I teach in an independent Prep school where Year 8 is “top-of-the-tree” and a year where the children are focused on scholarships and Common Entrance exams. As a result of this ICT has always dropped down their list of priorities and as they have such a busy, full-on timetable I have often felt it more difficult to motivate and engage the children once they reach Year 8. To try and combat this I am toying with the idea of creating a Computing / ICT Menu for the children so that they can pick and choose the tasks they wish to complete. This means for those children who need to focus their energies on other areas for scholarships or common entrance can choose simpler tasks whereas those who are particularly interested in Computing (especially with the potential of Computing Scholarships being discussed) can choose to do more in depth projects.
My plan is to create a Chinese Takeaway style menu in which the children have to complete at least one task from each section. So, just as you would have a Chow Mein and a Rice section in a Chinese takeaway menu the Computing Menu may have a section for Programming, CAD or DTP. Each of these tasks could be given a ‘Spicy’ rating to indicate how difficult they are (to tie in with the school’s suggested Apprentice, Qualified and Master terminology) and there could also be Set Tasks for 4 which are designed to be run as a group project.
Ultimately the aim is to find a balance between allowing those who are talented in Computing and wish to develop their skills the chance to do so but also not putting additional pressure on those who have to focus their time in other areas such as Art, Music, Sport or their Academic subjects.
Any thoughts on the Computing Menu idea would be most welcome so please comment below.