Six year olds can code: Scratch at Stanford Infants

Posted: March 10, 2012 in scratch, technology

Scratch programming: who said kids can’t code!

Firstly I would like to thank Stanford Infants and Regent Class, for allowing me in to their classroom. You are amazing!

The project: I am a secondary teacher who goes (on my day off) into one of three Yr2 classes at Stanford Infants to teach programming using Scratch and the Animation 12 competition. I initially developed the course as the workload on primary teachers is already huge; Then having to learn a new software package and the concepts behind it just too much. Why not use “Us” secondary experts to deliver that topic and the class teacher can learn at the same time as the student. One of the key things has been the support from the class teacher, especially when I am pitching to high level or going too fast. It has been an amazing experience for me as a practitioner.

I was terrified before the first lesson. I didn’t sleep the night before; it was like going out on my first placement as a trainee teacher. Funny thinking of it now, 30 6-7 year olds, what can they do apart from think the class teacher is great. That all being said I much prefer the “banter” with the secondary students. I say banter, but as you teachers out there already know it can be very challenging.

The Project itself:
6 weeks of 1 hour delivery from me. The class teacher would then develop the work further to allow the project to progress. We started with the “what is an animation” using cartoons to give the students an idea. Each lesson I showed the Scratch environment and the initial reaction was one of fear but lesson 2 we talked about robots and how you give them instructions. Also in regards to plays and the stage directions and scripts. As a class they instructed me on what to add or modify. We tested as we went along and they were able to “debug” with a few hints. The joy and delight of achieving their first bit of programming was infectious.

By the time this blog goes I will have finished delivering the project. One of the lessons will be delivered by 3 of my yr9 students. They are also new to Scratch and have some great ideas about what the students could do and how they could help them in developing the Yr2 students programming skills. You would be surprise at the planning to get 3 students out of the classroom for 1 lesson. The risk assessment alone……

Their knowledge acquisition was surprising to say the least. In the same lesson they were able to tell me how to stop the sprite from going off the stage by using the “if on edge bounce” block. Just Brilliant! The lessons fly by, it is a joy to teach. Any secondary who has the opportunity to go and teach at their local primary PLEASE jump at it. It is scary at first but it is also great fun and they think you’re great; something that doesn’t happen as often in secondary schools.

I have learnt a lot from the class about my teaching and I would like to thank them for that.
Initially I planned the 6 week course but I modify with the class teacher after each session. As soon as the project is finished I will re write the project and share the resources here.

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Comments
  1. Matt Sendorek says:

    Fascinating! I have been trying out Scratch on Year 3/4s while, as a volunteer, running an after-school Computer Club. Many are mostly keen on playing (child-friendly) internet games, but I am hoping to get some others interested in a more serious look later on. I look forward to reading whatever else you are able to share of your experience and how to get them hooked…

  2. […] we care enough to make science classrooms fun  and teach children to code at whatever age (see coders aged 6) . Our belief in STEM is being economically underpinned by recent spikes of interest in biotech, […]

  3. Thanks for this blog post. It’s really interesting to see how you adapted the software to become accessible to 6 year olds. I’ve been aware of Scratch for sometime, but haven’t had the time to explore it thoroughly enough to use in the classroom. Also, I think it’s a great idea to build a partnership with a local primary! I may have to ask my local secondary school when next on placement for help in this area. I’d be interested to see some of the programming they completed.

  4. […] Six year olds can code: Scratch at Stanford Infants. […]

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