How I Use It
While our librarian emphasized the hour of coding this year with all our students, I wanted to build upon that learning experience in my classroom. I chose ScratchJr to give my 2nd graders additional practice in understanding the basics of coding. We started with a teacher directed lesson to introduce the application itself and its components. Each student worked on their own iPad as I used an iPad with our classroom projector for demonstration purposes. We spent several days focused on following specific instructions to develop the coding sequences. After I introduced all of the options in these lessons, we moved forward to individual time where students created their own scenarios. Our culminating project included students working in groups to write directions for coding lessons, which were then shared with the other groups to try. The collaboration was as meaningful as the coding project itself! It was a wonderful experience for the students.
The ingenious jigsaw puzzle style application gives primary students the opportunity to learn the basics of coding in a creative, friendly learning environment. With a limited text interface, it gives the youngest of learners the opportunity to successfully build interactive programming stories by clicking coding blocks to express their creativity. This application can also be successfully navigated for those students who have limited typing skills. Overall this app provides an excellent learning experience where the focus is not on the product itself, but rather the process generated by critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. I think the only limitation is that is not as powerful as the original Scratch program where the variety of programming blocks is limited in comparison. Advanced students would have a more meaningful experience in the original Scratch.