Topics and instructions

Instructions for the teacher


  • The ENODASE website was published in January 2014 and the funding period continued until August 2015, but the compilation of the database has no deadline at present. You are still very welcome to join in, and if you do, you are free to arrange the writing of the essays with your students when it suits you best; preferably during the semester or the next semester after signing up.

IMPORTANT: Ethical considerations

  • ENODASE is a research project where most of the research subjects are under the age of 18. It is therefore advisable that the teacher inform the principle of the school and the students’ parents about their participation in the project. Asking for the parents’ permission will not be necessary as none of the information gathered is of personal nature and cannot be directly linked to the participants.

Selecting the topic

  • The teacher can choose any of the topics below for his/her students, depending on the teacher’s and students’ interests and language skills. If you choose to use free story or essay topics, the students can then decide on the topic on their own, without teacher guidance.

Instructing the students

  • The teacher is most welcome to tell the students about the aims of this essay project: the ENODASE database, its connection to the ENO virtual school and the possible exchange of stories or essays with another school (if you arrange such an exchange; see Contact for suggestions).

  • After the topics have been chosen, the teacher can prepare the students for the assignment by introducing them to the general field in question and the vocabulary related to it. However, in order to get an authentic view of the students’ thoughts on these topics, they must not be guided in terms of the exact content of the essay/story.

  • The students may use dictionaries, if the teacher considers this necessary. If dictionaries are used, this must be indicated in the background questionnaire.

  • The students should be encouraged to write long rather than very short texts. The suggested length for a story/essay is 300-600 words. This means at least half a page of single-spaced computer-written text or at least 1-2 pages hand-written, depending on one’s handwriting.

  • The story/essay should include the student’s name or initials for identification purposes. All assignments will be anonymized prior to database use.

Writing the stories or essays

  • Each student should write their essay on their own. This cannot be used as a group assignment.

  • The students should preferably do the assignment in class. If this is given as a home assignment, this must be indicated in the background questionnaire.

  • Ideally, the assignments should be written on a computer using Notepad or a similar simple text programme. The students should not use a word-processing programme (for example Microsoft Word). They should not use the Internet during writing, either.

  • The assignments can also be written by hand, after which they can be either 1) posted via regular mail to Joensuu, Finland, or scanned (minimum resolution of 300 dpi) and 2) attached to the online questionnaire or 3) e-mailed as PDF-attachments. Please find the contact information on the ENODASE website.

Processing the stories or essays

  • Important: The teacher must not correct or change the students’ writing in any way. The submitted texts should be as authentic as possible and consist of the student's own work only. The teacher can of course use the opportunity to give the students feedback on their writing after the texts have been submitted, but when writing, the students should not feel that their language skills or their thoughts are being evaluated or assessed critically. Quite the opposite: We are happy and grateful for every word!

  • If the essays are written on a computer, they should be saved as separate files and each essay copy-pasted onto the student’s own questionnaire e-form, where you will find a section marked Content.

Filling in the questionnaire

  • For each story/essay, the teacher should fill in the background questionnaire, either online or on paper, detailing the information of the task variables and the student variables. The paper forms should be sent or e-mailed to Joensuu together with the hand-written essays.

  • If the online questionnaire is used, you can nevertheless distribute the paper form in class, if you like, so that the students can fill in the necessary details. 

Assignment topics

Story topics

  1. The life of a tree

  2. Our tree-planting day

  3. Adventures in nature

  4. Things we do in our forests / in the nature / in the water

  5. My favourite place in the world

  6. Scary environments

  7. Ghosts and goblins in the forest

  8. Free story topic on a nature/environment theme

Letter topics

    9. ENO is great! You should join us!

    10. This is my country! Come for a visit?

    11. You have to see this natural region!

Essay topics

    12. The significance of tree-planting in my country

    13. Water around us

    14. National parks and untouched nature

    15. The most significant environmental problems

    16. Coping in the wild

    17. Nature and the well-being of people

    18. My actions for the future of the planet

    19. Nature: Any future without it?

    20. My wish of the future

    21. Changes in my environment: past and present

    22. Science and technology: a blessing or a curse?

    23. Nature is energy!

    24. Free essay topic on a nature/environment theme