Planning for #HourOfCode: Plans + Video Tutorial to Introduce Students to #Scratch @ScratchEdTeam @CodeOrg @BullisSchool

I am excitedly coordinating an Hour of Code project for our Upper School to participate in this year! Hour of Code will be required for all 10th grade students, and encouraged for all students, as well faculty and staff.

To kickstart things, I created a video to present Hour of Code at our Upper School Assembly:
Hour of Code – Assembly Announcement Video

Yes, I created the “Let’s Code” animation using Scratch. It was a fabulous idea in my head… which turned out a little less awesome when complete :) But I included it nonetheless. Here is the “Let’s Code” program in Scratch if you’d like to check it out.

I love Scratch! I think it’s a fabulous way to get students excited about programming. I used it when I taught Introduction to Programming. In addition to being a great introductory programming language, one of my favorite things about Scratch is its online community. My first favorite thing is the “Remix” culture. This is the idea of taking a project that has already been created and shared on the Scratch site and then editing that code to upgrade, experiment, and take the project on some creative whirl of the new author’s choosing. Honestly, some of my primary methods of learning have been through taking things apart and figuring out how to reassemble. This applies not only to physical objects, but is also my method for learning most things on the computer. Much of the programming I know has been learned through taking an excel spreadsheet full of formulas or a project that is complete and then going backwards to figure out what each formula / line of code means. And the Scratch community really encourages students to create and share, which is what keeps the community an active, lively place! In addition, as a teacher, something I highly value are the rich resources available for teachers on the Scratch site. If you’re not familiar, take a peek at their curriculum guide and discussion board with announcements, meetups, stories of success, and general teaching chatter.

So for Hour of Code, I decided to use Scratch as our programming language of choice and used the resources put together by the ScratchEd Team. I thought the Pong Game looked like the most exciting way to engage our HS students and an appropriate level of difficulty. Those with no programming background might spend most of their hour just setting up the Pong Game as described in tutorial, whereas others might have time to really customize and play.

I put together the following for students:
Hour of Code: Quick Start for Students

It includes basic instructions for signing into Scratch, how to access Scratch tutorials, plus a quick video tutorial I put together:
Video Tutorial: Coding a Pong Game with Scratch 

I hope that the above might help in your Hour of Code planning! Or that it might serve as some inspiration to play around with Scratch a bit!

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