This week, Scratch of MIT is holding “Scratch@MIT 2012“, the third biennial conference where educators, researchers, developers, and other members of the worldwide Scratch community gather on the MIT campus. We think it is meaningful to feature this story from USD 207. USD 207 in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is committed to developing TEAMS skills (Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math and Science) as part of the CYBER-TEAMS initiative(a DoDEA funded initiative). It’s a community of K-9 educators serving 2000 students, most of whom are children of military families.
From their blog:
Scratch is an easy to learn, visually based programming language that makes it easy for kids, or anyone else, to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art – and share those creations on the web. In addition to creating original projects, the Scratch community culture also supports “remixing” and adapting other people’s creations.
As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. These skills are at the center of the CYBER-TEAMS philosophy at USD 207.
And they just shared a story from the first grader classroom this week:
First graders at USD 207 have developed their own video games demonstrating their knowledge of different literary genres. MacArthur Elementary School 1st grade teacher Deneice Fernandez started the project while she was working with students who were reading above grade level.
After Fowler spent just two class periods showing the students the basics of Scratch, Fernandez set expectations for the students. “We did a graphic organizer and SMART Notebook lesson to set standards for the required elements of a game. Then the excitement began. The kids were jumping up and down, they were so excited to get started. This was one of the most motivating lessons I think I have ever taught in my 20 years of teaching.”
Creating a game reinforced the elements of that writing genre. It also developed the students’ creativity and project skills. Fernandez points out, “What made this lesson so awesome was the facilitating the students did to assist each other. I just reminded them what was required, but then they took it from there. Three of my students explored how to take a photo from the internet and place it as a background. They then became teachers to their classmates.”
This story will make you smile, and you can get the lesson plan in the post. There are more happy learning stories about Scratch, this ScratchEd site for educators can give you more ideas!