Saint Andrew's Orthodox Church School

Project Work

The class entitled Project Work – as the name aptly suggests - is time in our weekly schedule dedicated to working on various multi-disciplinary ‘projects’. It is an applied interactive lesson that is largely student-led.

Students bring their learning together from the various subjects and work together on longer-term projects. Students are involved, together with their teacher, in planning the project and giving it its scope. They set the aims for their work as well as markers of success for their work. The teacher helps them to set a reasonable timeline for each project and support them to keep to their schedule.

The benefit of this class is two-fold. The set-up of the lessons gives children the opportunity for autonomous collaborative work and project planning. Children learn to take charge of their own work and put in the effort to achieve long-term aims. In addition to practicing these procedural skills, children profit from the content of their projects. Through these projects children have opportunity to apply and expand their learning from the other school subjects.

The best way to understand the objectives of project work is to consider some examples of projects that children may see through.

  1. Students can set up a ‘Scottish Natural Museum. With their purpose in mind children would collect natural materials throughout the year. They can gather what they need whilst out with their families, on their own, or during school fieldtrips. These materials can be: drawings of impressive wildlife that they saw, rocks, moss, and so on. They bring these materials into the class and make ’information labels’ about these. An information label would be a short text about what the item is and other interesting data regarding it. When enough of these has been gathered the students can set up an exhibition area that will be open to visit when parents come to drop off/collect their children. Such a project would draw on learning from Nature Studies, Foundations, Geography, Literacy and Art.

  2. Another example of a project is where the children focus on an important monument in the world that was learnt about in Geography. Children can learn about this monument, its use and its history with the help of their teacher and books. The children would first practice drawing the monument – always with the purpose of finally building the structure together out of Lego. Once a replica has been made the children can talk about it and think of ways to improve their model. Once the replica is complete, it would be placed somewhere where parents can visit it. Again, the children would write an ‘information label’ teaching visitors the historical - and other - interesting facts they have learnt about the monument. The school would inform parents that an exhibit is set up and invite them to look at it when they collect their kids at the end of the day.

Students are encouraged by their teacher to come up with projects of this sort, plan the process and complete the projects. The children need to draw from their learning across the curriculum to complete this work; they need to cooperate; and they have the opportunity to show off their learning and impress a wider public with their achievements.