This past week we had a two-part workshop. Most of the kids in Wilmette were off school for the whole week before Thanksgiving, so we had a full class with a waiting list. Unfortunately, the high school students were in school, so I didn't have a teen volunteer to help out.

Our project was making a Turkey Hunt game (see my last post for the project). I think the project is cool, and in general the kids liked it. But I have to say it was a little long and challenging for this group, mostly first-time Scratchers. They had a ton of questions. I was really scrambling to get them all answered. This experience really made me appreciate our teen helpers! At the same time, I was trying to encourage the kids to help each other. It kind of worked--some of the (older) kids were really helpful, but others weren't too good with the trial and error stuff and didn't really try to work stuff out on their own. Grr! Then, on the second day, the projector setup didn't work. Thankfully, Brian was around to save the day. He let me borrow his laptop, which worked with the projector, and we got on with the show.

The difficulty of the project combined with the lack of a helper and technical problems made this seem like a turkey of a program. On the upside, I think at least two of the participants really took to Scratch. In between sessions, they went home and made their own projects. Despite the problems, we got some kids hooked on Scratch.

Now for my rambling. I've been hearing more about Scratch being taught in schools, not just in Wilmette. Have you heard similar things in your area? Do you know how they're using Scratch? I just saw one of the kids (Sam) from my digital literary magazine. His mom works at a school over in Skokie (suburb just west of Wilmette) and she said that Sam taught the media/technology teacher there Scratch. I love it!

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Comment by Jen on December 2, 2009 at 1:38pm
You can also check out the ScratchEd site - Keith and i have had lots of interest from teachers and school library media folks. I know he did an in-service for Mpls school media folks last spring. You might want to see if you can get in with your district or the statewide teacher's conference to do a workshop. We can certainly share the materials we use, which are a work in progress!
Comment by Sabrina Sutliff-Gross on November 30, 2009 at 8:50pm
We've been working with a handful of teachers here in St. Paul and the surrounding metro area for a couple of years - we've assisted in k-2 classrooms and others - but what instantly comes to my mind is Karen Randall, an elementary classroom teacher here who has really tried to integrate Scratch into her classroom (she has her own laptop cart for her room). She has done some great stuff and here wiki is here.

Here is a discussion with Karen Randall and Natalie Rusk (one of the co-creators of Scratch) discussing Scratch in the classroom.

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