Scratch Logo, courtesy of MIT Media LabLiteracy from Scratch

Materials by Teachers in English - Primary

Continents (Georgia Tabony and Katie Blackford)

PGCE Primary Education 5 – 11 years
Specialism – Computing
Scratch Program Reflection

Who is the Project for?

Continents The Scratch Program we have designed is aimed at the upper Key Stage 2 level, children between 9 and 11 years old. It was designed to aid the geography curriculum for children to elicit their knowledge of famous landmarks.

Reflection of Personal Learning

I designed my Scratch Program on the 7 continents. The program was designed in partnership with Katie Blackford. We worked collaboratively to create an interactive program that allows children to prompt their knowledge of famous landmarks from around the world. In using the Scratch program I have developed a firm understanding of how to create algorithms to produce on interactive computer resource. Using this technology has given me an insight into expanding my knowledge of programs other than Microsoft Programs such as PowerPoint, Word and Publisher or Paint. These programs are limited and often complicated for children to use. Using a program like Scratch allows children to explore the use of algorithms as well as creating their own characters or Sprites.

Designing the Project

During our Scratch project we found that there were a number of issues that we had to overcome. Firstly, the timings of each different coding were our most difficult challenge. It was important to allow enough time in between each step of our programme so that children would be able to read and process the programme at a good pace. We found this difficult because each step that had a timing code would affect the next and so on. It was also key to match the timings used on each individual Sprite to the background they were assigned. If the timings were out our programme would not make sense. Eventually, after a lot of tweaking and focus, we were able to get our timings on point and at the programme were able to be read at a good pace for children.

Secondly, as we spent most of our time getting our timings correct, we unfortunately ran out of time to complete our programme how we first originally planned. Originally, each continent was going to have two famous landmarks that the children would have to name. Due to time constraints, only two continents have two famous landmarks and the other four have one.

Introducing Scratch as an NQT

If I have the opportunity to teach Scratch in September, I would like to get the project running slowly at first by ensuring students are not overloaded with information. As I will be teaching in key stage one, I will propose the idea of a lunch time or after school club where I can introduce the programme to older students first to assess how they interact with it. Operations like choosing a character, editing it and positioning it onscreen are areas I would have students explore first before creating any movements. Students brainstorming their ideas and recording what they want to achieve would be of great importance as this is what helped me throughout the creation of my project.

There are ample opportunities for students to expand on their subject knowledge in taking part in such a project and in doing so they will also be knowingly or unknowing creating a cross-curricular resource that may be used forever more.

Notes from the Course Tutor

These files are for use in the classroom. They can, of course, be adapted by teachers, with further resources, such as Sprites or Backgrounds, added by pupils.

I have included all the work of my teaching group here. There are many wonderful teaching ideas, and if we did not solve every coding problem effectively (none of us is an expert in Computing, including me!), the creativity of these young teachers more than makes up for it.

The teaching programme covered 30 hours of work at the computer, so if you start with one session of 60 minutes per week, you will become as proficient as they have been well before the end of your teaching year!

The key to success is to work with a partner, share ideas, and problem-solve together.