I decided to organise a whole school Computing afternoon, called Computing Bytes, to get the children in my future school excited about the subject, but also to give myself a chance to meet them and introduce myself. I had one afternoon and around 400 pupils to plan for!
First things first, I couldn’t teach all the children myself at the same time, so I would need the support of their class teachers. These teachers haven’t had to teach Computing before (it’s always been a Subject Specialist – see my previous post here if this bothers you) and, so it had to be something simple for them to do and organised around the equipment etc. that we had. It was also the end of the Summer term so kudos to the teachers for getting on board and having a go!
I decided for ease it would be better if the teachers taught the same thing 4 times. This limited what they had to know whilst still showing the children a variety of Computing activities. I also decided to make a lot of them unplugged so that equipment borrowing wasn’t an issue (usually the whole school doesn’t teach Computing at the same time!) This meant that years 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6 could do the same activities (with 2 teachers per year group, that was 4 activities for the afternoon) for those children.
I had not forgotten about EYFS, but it was agreed they would work better doing activities in their normal environments with their teachers working with small groups.
I also wanted to take this afternoon as a chance to introduce my Computing Superheroes to the school (there’s a link to what that’s all about here) and show which activities were like which hero. To begin with, I made an assembly video introducing myself, the afternoon and the children using iMovie‘s ‘Movie Trailer’ option and Tellagami.
Computing Bytes – Assembly Intro
I wasn’t able to make the assembly where everything was introduced (hence the Tellagami version of me) due to commitments at the school I was working with at the time, but I have been told it was incredibly well received to the extent that both the movie trailer and the end of the video got applause from the majority of the hall! Something which doesn’t happen a great deal in assemblies outside of award ceremonies!
I now started to work on simple activities that could be achieved in approximately 20 minutes. I spent some time going through the resources the school had and then worked out a rough timetable to cover the whole of the breadth of the curriculum (although every child couldn’t do everything: there just wasn’t time!) This is what I came up with:
Each of the colours in the timetable represent a different area of the Computing National Curriculum and each phase do an activity in a different area every time they swap. There is some repetition of activities – not only for reducing my planning load, however, the expectations at each stage would be slightly different, as would the delivery.
Here are the colour matches:
- Code Captains – use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs (KS1), design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals (KS2)
- Logic Leaders – understand what algorithms are and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions (KS1), use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs (KS2)
- Searching Superstars – use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content (KS2)
- Net Ninjas – understand computer networks, including the internet (KS2)
- Computing Commodores – select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices
- Tech Teammates – debug simple programs (KS1), debug programs that accomplish specific goals (KS2)
- Hardware Heroes – work with variables and various forms of input and output (KS2)
EYFS had two activities to complete in small (teacher-led) groups:
- Program your friend – make them be the Beebot
- Kodable – on-screen programming
As I wanted to make it simple for teachers to “pick up and go”, I wrote them a page of instructions, with ready made slides and any resources that were necessary. The slides were very simple (remember there was only 20 minutes for the whole task) like this:
And the instructions for teachers just outlined ‘What do I need? What am I doing this? What do I need to setup? What do I do?’
It should be noted that many of these activities were not mine originally and have been taken and adapted from things I’ve read about or seen elsewhere. If I haven’t offered credit and you feel it is due, please let me know and I will be sure to amend the post!
The rest of the resources can be found here:
How did it go?
Overall, the afternoon went remarkably well. We were slightly hampered by the weather (it was the hottest day of the year so far and the last week of term!) but the children talked very positively about their experiences. I am looking forward to starting in September and building on what they pupils have started working on during this day.