Robots in ELA!
This project is a great way for students to dialogue with an archaic text. It's another way to modernize Shakespeare and make it relevant for the students. Students also get the opportunity to "own" Shakespeare's text by directing the robots and performing a Shakespearean production. This option is helpful for students who are shy about speaking and performing in front of audiences. I think that Sphero has great potential as a storytelling tool in various capacities. It offers students an opportunity to "author" or "write" or "perform" stories in a new and inventive way. If your students aren't very familiar with block coding it takes extra work and preparation to be able to use Sphero in the classroom initially, however, once they are familiar with the fundamentals, they can experiment with the coding and movement and be creative.
How I Use It
I was trained this past fall on how to use the Sphero Spark in my classroom. The first few times we used it was on an introductory level and the students worked on the basics on how to use Sphero: Driving, Drawing and Block Coding. After getting used to how the robots work and the fundamentals, we moved into lessons in which the robots were treated as "characters" from stories, and that we would demonstrate the emotions and movement of the characters from the stories by using the colors and movement of the robots as if the robots themselves were actors. We then selected scenes from Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" and placed clear cups with character drawings overtop of the robots. The robots were then coded and driven as "characters" following the blocking of the scene directed by the students. The students voiced the characters and coded the actions of the robots within their own sets that they created.