Thursday, May 17, 2012

Students Soar with Scratch

Have your students ever wanted to make their own video game?  Go from using cheat codes to writing them?  

Fourth graders in Mr. Brown’s class are having a BLAST using Scratch to write their own computer games. Scratch a programming language developed at MIT that allows young people to create programs such as video games, animations, and more in a drag and drop environment.  It is a free download from the Scratch website at and works on both a Windows or MAC platform.  

With a just a few lessons, students are hooked leaving scorch marks as their creativity and imagination take off.  They are intently absorbed in their program, like bees gathering nectar.  
I simply provide them the resources and answer questions. I love watching the learning take place. It is fun to flip the classroom and become the guide on the side.    Their programs develop much like an empty canvas slowly develops into an a masterpiece for an artist.  Students are fiercely proud of their work and are quick to show off their creative projects.  Completed projects can be uploaded to the Scratch site and shared with the world!

Must Knows:
  • It is OK if the kids know more than you do.
  • It is OK to let kids explore Scratch before you become an expert!  You can learn together.
  • It is OK for everyone to be in different places and share with one another.
  • It is OK if all projects are different!

Must Do’s:

  1. Download Scratch.
  2. Watch some videos on the Scratch site and explore the resources.
  3. Explore and experiment with the code.  
  4. Look at Mr. Michaud’s Scratch Site- Learn how to do the first project.
  5. Start using it with students.

One way to get started with students:

  1. Start by showing the Scratch Intro YouTube video.  This is a five minute video that gives students an idea of what types of projects they can create and the basics of how use the tools.
  2. Let the students explore some of the examples in Scratch.  In Scratch click File > Open > Examples > Games . Have students play the game, then look at the code.  I like to start with Pac-Man. It goes well with the first project we work on.
  3. The resources on the Scratch Website Site are great! The Getting Started with Scratch Guide is an easy way to learn the basics.  Students can explore the tools as they work through the guide.
  4. The projects and instructions from NeBo Elementary School are fantastic.  I have the students start with Project 1.  The project will take them about five one hour class periods to complete.  

Scratch Website - 

Learn Scratch (Videos) -  
New to Scratch for Educators-
NeBo Elementary School, Mr. Michaud-
Book - Scratch Programming for Teens - 


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