Lesson Plan

Telling a Story with SCRATCH/SCRATCH JR.

Depending on the time alloted for class, this activity can be taught over the course of multiple classes. Students will learn to brainstorm and storyboard a music video about their digital footprint. They will then make that video come alive in SCRATCH.
Kacie S.
Classroom teacher
Schalmont Middle School
Schenectady, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts

* Define their own digital footprint (The topic focus of this lesson is digital footprint, but these tools can be used to build a story/animation for any topic that students can build a basic story around.)

* Brainstorm ideas for a storyline about digital footprint

* Create a storyboard that covers the major events in their music video "story."

* Program a short animation of their digital footprint music video in SCRATCH or SCRATCH Jr.

English Language Arts
Grades 4 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Teacher says: "We have been talking about digital footprint and programming recently. Today I would like to show you a music video I created that describes my own digital footprint." 

Teacher will show the class her music video about her digital footprint.  (SCRATCH is used for upper grades, SCRATCH JR. can be used for younger students who are less experience with SCRATCH.) This lesson flow should follow a lesson on basic programming techniques.

Student Instructions

Students will watch video to get an idea of what they can create with their digital footprint story and SCRATCH/SCRATCH JR.

2 Brainstorming

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Teacher says, "Before beginning to write out your story, we must first think about all of the possibilities. If you currently have a digital footprint, what is it made up of? If you do not have a digital footprint yet, what do you want it to be like? "

Teacher says, "Turn and talk to a partner about what your digital footprint is or how you would like to build your digital footprint. When people see your name on the internet, what do you want it to be connected to?"

*Note: Younger students will most likely have little to no digital footprint, so encourage them to focus on building a positive footprint.

Teacher says, "Now we will be using a mind map to think about what we can include in our story about our own digital footprint."

Student Instructions

Students will open a mind map on mindmeister. They will need to create an account to save and print their mind maps.  In the center they will put "My Digital Footprint" and they will add bubbles about their current digital footprint or  what they want their future digital footprint to be.

Students can work in groups to help generate ideas to add to their mind maps.

3 Storyboarding

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Teacher says: "Now that we have all of these wonderful ideas, we need to find a way to organize them. Today we will be using a program called "Storyboard That" to put our ideas into a storyboard. A story board will define the beginning, middle, and end of our music videos. Your goal is to make at least three frames, one to show what will happen in the beginning of your video, one for the middle of your video, and  the final one for the end. Remember that you will use this story board to build your music video in SCRATCH."

Student Instructions

Students will open storyboard that, they will need to make an account in order to save their storyboards. Students will  choose backgrounds and characters for their story and utilize the "drag and drop" interface of the program. They will also place captions along the bottom of each frame to describe what is happening in that scene.

Teacher encourages students to look back at their mind maps to gather ideas for their story board.

4 Programming

*Students should have had a basic introduction to programming before beginning work in SCRATCH/SCRATCH JR. 

*Students will need a SCRATCH account in order to save their work. 

*Remind the students of the layout of SCRATCH- The stage is on the left, the command blocks in the center, and workspace on the right. The sprites used are below the stage. 

* Students should use their storyboards to build their scratch animation. Many times students are concerned about the length of the animation, but I remind them that they need to include all important points from their storyboard rather than focusing on length alone. I also give students the option of recording their voice to narrate, or typing in the narration depending on their comfort level. 

Student Instructions

* Students will review the basic layout of scratch

*They will use their storyboard to build the music video based on the story they created. 

5 Closing

* Have students share animations in groups or as a full class

*Review the importance of digital footprint. Teacher says: "You can chose how you are represented on the internet. It is the choices you make on what you post that can help you build your footprint. Others can post articles about you that contribute to your footprint as well, so it is important to be a responsible individual in the digital world and outside of the digital world as well."

* At the end of each activity, I usually distribute a google form that allows students to give their feedback. I include questions such as, What was your favorite part of the activity? What was the most challenging part of the activity? If you could go back and change one thing about this activity, what would it be?  What did you learn about your digital footprint and your classmate's digital footprints? 

Student Instructions

* Students watch videos and then fill out the google form to provide feedback to the teacher about the activity.