Monday, March 23, 2015

Using Scratch Jr. as a Stepping Stone for Coding

As my students and I continue on our journey exploring coding in our classroom I wanted to find an app that would help my students build a foundation on how to code in a simple and creative way.   I took a look at several apps and chose the Scratch Jr. App for several reasons:

  1. It is free.
  2. The app is a content creation app where students are able to create and express themselves, try new things, take risks and experiment.
  3. Students that cannot read, can still use this app successfully.
  4. There are some fabulous resources for teachers.
When I first opened the app, I wasn't really sure what to do, there are many buttons and options.  I wanted to let my students "tinker" with it but I also wanted it to be purposeful and not too frustrating.  I went to the Scratch Jr. website and clicked on the activities tab.  It brought me to an introductory video that I shared with my students and 9 different activity cards that could be printed out or shown on a screen in your classroom ranging in difficulty.  

One of the Scratch Jr. Activity Task Cards from their website

I loved how even my struggling readers could follow the simple instructions and that at the end of each task card was two challenges to try.  Each of the nine activities demonstrates a different skill or action that children can do to create a program.  I decided that I wanted my students to go through the nine task cards so they had a solid foundation of how to use the app and all of the options that were provided.  I printed out all nine activity cards and created a checklist for my students to keep track of the activities they had completed.  

My students were so excited for this activity.  We worked on the activities for about forty minutes. Most students got two or three of the activity sheets done.  We worked on the activities  again today and my students are so excited to see all of the different things they can do with this app.  They are already asking me when we are going to continue with the activities.  I have other students that can't wait to code stories they have written during writer's workshop.  I was thinking of eventually using the app to code number stories that the children have written in math.  Instead of just reading their number story, they could code it!  There are so many possibilities with this app, I can't wait to see what my students come up with!


Post a Comment