After our Unplugged week, we started with Scratch Jr. There were two reasons for this. Firstly, it seemed like a natural progression from solving concrete puzzles on the floor with 'arrow code' on whiteboards to Scratch Jr's block code, largely featuring arrows. The other reason was that our school network was still recovering from the lightning damage and my plans to use Google Slides were on hold due to no connectivity. So, we dived right back into more coding.
I immediately found that Scratch Jr was completely accessible to students of all ages. The blocks are large and intuitive and the app comes loaded with a large number of sample projects that you and your students can pick apart for ideas. Once I gave them a short intro session to get them comfortable with the layout of the app, my students tucked in under the tables and gave it a go. I hope my students aren't the only ones who enjoy hiding under the desks when working with iPads? They almost all choose it over sitting at their tables.
The possibilities of Scratch Jr are vast. I can see multiple grades using this app to recreate familiar narratives like The Three Little Pigs and programming the sprites to move to enhance their story. I can see older grades using it to make a choice story - one where a choice the player makes changes what happens in the game. We will defninitely be using a lot more of Scratch Jr.
|"It's an evil cake and the red block makes it go around over and over again."|