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Scratch Curriculum Guide Draft Feedback

« Curriculum Guide Draft
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Administrator

What happened?
What worked?
What didn't work?

It has been really exciting for us to read comments and feedback from educators who have read the Scratch Curriculum Guide Draft or have already started to use the curriculum with their students. We've created this discussion space to offer a central space for people to post and read feedback about the guide. Please feel free to add any comments, questions and suggestions for the guide below.This feedback will help inform our thinking for future guide iterations so thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and we look forward to hearing from you!

You can download the full, current draft of the curriculum guide at http://scratched.media.mit.edu/resources/scratch-curriculum-guide-draft

If you'd prefer to share feedback privately, please email us at scratched@scratch.mit.edu

Replies
Member
So where does one locate the "About me" handout mentioned in Session #2?

Are the various resources mentioned in the guide located in a central location (examples and such).

Thanks,

Al
Member

Hi ScratchEd Team,

First I want to thank you for this awesome work. Your curriculum has been a great help for me. I have used it as an inspiration to prepare my sessions, sometimes using it as-is, sometimes inventing my own activities.

So I thought it was time to give feedback on what has worked well or not so well for me. It’s a lot of information that I tried to summarize, don’t hesitate to ask for more details if my point is not clear.

In my sessions, I have 10 kids from 8 to 10 for an hour and a half every school week. We are are now getting to sessions 14.

As a general rule, I have found that what works better is to show at the beginning of sessions examples of target projects to give them ideas of what they can do. The projects have to be simple enough that they will be able to do it, and generic enough that they leave room for personalization, personal creativity. I have sometimes used the curriculum project examples (for the art session #5 for example), or made/curated my own. It works better than trying to explain “how” to do things at the beginning of the sessions (a mistake I made at the beginning). Then I give them the paper handouts with project code example, and I explain “on demand” when they want to do something something and are wondering how.

Examples that work well:

-          Session #5

-          To invent stories creating their own sprites and background, I had this studio of examples :

Session #4 and 5 were too much alike, kids had a repetition feeling, and were less motivated.

Session #5 Art projects : I used your projects examples and handouts, and it worked great.

Session #6 : I did not get the point of the 6-word story, so I did not try it. Instead, I replaced session 6 and 8  with a three sessions work on creating stories, that worked tremendously well:

-          First workshop : I told kids that that would be creating a story but that they couldn’t use the image library in Scratch, and would have to create their own (drawing, drawing with scratch, modelling playdough, photographing persons and objects)  showed them examples I had created aor curated : http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/292530/ . I had kids pick up an image among 10 that made them feel like telling a story, creating groups with people having chosen the same image. Then they spent the sessions inventing the story and creating the sprites and background, and we took pictures.

-          Second workshop : Work on notebook to remember the story outline. Import images in scratch and create project. A lot of time was spent in importing and clipping images, so one session was not enough to finish the project.

-          Third workshop : finish project.

Session #7 (Remix) was very valuable. For some kids, the second time changing computers was too much, and they dropped it. These were the less proficient kids. So next time might do only one swap. The session led to very interesting discussion with the kids on how you should save your work (some team made huge modification and previous versions were lost), on how it was great to enhance some one else program, and how hard it was to see your work modified.

Session #9 debug and session #10 Maze: great. As I have an hour and a half, I mixed it with the maze, and I used a Makey Makey and big tinfoil arrows to play the maze, and this was a great session.

#11 Maze extensions (variable)

Works great, my only reserve is that the variable project example have different level of complexity, and it was harder for some kids as I distributed the projects randomly. Having the kid explain what they learn and show how they used it in their maze extension was very effective.

#12 more games : I extended it on two sessions, as kids wanted to finish their projects. I used a leap motion for more fun on the collision project.

The scrolling project is way too hard. I think I will replace it with a “change level when reaching  a door on the stage” kind of example. I will keep the scrolling example for older kids, or if a kid specifically asks for it.

Design notebook : I have had difficulties in systematically use them.  I have been thinking of preparing specific design notebook with an entry for each session. Do you have best practices on how this topic? I would be very interested.

Member

 I have been using the Scratch Curriculum Guide for about one month now to advance my 6th graders' knowledge of Scratch.  I started my Scratch unit by having stduents complete the Scratch cards, the orange square purple circle project, a scratch design studio project of their own choosing, and a remix project.  I then had them start working on the Scratch Curriculum Guide projects.  I let the students work at their own pace since they all completed the scratch cards at different times.

