How I Use It
I have used Scratch in different ways. I have taught programming lessons to 8th graders using Scratch. My 8th grade students built a Pong game. Despite the simple nature of the game of Pong, they loved it.
After some basic instructions, I have allowed students to build their own program. One special needs student created a city that you could drive cars around. Another gifted student created an animation that played the song from Frozen. She programmed it note by note. Students will show off their creativity when given a chance.
I have also used Scratch as an enrichment tool for students who already have mastered a concept. This allows the students to have meaningful work while the rest of the class is focused on the lessons.
I have found it helpful in some situations to download the program to the local computer. Last year we had some internet issues and this kept us on track. I have also found creating an online account, which is free, is helpful if students want to start a project at school or home and finish somewhere else. It all depends on your school and technology. Both options work the same. You do need devices that have the Flash plug in.
I absolutely love Scratch. It is the best introductory programming tool available. It is basic enough for early elementary but robust enough to handle complicated programs that high schoolers could create. There are many books and resources available to help integrate into your classroom. Check our ScratchED for resources as well. With Scratch, the possibilities are endless.