Scratch Alternative Presentation

In one fourth-grade class students had a US state presentation project as one of the last assignments for school this year. I received the okay from the teacher to allow a student to make his presentation using Scratch.  He was a Code Club member and I knew he had the programming skill and drive to complete all the requirements for the project using Scratch.

While the rest of the class used Google Slides, he made this great Scratch interactive project to share.  He worked hard and I was impressed with the results.Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 1.30.49 PM

He set the project up like a Chatbot project and used broadcast to change the backdrops. He also asked questions to keep the audience engaged.

I was available to help with the coding, but he worked pretty independently.

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I would have liked to see more picture Sprites. We also discussed recording some audio for a portion of the presentation but ran out of time. He made a bibliography backdrop but it didn’t get included in the version we uploaded. Before he presented this to his class, he made some last minute changes that are saved in his account offline and not published.

He has his own Scratch account now and I know he will continue to code and create in middle school.  That makes me really proud.

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He had a rough end of the year within his classroom and with the dynamics of some of the other students so I was glad to be able to give him some flexibility with this assignment and let him do something he enjoys and show his coding skills.

I would like to think that Scratch would be an acceptable presentation format for other school projects like this.  I have been thinking along these lines for a while and now have proof that it can be done and can show teachers what the results look like.


Code Behind the Game

Sometimes when I have a Kindergarten class in the computer lab and I’m introducing a new online activity – like a connect-the-dots game or a drawing program, a fourth grader will come in to the lab to do some independent computer assignment – typing up a paper or picking up a print out – and get distracted by what the Kindergarteners are doing. Occasionally, if the 4th grader is a code club member, I’ll wonder out loud to them  – do you think we could write a connect-the-dots game in Scratch?

I want them to see beyond game play, behind the app and think about it’s mechanics – the code – the logic that runs it. This is a goal of mine.  I enjoy thinking about how apps work.  How decisions were made to make the user experience. How someone coded different features. I want my students to think about these things, too. When you think about how some tech thing was built or created you become more than a technology consumer.  It becomes less like magic and turns into something they could do.  The students become technology makers.

I think Scratch is helping with this goal. A weeks after writing their first game project in Scratch, one student remarked that he now looked at games differently. He sees the characters in the games he plays as Sprites.

Another student, in fact, asked me later, when we were going to write that connect-the-dots game in code club.

No code club last week, but we’re on again tomorrow!