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Greenfield Primary School

Imagine, Believe, Succeed

Computing, coding & making

Why you should code!

ICT Marc's Blog Spot - We were recently joined by ICT Marc, check out his blog and see what he thought of our work!
Background...transitioning to a culture of coders & makers.
As we move towards a renewed approach of more computing / programming than was previously taught in most primary schools, we have been busy developing our own long term plan for Computer Science / Information Communication Technology
(CS / ICT).
I began by experimenting with Scratch, Kodu, Small Basic, Google Sketch up, Python & Monkey Jam. I tried to develop a set of learning experiences that engaged the pupils in a more creative and stimulating way than what they'd experienced previously, with the now suspended ICT orders  / QCA schemes.
With the support of Lucy & Marc, advisory teachers from Walsall LA, I started working alongside the Key stage two staff to help them develop a more creative approach. We planned and taught together(Y3,4,5,6) for the next year, developing curriculum ideas and IT skills through professional development. We focused on developing an approach to programming that builds core skills across the key stage. We used retro gaming and App building as the context for developing programming skills. We began with creating sprites that move, then developed the keyboard code to control them. The next stage involved coding rules and logic for sprites so they can interact, detect collisions or boundaries. Finally we develop the skills into a familiar retro game, with variables for lives, score or power ups. The children choose the basis for game routines from those they've played - such as pong, snake, pacman, space invaders or Frogger. As well as this, we developed ways to link our literacy / topic themes with ICT skills such as: 3D modelling, stop motion animation, sound recording and editing.
The children and teachers starting working more collaboratively, making use of Google Apps, to write topic websites and shared documents that fostered an independent and team based approaches.
Year 5 and 6 pupils revisited Logo programming to introduce them to Python. The pupils used the turtle module of Python to become familiar with the Python development environment. This soon moved on to simple coding of programs using commands like Print, Input and handling variables. The introduction of Makey Makey for control technology / sensing is providing a pathway to link Scratch written programs  / games that can be interacted and controlled from physical input devices pupils have made themselves - writing your own game and building the control pad for it.
We are now in the process, with pupil input, of collaboratively combining our planning ideas and experiences to re-write the CS / ICT long term plan to become completely thematically linked to the rest of the curriculum and raise as many opportunities for coding experiences to prepare for the proposed new 'Gove' computing curriculum.
Our revised overviews for Key stage 1 & 2 are here
Mr J Darcy - Computing lead Teacher