Computing at Chesterton
At Chesterton Primary we aim to help children thrive and adapt in an ever changing technological world. We strive to equip children with the understanding, skills and knowledge to be prepared to take on the jobs of the future.
Our purpose is to install a key understanding of how to keep themselves safe online, to become IT literate and to create programmes to aid tasks in everyday life. The computing curriculum is at the start of its journey and is being carefully crafted so that our children develop their digital capital. We want our children to remember their computing lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the opportunities they are presented with! Bringing computing alive is important at Chesterton Primary School as well as keeping children safe. We follow the Education for a Connected World to equip children with the knowledge they need to stay safe online.
At Chesterton we believe that in order for our children to leave as 'Digital Leaders' then the teachers must lead by example. For example: The computing co-ordinator has completed training courses to help implement a successful curriculum. Furthermore, as our curriculum develops, will also completes training with all staff on relevant APPs, or new programmes, to ensure that staff are confident in their use of technology, this includes support staff and 1:1 staff as we feel all of the staff will benefit from this computational knowledge.
As children grow in basic skills with technology, we want to make sure that they are being provided with challenge. The NCCE framework, which we have adopted as a foundation, is perfect for us as it develops the basic skills of the children and it helps us to ensure that all of the children leave Grove with the skills in which they need for the future. We have used this to create long term plans for each year group so that teachers can see the progression from previous learning and what will be expected in the future.
Each unit builds on the skills which have been previously taught and enables the children to build their knowledge in computing as they move up the school. This enables children to become advanced in the skills in computing across the three aspects of computing and it also enables teachers to build on prior knowledge.
We intend to ensure that our lessons are taught with the following in mind:
Lead with concepts
Support pupils in the acquisition of knowledge, through the use of key concepts, terms, and vocabulary, providing opportunities to build a shared and consistent understanding. Glossaries, concept maps, and displays, along with regular recall and revision, can support this approach.
Quick Read: Concept maps (PDF)
Podcast: What is Computing? (18 October 2019)
Encourage collaboration, specifically using pair programming and peer instruction, and also structured group tasks. Working together stimulates classroom dialogue, articulation of concepts, and development of shared understanding
Quick Read: Pair Programming (PDF)
Quick Read: Peer Instruction (PDF)
Podcast: Peer Instruction (7 May 2020)
Use physical computing and making activities that offer tactile and sensory experiences to enhance learning. Combining electronics and programming with arts and crafts (especially through exploratory projects) provides pupils with a creative, engaging context to explore and apply computing concepts.
Quick Read: Physical computing (PDF)
Unplug, unpack, repack
Teach new concepts by first unpacking complex terms and ideas, exploring these ideas in unplugged and familiar contexts, then repacking this new understanding into the original concept. This approach (semantic waves) can help pupils develop a secure understanding of complex concepts.
Quick Read: Semantic Waves (PDF)
Model processes or practices — everything from debugging code to binary number conversions — using techniques such as worked examples and live coding. Modelling is particularly beneficial to novices, providing scaffolding that can be gradually taken away.
Quick Read: Worked Examples (PDF)
Quick Read: Live Coding (PDF)
Podcast: Live Coding (19 March 2019)
Foster program comprehension
Use a variety of activities to consolidate knowledge and understanding of the function and structure of programs, including debugging, tracing, and Parson’s Problems. Regular comprehension activities will help secure understanding and build connections with new knowledge.
Quick Read: Programme Comprehension (PDF)
Use project-based learning activities to provide pupils with the opportunity to apply and consolidate their knowledge and understanding. Design is an important, often overlooked aspect of computing. Pupils can consider how to develop an artefact for a particular user or function, and evaluate it against a set of criteria.
Provide activities with different levels of direction, scaffolding, and support that promote learning, ranging from highly structured to more exploratory tasks. Adapting your instruction to suit different objectives will help keep all pupils engaged and encourage greater independence.
Use formative questioning to uncover misconceptions and adapt teaching to address them as they occur. Awareness of common misconceptions alongside discussion, concept mapping, peer instruction, or simple quizzes can help identify areas of confusion.
Quick Read: Peer Instruction (PDF)
Podcast: Peer Instruction (7 May 2019)
Bring abstract concepts to life with real world, contextual examples and a focus on interdependencies with other curriculum subjects. This can be achieved through the use of unplugged activities, proposing analogies, storytelling around concepts, and finding examples of the concepts in pupils’ lives.
Use supportive frameworks when planning lessons, such as PRIMM (Predict, Run, Investigate, Modify, Make) and Use-Modify-Create. These frameworks are based on research and ensure that differentiation can be built in at various stages of the lesson.
Quick Read: PRIMM (7 May 2020)
Podcast: The PRIMM approach (10 December 2020)
Read and explore code first
When teaching programming, focus first on code ‘reading’ activities, before code writing. With both block-based and text-based programming, encourage pupils to review and interpret blocks of code. Research has shown that being able to read, trace, and explain code augments pupils’ ability to write code