Teacher Review for Scratch

Best entry to computer programming & game design, plus free & well-supported

Alfia W.
Technology coordinator
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My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
Scratch can be used to create animations and simulations, as well as interactive quizzes and games. This year all three 3rd grade classes ay our school created Scratch projects which were embedded into the curriculum. One class did zoo animal reports, another marine mammal reports, and a third reports on renewable vs. non-renewable energy. Right now I am piloting a 2nd grade Scratch class in which students are animating fairy tales that they have made up in class. Third grade is a better age to start Scratch generally since all students need to be able to read easily. The first few years I taught Scratch it was exclusively in GATE (Gifted & Talented) after school classes for grades 4-8. From there I branched out to teaching it in summer camp and general 3-5 after school classes. Some fun projects were creating interactive seasonal holiday cards, collaborative Aesop's Fables animations with a quiz at the end (grades 4-6), and endangered animal lessons with quizzes. I have also used it to create learning games for a Greek and Latin Roots of English class I teach to 6-8th graders in the gifted program, as well as to create games for teaching 5th grade chemistry.
My Take
Scratch is a fun and very well-supported free tool for embedding computer science concepts into the general curriculum. Unlike some other intro. to computer science applications which require minimal teacher knowledge of the app (e.g. Tynker), the teacher does need to invest some time in learning Scratch. Because it is free and has a well-established kid-friendly online community people can easily find support for their learning. There is a portal for educators, ScratchEd, which has excellent resources, but does not set cookies and is considerably less well-supported than the Scratch site itself. If you are in the Boston area, MIT provides free teacher training.