When I use the Scratch Curriculum Guide next time, I will have all of the students complete the same project on the same day.  I will also do the scratch design studio project and the remix after they have already completed the Scratch Curriculum Guide.  I will also add the space invaders project as a remix project and use the Scratch Diving Deeper Challenges to push their programming to the next level.

I love giving my students a packet of projects to complete at their own pace, but I found that some students completed 10 projects in the time some of their classmastes created 2 or 3.  I would love to have them moving through the curriculum more as a group so they can collaborate, share their projects, give each other feedback, and discuss different methods for solving the same challenge.

Member

Hi Megan,

I love your idea of using a combination of Scratch Design Studio themes, remixing projects, and Diving Deeper challenges to help students continue to engage creatively and move further with programming. Thanks for sharing your feedback and ideas!

M

Member

 I used Session #3 in my class with kids ages 10-16

 

When I first showed the "Bosses" the videos, the reaction was no way, this is going to be hard.  I must admit I had the same reaction.  I (and I think the kids) figured that the video with Mitch would be possible, but some of the later ones would be too challenging.  Well I was wrong (love when that happens, I learn something new :)

 

The kids did great and were able to program each other in a relatively short time.

One thing I changed from the Draft is I had the  bosses and bossed switch.  Show I would show the first video and A would program B, then I would have B program A.  So they all got an opportunity to see both sides.

 

I asked the question, "How is this like programming?"  Which is similar to "How does this activity relate to Scratch?"   Below are some of the comments from the students:

  1. We didn't know what was in the mind of the programmer.  
  2. We had no idea what they wanted us to do.  
  3. We had no "insight" (Note: I also have them taking the Coursera CS101 course on their own in a "flipped classroom" type approach.  One of the early comments in the course was that the computer, unlike a human has know insight into what you mean).
  4. We can only use words.

After class I realized one of the questions I should have asked is "How is this NOT like programming?"  I will try this next time.

 

For homework, I am having them create a "Dance" program, where they take pictures of themselves in different dance positions, "green screen" their bodies out of the pictures and then program each other to dance.  I am also using Scratch connect and Etoys so they can create a "game controller" in Etoys to control the Dancers and can have a dance party on one screen projected on the wall, each student controlling their own dancer using Etoys (via Remote Sensor Protocol).  Can't wait until Makey Makey comes out so I can try incorporating that.

 

Note: I had a class before this where we did "How to Train Your Robot"  using Dr. Techniko's hand out and having them program their parents.  Not sure how much this impacted how quickly/easily they were able to program each other.

 

I really like your approach of having kids "step away from the computer and no one gets hurt" approach.  I try to do this a lot, partly so they can get in touch and reflect upon the knowledge they have in their own bodies and also to give them different context for experiening the same/similar concepts and ideas,

 

Member

 I taught Session 3 again to a different group of kids and noticed how some of the moves are symmetrical (especially in Dance1).  I pointed this out to the kids (tried to do so through questions) and asked how are these moves the same and different.  Which led to the realization that its the same basic move once with the right hand and once with the left hand.  This then lead to a short discussion on how we can have a common set of instructions used by different body parts/costumes/objects.  In a future version of the class I would like to try and point this out immediately after Dance 1 and see how many kids "get the idea" and use it for Dances 2 and 4. Dance 3 doesn't really lend itself to this idea.

 

It would be nice if the third video also included ceratin moves like this so that I can use "the same script" with different body parts through all the Dances to help re-inforce this concept.  Of course, the videos are so well done (and the more I watch them I appreciate how well thought out) there may be a reason http://vimeo.com/28612800  does not have a similar pattern.

 

One thing that I believe could be useful for teachers is a set of additional "questions" and/or short videos on "how to use these sessions."  That said you have to balance providing a quick to the point lesson plan for busy teachers with more in depth/additional materials.  Perhaps as an optional section or additional resources and ideas for each session in a way that is easy for teachers to find and use (ie: not just in discussion notes :)

 

Member

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for sharing your experiences! I love the idea of having the partners switch so they get a chance to experience what it's like to program and be programmed. :)

I'd love to hear how the Dance programs turn out!

