I regularly get asked if I have any documents to show progression across the different year groups that I teach primary computing to. My answer is that I do have documents but that they aren't presented as skills progression grids which I think many people would expect.
Since the subject is constantly evolving - due to new apps/programs being released and emerging technologies becoming more popular - I would find it extremely hard to set down a definitive list of computing skills that children should learn, moreover assign them to specific year groups. Instead, each year group has a list of lessons that I teach to them, with each list being a working document that I'm forever tweaking, changing and modifying to take into account of:
- new hardware and software that is released;
- new lesson ideas that I have or find online which I want to teach;
- the children's current interests and topics they are studying;
- my school's timetable (i.e. the number and duration of computing lessons that I have to teach).
This method works extremely well because it enables me to quickly see how much time I have to teach each year group and arrange lessons around current events and topics where possible. It also lets me be very flexible with my curriculum: easily removing old software/hardware references when needed and effortlessly slotting in new lessons where I feel they can be best placed (and indeed repeat them with other year groups too so that they don't miss out).
These documents essentially act as my long term planning for each academic year because they outline what I need to teach on a week-by-week basis and clearly allow me to see how I cover everything that I both am required and want to teach the children.
When writing these long term plans, I try to:
- teach basic skills at the start of the year and do the longer, more challenging projects later on;
- use humanities themes (e.g. history and geography topics), school events (e.g. trips and celebrations) and the children's own interests as the context for activities if possible;
- 'slot in' discrete computing skills activities (e.g. about computer science theory) in the weeks in between;
- repeat and build on skills during each year group (e.g. create a few word processed documents over a year, rather than doing them one-after-another, so skills are less likely to be forgotten).
Here are links to my ever-updating primary computing long term plans for 2014-15 (note that the weeks in each term and the marked events are specific to my school and will likely be different for you):
Also, here is a link to blog posts of all the primary computing lessons that I've taught at my school, including LI slides and examples of the children's work - http://www.parkfieldprimary.com/parkfield/computing/.
Please let me know if you find them helpful - I really do appreciate comments from people who've been inspired by them!