Thursday, April 9, 2009


(This is a follow up to Blog Post Feb. 26th where we learned that a Scratch group was started at KHS!) -- This morning I had the incredible opportunity to observe the culminating event of a 7 week SCRATCH group of students who met one morning a week before school. Two months ago, two students came to Aimee Anctil, LMS at KHS, to talk about their recent experience at a Saturday workshop in Darien in which they learned how to program with SCRATCH. Ms. Anctil asked the students if they would like to teach her and other interested students how to use Scratch. Now, the first 7-week Scratch course is over... with plans for a second!

Today parents, siblings and future Scratch students (who plan to enroll in the SECOND Scratch series) were in the audience. The presentations were structured to put the students in the driver's seat. They showed their work and talked about creating, remixing and posting Scratch files. They showed the MIT site and talked about some of the projects that they learned from and how they downloaded and "remixed" them. The two leaders are planning their strategies for the next series of Scratch workshops, which will have new students (beginners) and repeating students (advanced). The two student teachers have divided their responsibilities to each be with one of the two groups.

The example below was created by one of the student leaders, whose Scratch name for posting on the Scratch website is Popeyeblack0.

In a rapidly changing culture, Margaret Mead pointed out that the young have to teach the old. Kids regularly learn "games" and the use of certain technologies earlier than many adults. Asking them to teach their peers and willing adults provides them an opportunity for not only learning the content at a deeper level, but also allows them to develop many other important skills, such as collaboration and communication. They are also highly motivated by the passion they have for the subject.

This morning's culminating Scratch sharing BY kids for kids and adults was a great opportunity to view how "old concepts" (independent learning, flexibility, opportunity to fail, design, collaboration, determining audience, critical thinking) are reframed in the 21st century. Great job SCRATCH kids! Great job Aimee Anctil!

... and now school stops (as does this blog) until April 20th. See you then!

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