One of my favorite days each semester is Scratch Day. Integrating Scratch allows me to give my students the chance to do some basic programming. Most of them have had not experience in this area. In a two-credit class, I can only devote an hour, but it’s amazing what my students can accomplish in that hour. I give a basic overview of how the program works, show them how they can download and investigate projects and then set them loose to work on their own projects as I work on my own.
In addition to an introduction to programming, they get to see a vibrant professional learning community at work. When we have questions, we head to the forums where we find answers along with sample code. They turn into a learning community as well as they share discoveries and help each other.
At the end of the class, I know there are students who are relieved that it is over. They feel a bit inferior, I suppose, because they are generally used to being good at something right off the bat. I try to reassure them that programming is not always intuitive and creating something complicated takes time. Others are exhilarated and can’t wait to get home to work on their projects some more, knowing that they still have lots to learn but confident that they can learn it.
I always learn more about Scratch myself and promise that I will do more…maybe I’ll make it my next 30-day challenge.