M

Member

I use Scratch as part of our middle school Innovation Lab design studio program. This curriculum document is a very useful tool and I greatly appreciate those who created it. Like many curriculum documents, however, I find it to be too much of a bottom up approach. I have found over the years that the non-intuitive approach of teaching top down works better in the development of creative and criticial thinking. That is, my students start by identifying a problem that they want to solve or a goal they want to achieve and then drill down to figure out what knowledge they need to learn and find or create the resources that they need. I found that if I introduce the features of Scratch from the bottom up that this limited the students' creativity. It locked them in to solutions that only used those features. I want them to learn to ask, "What features do I need in this language and how can I create them," rather than, "how can I build something on top of the features that I have been taught." I am using the curriculum document starting from the end, with the final project, and then letting students identify features that they think they need, and knowledge that they need to learn. For instance, they figured out that they need to learn how an arrow flies through the air for a game they wanted to create so they first went off and taught themselves enough physics. When they figure out that they need to write a piece of a program that repeates a certain number of times or until some event happens, they go look up if that is possible in Scratch. This is how I did engineering for many years and I want the students to be innovators and the drivers who create new technologies.

Member

Thank you for the great curriculum guide. I began a Project Based Inquiry Learning Project this semester with the 7th grade challenge class. Their final challenge was to create a video story or game that included Ecological principles we explored during the unit to be able to present to a panel as to further educate the younger generation. I took the curriculum guide and modified it a bit to be more of a self-paced packet. Can I say that it was great! The students who could move faster did so. They were required to complete all the different skill sets; however, I gave them the freedom to incorporate a few into one which they did with out me telling them. Their final projects are wonderful. In an effort to assist with the managing of the files, I use a free pbworks account where students could upload their works in progress and then post their final projects. This seemed to be a bit more focused arena for the students. Students viewed the other projects and collaborated online as well as did a gallery walk on the final day. They learned some valuable tools. I had MOST of my class staying daily to work on scratch. Additionally, I had others that weren't in my classes want to learn.

Thank you for the incredible material that has really sparked learning for many!

Member

 Is there a public URL? I'd love to see your projects and I'm interested to know more about how you used the pbworks account for sharing works in progress. 

Member

Thanks so much for providing this outstanding curriculum guide to me and my students. We have had a few bumps along the way and I know you are interested in how this currculum is working out for students, so I thought I would share the few challenges we encountered:

My groups have made it through to Session #12 so far. Things have gone extremely well until we attempted the Scrolling starter project. This one has proved the most challenging task for my students so far, and the one with which they have encountered the most difficulties. Many (6-8) students were not able to independently follow the the handout very well on their own, so I broke it down for them into sequential steps. The steps to creating the program were obvious to me, but they had a little trouble following the handout on their own, and envisioning the end result. I searched the Web site for some scrolling examples, which helped the students understand precisely what the goal of the project was and that helped them understand the four frames displayed at the top of the handout, as well as the other visuals on the handout.  

There was some confusion over the creation of the 2 sprites with identical costumes, and then some students incorrectly coded their scripts. These problems were easily solved.

However, even when all scripts seemed perfectly written, the costumes duplicated exactly, etc..,   we found that on some programs, the scrolling was "buggy." On these buggy  programs,the students figured out  that the order in which the variables and operator blocks are added to the stage script impacts the operation of the program. The script can "look" correct but not be sequenced correctly, and this is not obvious to the students when visually scanning for errors.

Having these students rebuild the last two blocks on the stage script precisely from left to right seems to solve the scrolling problem for most.

With more experience with Scratch, I might have been better able to advise them on this issue, but I was equally stumped for a while trying to figure out why some programs scrolled perfectly and others did not...

Again, thank you. The "bumps" are looked upon as learning opportunities and not frustrations. -BP

Member

Hi BP,

Thanks again for sharing this and I'm glad to hear that the you were able to resolve the "bumps". The scrolling project can definitely be challenging although still popular, and I can see where the handout might be lacking in terms of trying to translate the process of scrolling. This is great feedback for thinking about future iterations of the handout and activity. Thanks!

M

Member

Team,

This draft is proving very successful in my middle school. My students are thinking and learning, and I am so appreciative of the materials you have provided. The students are growing in self-confidence and many are getting turned on to computer science. My question is, will there be an extension of this curriculum guide?

I have some "eager beavers" in 6th and 7th grade who want to keep delving more deeply with Scratch, and I have been so pleased with the implementation of this in our school that I want to continue challenging the students next year. I'm planning to introduce PICOboards as an extension, but am wondring if you could point me towards some additional curricular resources for teaching Scratch. Essentially, I am good at implementing, but not so great at creating my own materials :)

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.-Betty P.

 

Member

Thanks so much for the feedback! Currently, there isn't an extended version of the guide although there are hopes to develop strategies for this in the future. Exactly how to do this? We're not sure yet. Do you have any suggestions?

