2 miles so we used Google maps to see how it is a IMG_0587mile from somewhere on the path and back. Our class found out that it stopped at a wee bay right beside a stone wall. We thought if we go around the school a lot of times we could measure the school and see how many time it would take to do a mile. For the run we had to time each other to see if we improve each week. For the run we had to run around the edges 4 times. We know that running around the school 4 times because we measured it on the app called Map My Walk.