Teacher Review for Scratch

Not the end in programming, but a great beginning

Marcello S.
Classroom teacher
Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary School
San Jose, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Creation
Knowledge gain
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
I use Scratch as a way to introduce students to programming language, I will then usually move into code academy or other full on coding websites. The site at first can seem daunting and if you just leave kids with a blank slate it is not a good website. You need to work with the website on your own and have a deep understanding of how to use it to make it useful for kids. A quick tip for how to get started: search for "maze", click "projects", choose whichever maze looks intersting to you, and then click "look inside". Now create your own brand new app and just put in the same code that they have in their maze. This will give you an idea of how to use the app and how to build code. Use this exact same format to start off your kids and give them some freedom with with what images they use and sounds they put in. Starting out slow this way and just copying apps to start is a really fun intro and allows for future creativity. My personal favorite easy starter maze: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/10128431/#editor As a fun side note I explain this website as giving the words to students and they put them together into sentences, when we move to other coding websites then they are just writing the words on their own. Connecting coding to a language analogy was really strong for my students.
My Take
Overall I don't like the barrier to entry, it is difficult to first get started and tutorials aren't the best or most interactive. I found the copying of other projects is the best way to get started up, but I feel like they could have a more user friendly tutorial to help you get started. The website having an integrated interactive tutorial would be huge! Once you get over that hump, the design of the website and creativity kids can have are incredible and it really is a fun introduction to coding.