Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Scratch Club 1 May 13

As I said in last week's post, I wanted to use this week's session to improve the learning process, rather than simply learning more about Scratch.

So we kicked off this session with a retrospective, I asked each student in turn what they liked and what they wanted to change, here are some of their responses:

Likes:
  • How to use 'if touching colour' to create interesting games
  • Learning about variables
  • Programming is fun
  • 'Everything'
  • Scratch is fun
Things to improve:
  • Often very noisy, and quite a bit of messing around (lots of kids said this, with no prompting from me)
  • Not enough time, want to start earlier
I added a few more things I wanted to improve:
  • There's lots to learn, and it's easy to forget what we've covered already
  • Lots of kids get stuck and wait for me to help them
We then discussed ideas for improvement:
  • For behaviour—the kids suggested writing names under happy + sad faces on the board, or giving out house points for good work. Everyone agreed that this was important to sort out.
  • For more independent learning—the kids suggested they try the Help feature in Scratch. I also suggested that they could ask each other.
  • And I also said I was going to try visiting each student in turn rather than going to whoever was shouting out.

So on to the lesson:

We began by recapping some stuff we learned last time, I put together a simple script on the big screen: bouncing the cat around the screen, using the pen to draw trails, using stamp to fill the screen with cats and changing the colours to make it look more interesting (see right).

I added each element in turn and asked the kids to shout out what they thought would happen for each element.

See below for the results.



I then set the kids lose trying to produce something similar. Many produced pretty psychedelic creations with multiple sprites bouncing, lots of colours and movement.

What went well?

  • Most of the kids have got the basics of programming sorted: loops, sprites, movement, etc
  • Everyone was much more self sufficient this time, walking around to each in turn worked really well, there was a lot less shouting out.
  • There was a bit of collaboration between kids, helping each other out and admiring each others' work.

What could be improved?

  • More tricks and tools to get the kids focussed more quickly, so we waste less time dealing with disruption.
  • It would be nice if the kids could start working towards a bigger project, rather than working on short, simple scripts each week.

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