Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Scratching my Creativity Itch in New Orleans

This week's challenge for my graduate class had me 'scratching' my Creativity itch.

Probably my favorite learning tool in the world is SCRATCH as it makes THINKING and LEARNING really visible. You can take any pedagogical textbook and illustrate its key concepts using Scratch as a tool.

(can you tell I'm a fan)

Here is a video I captured from my Tech Savvy Girls Camp of a group of young ladies designing their first game in Scratch. I filled the room with lots of fun creative objects to provide inspiration.The girls were asked to use the physical objects in the room to design a game. The game had to have at least 1 FAIL state and 1 SUCCESS state. Then they were given a short intro to Scratch lesson, and then asked to use Scratch to implement their design.

Here is their final Game Implementation on Scratch - Can you you use the cursor keys to navigate the frog through the maze.

This example  was an "outside" of school learning activity, but Scratch can be used in the classroom, as you can see from this "connecting Scratch to literacy" example.

A few years ago I went on a mission to move these creative type activities INSIDE the curriculum and worked with another Creativity enthusiast colleague to kick off a project that we called "Create Simulate Innovate"

I was astounded at how hard it was to get teachers to buy into this idea. Even my most creative teachers went would respond with "sounds like a great after school activity" or 'perfect for enrichment class".

I did have a few successes and here is one of them.

A fifth grade teacher who I saw a connection between teaching kids procedural writing in language arts and SCRATCH. She discovered that having kids "LIVE" and "EXPERIENCE" procedure was a perfect connecting to WRITING out procedures.

They examined the ultimate procedural writing text - "cookbooks" then create their own Interactive procedural pieces using "Scratch" before they moved on to the actual writing piece (which I believe was a local assessment)

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