The final frontier

Yes, it’s enterprise! Not the Star Trek intergalactic vessel but that practical resourcefulness we try and teach along with our subject content. Enterprise skills do strike me as final project that is attempted at the end of the year or an initiative schools sometimes rely on external providers for through ‘drop-down’ days.

Enterprise tasks are most effective, and beneficial to a pupil’s wider learning experience, when embedded into everyday lessons. Below, I have outlined some enterprise tasks that could be used in a lesson and others that could stretch a whole half term. They are designed to link closely to subject specific curriculum and provide an alternative route into traditional topics.

The images below can be used as task sheets to give to groups in class.

1) This project is designed for an English lesson. As well as developing enterprise and group work, the tasks will require students to use persuasive techniques and demonstrate their understanding of the text. This brief is based on Frankenstein but could be adapted for other texts.

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2) Next is a human geography based project. Pupils are required to consider the local environment, including population, amenities and cultural developments. A community datasheet and description will need to be provided with the task sheet. The location will depend on what is topical at the time. When I conducted this project with a class in 2012, the London Olympics were about to take place and the Olympic torch had just passed by the school.

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3) This project is ideal for maths classes. Pupils must use number, budgeting and graphs. Along with the task sheet, pupils will need to be provided with a list of costing for hotels, flights, staff with different levels of experience etc. This costings sheet and the overall budget can be adapted to the ability of the task. You may even want students to deal with currency conversion if they select an overseas holiday destination.

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4) This is a project that I ran for 5 weeks. Again, it is English focused but the success criteria could be adapted for an Art class. As an English teacher, I found the drawing and presentation involved in the creation of the comic a great learning curve for pupils with poor fine motor skills affecting their handwriting. It was equally an eye-opener for me because it highlighted the difficulties and frustrations pupils experienced when they tried to make their work neat and complete fine motor tasks for an extended period. It really helped me to adapt my teaching of extended writing tasks to help build up their writing stamina and motivate them to redraft as a ongoing process.

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Literacy Starters for Lower Ability Classes

1) Sentence Circles

This task is a useful starter to demonstrate students’ comprehension of sentence structures. I draw a circle on the board and within it write jumbled words that make a sentence. Students must then use those words to create a sentence. This task is beneficial to assess students’ grasp of sentence structure but is also applicable across the curriculum. The words in the circle could be in a different language or used to create a keyword definition for any subject area.

Pros:

  • The task can be extended by adding higher order punctuation or capital letters to help students.
  • The outcome is differentiated because students will use sentence structures they are comfortable with.
  • It is time flexible because students who finish can create their own sentence circles to share with the class.

In class troublingshotting:

Some students may opt to make the simplest sentence. If this is the case, specify that they must use all the words in the circle or create a competition to make the highest number of coherent sentences.

Sentence Circle

2) Scrabble Spelling

This resource was given to me while I was teaching in Wakefield. Since then, I have used it numerous times and shared it with many others. The idea is simple: students are shown the alphabet with scabble points attached and they must make words related to a given topic. The aim is to make the highest scoring words. This starter has benefits for spelling as well as numeracy. Again, it can be used across the curriculum to revise key topics.

Pros:

  • The numeracy involved can be extended by setting a target score or adding bonuses (times the score by 3 if the word was taught last week) or penalties (divide by 2 if the word is displayed in the classroom).
  • Students are challenged to use more complicated vocabulary to gain a higher score.

In class troubleshooting:

It can be difficult to check the spelling and scoring in class. If errors occur that would be laborious and unhelpful to address as a class, you can save awarding a winner until the end of the lesson. This will give you time to check student responses during the lesson.

Scrabble