April 1, 2009

Scratch! (Creativity & Innovation)

This week I have been teaching 4th graders to use Scratch from the MIT Media Lab. It's GREAT! I can't remember when I've had this much fun teaching and the room has been full of kids who are empowered, active and creating. I used the videos from the Scratch site to introduce the concept of the program to the students and gave them a few starter commands from the Scratch Cards. Within twenty minutes the students were recording their own voices, "whirling" sprites, adding sound effects, creating speech clouds, and creating iinteractions between sprites. It has been fascinating to see some students focus on sounds, others on motion and others on looks and paint features. Doing this with several classes has given me the opportunity to see teachers who have supported creativity and innovation in their classroms and are cheerleaders as their students explore this entirely new realm. Where does this fit in the curriclum? To me it teaches thinking, problem-solving and feeds the "dessert brain" referenced in Edutopia magazine by Hugh Osborn.