Thursday, 20 June 2013

I Don’t Do Basketwork!

In the great dictionary of educational jargon, I have just learned a new term…basketwork


A colleague explained to me last week that it refers to activities done by pupils [particularly towards the end of term, or on a Friday afternoon] when the children do not work in their books, but just do stuff on paper – and at the end of the week, the paper just “goes in the basket” [this must be a very old expression, these days, you would have to put it in the recycling bin!]

Like my friend, I abhor this idea. There are times when children must work on paper and not in regular exercise books – but I do not see why that output should be undervalued.

So as my recent stint of supply teaching involved a topic on 'Shelters’ – and how to build a good shelter, I decided we would make mini-books about shelters. On my first day we had been working on our seaside collage, and mid afternoon there was a terrific thunderstorm. End of day story was therefore the wise and foolish builders [one built his house on the beach and there was a thunderstorm!]  That was the first mini-book, mostly involving picturtes.

The second involved shelters round the world – brick houses, stone castles, ice igloos, buffalo-hide tepees, log cabins, adobe huts, and more. That needed the children to research the topic, and source pictures in books.

The final mini-book related to the traditional tale of the Three Little Pigs, who used different materials to build their shelters, only one of which was wind and wolf-proof. There was a lot more writing involved in this one. The work made a great display


The children were proud of what they had produced, and will be able to take them home at the end of term. No basketwork here!


  1. What lovely mini books, and what a lot of research and learning for the pupils. Like you I'd not heard of this use of the term basketwork, what an abhorrent idea, sounds like just keeping pupils occupied, no real learning going on and no value attached to the pupils' work. Good for you uncovering and publicising this awful practice. All best wishes and have a lovely day, x

  2. What great ideas for the children's learning, and what a beautiful display at the end! I bet they enjoyed that.


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