Moon Hall follows the National Curriculum Computing Programme of Study which teaches how to use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly. Lessons are taught in the computer room where the children have a full range of facilities. The children also use laptops in class throughout other lessons.
A major component of the computing curriculum is the study of coding and computer systems which challenges the children to think logically and sequentially, breaking down problems to debug errors and find solutions. Children who often struggle with sequences and organisation find this challenge rewarding and fun. They begin to learn useful strategies and build up necessary resilience and a habit of accepting and learning from their mistakes.
A range of physical as well as online resources allow the children to visualise the procedures first in concrete terms.
They can practise these skills at home on the following websites:
Moon Hall pupils also have their own username and password for the Purple Mash website: purplemash.com/sch/moon
Typing at Moon Hall School
Learning to touch-type is known to be extremely helpful for people with dyslexia, so at Moon Hall School the children benefit from a dedicated typing lesson every week. Each child also has the use of a laptop in lessons, when appropriate, or access to the computer room.
Some dyslexic students find typing easier than handwriting and the processes of planning, drafting and editing their work all become much quicker and stress-free using technology. It is essential that our pupils develop a good knowledge of the keyboard and learn to touch type as efficiently as possible, so that entering text is at least as fast or faster than their normal writing speed.
Learning to Type
The children begin by learning the keyboard and build up their knowledge of correct finger placement in a series of targeted lessons with stories, pictures and games to help them remember where the keys are.
It is very important from the outset to reinforce this correct finger placement and to encourage the children to gain automaticity by not looking down at their fingers. In lessons, we use keyboard skins, available from www.speedskins.co.uk or covers to discourage looking down. At home, a tea towel may serve the same purpose.
Lessons must be reinforced with regular practice. Little and often is the best way, so children are asked to practise at home 5 times weekly for at least 10 minutes each time. Any ‘qwerty’ keyboard can help with practising these skills. Regular breaks are also important and correct posture is frequently emphasized.
All children have a typing folder with a calendar, created by the children in upper KS2, to record when this practice takes place. Children will receive stars and chapel stars for this. The beginner typists will take home practice sheets relating to the keys learnt so far and when they have a basic knowledge of the keyboard, they will be given details of their log ins for TTRS, Touch Type Read and Spell (www.ttrsonline.com), which has a multi-sensory approach and is suitable for students with dyslexia. There is also a typing app on the Purple Mash website (www.purplemash.com/sch/moon), which is accessible for all our pupils.
Ideas for Practice
Most children prefer to follow the sequence of lessons in TTRS, but here are some other ideas to vary practice.
- There are many free typing websites, such as www.typingclub.com and Dance Mat Typing at www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/.
The children could also try:
- Typing emails, thank you letters, shopping lists, composing short stories;
- Copy typing texts, for example a page of their reading book, a favourite magazine or their weekly spelling list.
There are also many commercial websites available.
- The following are recommended as dyslexia friendly sites:
Nessy Fingers Typing: https://www.ness.com/uk/product/nessy-fingers/
Englishtype Junior: https://www.englishtypre.com/junior
KAZ Type: https://kaz-type.com/
Beyond Moon Hall
Being able to touch-type is a skill, which really comes into its own as the children progress through their school journey into GCSEs and beyond. At the end of year 6, all the children will have demonstrated efficient word processing skills and some of our children will have the opportunity to gain a certificate displaying their speed typing proficiency.
One of the comments frequently made by ex-pupils, who contact us or visit when they are older, is how useful the skill of touch-typing has been for them.