For your 6th and 7th graders, I might suggest the Scratch Programming Challenges or Design Studio Activities that I could imagine being formatted for a classroom lesson plan. Every few weeks, the Scratch Team also posts a new Design Studio prompt on the Scratch website (see the 4th post on the right column), so if you are able to access the website, that might be a way to engage the students with a wider audience. If you're interested in physical computing like the PicoBoards, the LEGO WeDo Robotics Kit is another physical extension that works with Scratch.

You could also look through the middle school resources on ScratchEd to see if there's anything of interest there.

Hope that helps. Let us know how it goes!

M

Member

I am getting ready to train some Y teachers to use this curriclum.  Can anyone share more details about the Design Notebook.  Has anyone created a 'template' page or are people just using blank paper.

Thanks

Member

Our school uses Cornell Notes. So I have completed a Cornell Notes template for each "Module", (Intro, Arts, etc.). As we have shorter periods, I have had to limit the responses to one note taking per module.

I have put all of the design questions and the vocabulary, (Cornell Notes calls them key words), on each template. So each student has to turn in the project for the module and then complete the notes.

At the same time we are learning Scratch, students are learning to put their materials online in Blackboard, same ideas would apply to other online environments.

Member

 Our animation class meets 3 times a week for approximately 45 minutes. We started doing Scratch week 10 and this week is week 23. We finished our Dance Parties but that made us want to spend some time on audio editing so we took a little sidetrack and we're making the interactive bands which everyone is loving! We have one more week to complete the bands and then a break for Presidents Week and then we're back. We'd love to share. Anyone up for a Skype conference? We had fun with Ms. Pickett's class! Anyone doing anything similar with audio and Scratch?

Member

We will be taking a short break in the curriculum to learn to use Audacity, (its free). Then we will be ready to work on our final projects. Students love adding sounds and music to projects.

Member

 We wanted to do audio too so we did the Interactive Band project. My students are loving it! Would you be interested in doing that and we could share them?

Member

 We are moving into session #6 now, and still finishing up our Dance Party projects. My middle school students meet for 40 minutes, three times weekly. I am finding that we need to spend a little more time on each session than I originally thought that we would-the students are interested in creating very ambitious projects already!

We are using the resource cards, Susan's youtube channel, and projects from the Web site for guidance.

I have been videotaping their sessions and then playing the films back to the other classes so different grades can view the projects being created in other classes. This is one way they are learning from each other and collaborating, even thouugh they may not all be meeting face-to-face. I also pull up specific projects in progress from other classes so students can see the scripts, etc. that other students are working out. The students in class are encouraged to travel around the room to offer help and view others' projects also.

The reflection questions are something I really appreciate about this curriculum, and the maintenance of the design notebook. We usually close reflection time with a discussion/sharing session. My students struggled with the idea of sketching the arts- themed project. This was a good thing:They produced some great ideas!

I had planned to integrate portions of the Calder curriculum into my plans with this, but so far I am sticking to the draft as written, and the students are learning so much with it.

Thank you for providing this!

Member

The videotaping idea is awesome -- it's an approach to sharing that I haven't thought of before!

Member

Hi B,

It's nice how you're supporting collaboration within and across classes. The videotaping is a strategy I haven't heard of before. I would also love to find out more about your reflection/sharing sessions and what you find working/not working about them.

Thanks so much for sharing and I hope to hear more!

M

Member

Hahaha -- I had the same reaction and posted at the same time. :)

Member

Hi,

Well, I took one look at the new curriculum and decided to adapt it to our new Blackboard portal with the thought of later putting it up on a Moodle server.

Over all, I am very pleased with the organization of the unit and how easily most of it is going into the unit. As far as I know, this is going to be the first programming unit, in our state, developed for middle schools to use as a blended course.

If I can adapt the course to our state's online course standards, it could become available state-wide.

So, again, I want to give my congrats to the ScratchEd Team - excellent work!

Off I go to create rubrics for my grade level!

Member

I am starting session #3 this week, but Vimeo videos are blocked by our school administrator. Weird, because YouTube isn't blocked. Can the Scratch dance videos be made available in another way?

 

Administrator

Hi Molly,

You can now access the videos on the ScratchEd YouTube channel. - http://www.youtube.com/user/ScratchEdTeam

Please let us know if you have any other problems.

Thanks,
Michelle Chung on behalf of the ScratchEd Team

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