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Round up the summer term with a grand effort to raise funds for schools in Afghanistan, says Ted Wragg

Do children learn best in short bursts? Most of the year we assume they do, yet the pinnacles of human activity are usually prolonged, not brief. No one builds a cathedral, designs a rocket ship, discovers the origins of the universe, or composes a symphony in just 40 minutes.

From now until the end of the school year there is the chance to devote more sustained time to the sort of project that children will remember all their lives: rehearsing and performing a play or concert, the residential field trip to somewhere memorable, a great sports extravaganza.

Active citizenship is not something that pupils "do'' in a single lesson a week. It needs stayers, not occasional sprinters. The coming weeks offer a golden opportunity to achieve something significant for the millions of children in Afghanistan who have had no education at all and desperately need the tools of learning.

Try brainstorming with children what could be achieved over a whole day, half a week or even the whole week, to raise money for The TES-UNICEF Children Helping Children campaign. How about travelling performances? Groups of children script and enact a roadshow - play, sketches, musical - that they then perform publicly wherever people are willing to charge a small admission fee.

Here's a simple deadpan sketch performed in seconds. Four children walk on stage and stand in line. The first sips from a glass of water; the second, who has gone on stage with a mouth full of water, gargles noisily; the third, who also has a mouth full of water, spits it into the bucket he is carrying; the fourth simply wipes her mouth. The four then troupe solemnly off. Brings the house down.

What about producing a collection of poems, jokes, stories, news accounts? This can be done to a high standard using ICT and a simple desktop publishing package, and the product sold, with the charitable purpose prominently displayed. That covers literacy, design, organisation, numeracy, ICT, the lot.

Try a themed day, such "Helping others", "Afghanistan", "The Third World", asking children to bring in whatever money they can collect. The whole school then spends the day learning about important global issues. Invite in charities, people who have travelled, use videos, or any other source. There are no limits to teachers' and children's ingenuity in designing a more sustained summer project, and no better cause than providing education for fellow citizens in Afghanistan.

For more ideas and suggestions for fundraising activities for the appeal, visit you don't have access to the web, ask for copies of the ideas from UNICEF on 0870 606 3377.We want to publicise to publicise what schools are doing to help, so please let us know what you are doing.Email: 0207 782 3205 Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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