Scratch Logo, courtesy of MIT Media LabLiteracy from Scratch

Materials by Teachers in English - Primary

The Lonely Little Panda (Joe Sandalls)

Why I created a branching story

The Lonely Little PandaMy first Scratch project was a geography game focussing on the continents of the world. I aimed to create a game that the children could play themselves but which I had created. The game did not take as long as I had thought it would to create and I soon decided that I would prefer to add a more creative element to my project.

For this reason I decided to create a branching story which the children could follow, making decision and choosing the path of the main character. I based the story on an existing PowerPoint presentation which I had written alongside a peer earlier in the year. I had not taught in KS1 when I started this project and aimed to create a story which would have cross curricular links and the children would be able to work through independently.

What I enjoyed the most

I enjoyed the fact that this project allowed me a large amount of freedom to experiment with different ideas. As well as this the project allowed for a huge amount of creativity. In my opinion this is a huge strength of Scratch as a program. Children and teachers can be creative when using Scratch in a number of ways. The story element of the Scratch could tie in nicely with a literacy topic. As well as this children can create their own artwork; on the computer or perhaps in art lessons to be scanned in. Bringing an art element into computing is an excellent way to allow children to be creative with their computing.

What did I learn?

I learnt a lot throughout the process; at the beginning of the project I had limited experience of Scratch. This meant that I met a number of challenges to overcome throughout the process. The main problem I had was timing. I found that the broadcast feature was an excellent way around this issue. By using broadcasts, sprites interact with each other, thus rather than having to time everything from the start, the story can progress as sprites broadcast to each other.

How will this affect my teaching?

This project has given me more confidence to use Scratch in the classroom. Whilst this resource would be too complex for a KS1 class to program themselves I think it would be a good resource to share with the class. Using this as a model, children could then begin to program their own short stories (minus the branching element). Once the programming knowledge is secure children could begin to create their own stories and artwork to complete their projects in literacy and art lessons.

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.