Little by little, I am learning how to create using SCRATCH computer programming. It is a program developed by MIT’s Lifelong Kindergarten program to teach kids how to program computers.
I don’t have any background knowledge in computer programming so it has been scary to introduce my students to something I don’t know how to use really well. Ultimately, I decided that I shouldn’t hold them back just because of my lack of expertise. I realized that we can learn how to do this together.
I found a curriculum guide on the SCRATCH website, and I’ve been working through some of the lessons with different groups of kids. Here is the link: SCRATCH Curriculum Guide.
The Dance Party lesson is silly, fun, and important. Here’s a quick break down of what happens. A leader is chosen and watches a video made by the SCRATCH folks. The video shows the student how to do a simple dance routine. The leader’s job is to teach the other students how to do the dance. The leader cannot use body movements. The leader must rely on words to tell the students how to do the dance.
I told the leaders that they were the computer programmers. I told the other kids that they were the sprites. I explained that the leader couldn’t show how to do the dance moves because as computer programmers they can’t just dance in front of the computer to show the sprite what to do. They have to use language in combination with the SCRATCH programming blocks to make the sprite dance.
My students are now working on SCRATCH dance parties. I am requiring them to use at least one sprite that dances, a background, and sound. Some of my students are delving into this project, experimenting with different blocks and sounds and sprites. I have a few who need a little more scaffolding to feel comfortable with having so many choices and the freedom to decide what the dancing should look like, where it should happen, and which sprite should be doing the dancing.
I finally made my own dance party on SCRATCH. It’s called Little Owl’s Dance Party with Chickens. It didn’t turn out exactly how I imagined in my head, but it’s pretty cute. I wanted to add more choreography and chickens, but I got tired. Hopefully, some of my students will remix it and make it funnier. If you have a chance, check it out by clicking on this link: Little Owl’s Dance Party with Chickens.