Friday, February 1, 2008

Scratch - Take Two

My second go-round with Scratch is wrapping up. I've been working on this project with the fifth graders. I wanted to get them going on Scratch, but knew I had to aim for a simpler project than the one I did with the seventh and eighth graders. They do not have experience with Logo.

Before Christmas break, I spent one class getting the students to test the drawing tools. They just messed around with painting on the stage. I also showed them how to bring in the pre-drawn sprites. We did a little very simple programming. They used the control "When right arrow is pressed" along with the motion "move 10 steps" and "When left arrow is pressed" "move -10 steps". We talked a little about thermometers and how to use the negative or minus sign to move backwards. For a little extra fun, we also added the sound command to "play sound pop". The recorded their own noises and imported some pre-recorded sounds.

On return from Christmas, I walked them through a couple of "dress-up" samples I found in Scratch over the holidays. I gave them a choice of making a house with parts to decorate it (shrubs, doors, windows, etc) or a face (eyes, nose, mouth, etc). Some of the fifth graders chose aliens and castles, but those were the two major ideas for stages. It took one 42 minute period to get this accomplished. Some students are still finishing up the stage.

The next class, I showed them how to create their own sprite. They took the next 42 minute period to create the doors, windows, and whatever else they wanted to use to decorate the stage.

Class three took us to a discussion of the need to clean the stage after dressing it up. We talked about how I could "broadcast" hello to an individual in the group. They would receive the command and then "say" something back. That accomplished, I demonstrated a button with the "when sprite clicked" "broadcast" command combo. As a group, I had the students bring in the button sprite, shrink it, and type the word clean on it. We added the script to broadcast "clean" when it was clicked. We also added a "when I receive" control and a move command. I demonstrated how the x,y coordinates changed as I moved the mouse. I also showed them that if you click on the sprite it locks in its coordinates in the move command. We also saw how to compare what is in the move command with the coordinates of the sprite for troubleshooting purposes.

We took all of class four to finish up stages, sprites, and scripts. Some children finished before the class period was over, so I started to individually show them how to add a "when sprite clicked" control with a "play sound" command.

In class five, all the children saw as a group how to add those click controls and sound commands. It was like they never saw it before Christmas, which is fine. Again, some children finished early, so I had those who made faces start a house and visa versa.

Class six was intended to be the class to sum it all up. We created a second background for the stage with instructions on how the program works. We added a "when green flag is clicked" control with a "switch to background instructions" and a "when stage clicked" "next background" set of commands. This works well for most of the students. A couple went ahead and had already set up multiple backgrounds for different dresses for their faces so we are working on some more programming.

On the whole, it was a great experience. There are 14 students in each class and it really wasn't overwhelming with a 1:14 ratio of "Mrs. Oro I need help". We are going to finish up over the next two classes while getting our brainstorming together on our Classroombraids project.

Take a look at the first three projects. 5B_JN needs some scripting work. That file is one of the projects with multiple "dresses". 5B_VM is a house and 5B_CS is an alien. One really neat thing is that they want to share the projects with their Classroombraids partner schools.

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