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Entries in TES (1)


Scratch Day 2012 - A Bug's Life

Francis the LadybugScratch Day is in its third year this time round and had the largest turn out globally. As you are probably aware I'm a big fan of Scratch and all the far-reaching elements into the curriculum it can enhance via ICT. With 175 events in 42 countries we were the only school to post to the Scratch Day site in Taiwan. Last year we collaborated with the American School to share the learning on both campuses via Skype and Ustream. This year we decided to go it alone.

The turnout this year was surprisingly low (a combination of timing - the Saturday Soccer overran by a week, the Year 5 Camp Taiwan had just finished and a break-out of enterovirus has swept through school like Whirling Dervish. Nevertheless the children managed to produce some brilliant animations. The theme was to be called 'Funky Concertina' but the plan soon evaporated when we tried it out in class and it was apparent that the saving and re-opening of files on different machines would cause the animations/ games to become snagged by human error. The premise was this: each child would create a simple game based on a ready-made template with 6 coloured blocks. The aim would be to reach a goal either by maze or imaginary world.

The concertina part would evolve when each person in the group would move to the next computer in the classroom to their right. It would be timed to 5 minutes so all children would have to edit their idea in that time be it adding sound, move, broadcast, effects etc. They would then move to the next computer and numbered scratch file and the process would start again.

The problem lies in the differentiation of the concertina. Not all children would be able to add the sufficient script the person before them had in mind for the game to continue especially if the child leading is a Year 5 and the follower is a a Year 2. It's great in a maths setting with total control of the template and if you have confident children on Scratch but otherwise it's gets messy and argumentative very quickly!

So I decided to change it and go with something more fun and easily edit-able: A Bug's Life. The videos are below for you to follow and have a go yourself.

And these are the .sb files

Images: Backdrop 1, 2, 3

Sprites: Ladybug and Ant

As for the day itself it always goes so fast and the children are always surprised by how much they get done. This year there was a higher percentage of girls attending was excellent and the winner of the competition was a girl too which is a double bonus - I'm always conscious that ICT is heavily weighted towards a boys and try to encourage the girls to out perform them in their creations.

The animations below are from one of the runners up and are in Year 2. Well done to them all. They used the video as a starting point then added their own variations to scripts. I think they have done really well for the age that they are and the adventurousness of the animation. They have even begun to look at broadcasting which I only tend to bring into scratch at around the end of Year 3 and Year 4.

Scratch Project

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As usual the competition is about who shares the most and who really achieves the most on the day. So the prizes are weighted that way too with the team players getting the same prizes and the winner getting a bigger goody bag. What's always strange is that as soon as they settle down to create and build they totally forget about the prizes until I remeind them about 30minutes at the end! It's so funny to see their faces and then the mad rush of conversations!

The next runner-up was from Thomas in Year3. A new boy to school and has never used scratch at all. This is why the video help can become so handy. Thomas is from the Netherlands and language is still imporoving but his enthusiasm is full to the brim. Well done Thomas.

Scratch Project

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This is the winner on the day. Tiffany is in Year 4 and worked solidly on her animation while simultaneously helping the boys in Year 2 above. Well done Tiffany.

Scratch Project

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So, that's it for another year. A big thank you to the CAS students that turned up to help and Miss. Soo too who came later to take the pics for the day. Looking forward to further conversations and projects linked on twitter.