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Exquisite Corpse Workshop Reflection

This afternoon in the Clarke Scratch Club I offered the members the choice of working on anything of their choice in one of our two rooms, or participating in a special workshop activity in the other room. Eight scratchers chose to take part in the activity. The scratchers in the workshop probably still count as beginners as they've been doing scratch for only about a month. Unfortunately the more experienced scratchers in the club all decided to work on their own stuff, but maybe I'll be able to get them interested next time.

The activity was to create a Scratch Exquisite Corpse program (that is rather than having multiple people contribute to an image or story have them contribute different elements of a scratch program). The Exquisite Corpse Activity sheet that I created for the workshop is in the Resources.

The eight scratchers fairly naturally split into two groups of four. This seemed to work out pretty well. On occasion, one member of a group would be lagging behind the others, but it wasn't too hard to deal with. I think that any more members in the group would have made having lagging members a bigger problem. Three in a group would probably work as well. Two seems like too few for getting the right quality of surprising things happening as different people work on the project, so I would definitely stick with groups of 3 or 4 when doing this again.

I've put the approximate times for each step in the activity resource. While I tried to keep things moving along mostly in sync with the plan, it was ok for the different groups to be working at slightly different rates. Essentially once everyone in a group had completed a step they could move on to the next step without waiting for other groups. In some cases when there was one member lagging the others it took a bit of encouragement and prodding to wrap up the step to progress to the next.

In one of the groups one of the boys decided that his theme for the day was 'chips' so as he progressed from project to project he added chips to the project in one way or another. It was pretty funny to see vampires and chips in the same project. Another member had one sprite 'following' another, but had drawn the sprite facing backwards. So it looked like the first sprite had the second by the tail. In the end he decided that he liked it that way and left it.

At the end we went around the room and each person showed one of the projects. I had them show the project on the computer they started on, but I think it might have been better to have them show the project where they ended. The club runs for an hour and we were able to fit the activity and viewing all eight projects into the hour. If there were more scratchers participating, it might take longer as I think an important part is to see the interesting projects that result.

This was a bit of a departure for our Club. Usually members just get to work on whatever projects they want to, but I've been thinking that I need to find ways to get them to break out of the ruts they get into. I think the students that participated were a little skeptical at the beginning, but in the end they all really enjoyed it. One of them even asked if they'd be able to do it again.

Here are some of the projects from today:

 Kweeto and the Llama and the Clone

Magical Llamas


Michelle Choi

Thanks for sharing, Chris!  I agree that it would be interesting to have participants talk about the project they end on. Are you thinking about using the activity again? It would be interesting to hear what you do differently and how that works out.

Karen Brennan

I really like how you're able to offer more and less structured activities for the participants. I imagine that having two rooms makes an approach like that much easier. How did they use or interact with your handout?

Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to reading about other "rut-breakers" you develop!

Chris Garrity

  I have to say that I don't think they did much with the handout, and frankly I didn't really expect them to. I used it at the beginning when we talk about what an exquisite corpse would be, and it did include the steps as reference. However, once we got started as this was a small group it was pretty much me letting them know what to work on next, and the kids would ask questions when they wanted to do something. It was nice that when one boy asked 'how do I make the sprite follow the mouse?', I was able to pull out my chase game handout which has an example of the code for following. (I haven't put that worksheet up because I don't think the activity itself is right yet, but the example code was useful!)