#projectgoals

We are EXCITED! Students, parents, colleagues and myself, everyone is very excited for this project to get off of the ground. Over the past few weeks, my class has worked on ironing out all the little details for our #thehappinessproject. If you would like to be brought up to speed you can read about our beginning details here. Over the past week, I have sent additional permission slips home with students to ensure that their families are ok with their work and pictures to be featured on our classroom happiness blog. Our families are all very excited about this project and currently, we have 95% of our students with full permission to participate! Which I feel is a huge success. Immediately following the February break our blog will be live and you can follow along with our #thehappinessproject. If you are curious to see how you can support us and or would like to get involved you can connect with us after the February break here!

happy despicable me GIF

Gif Credit: Giphy 

Image result for digital communication for kidsThis week we were encouraged to look at the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship and consider how our project begins to connect to these nine elements. The first element that I plan to connect to with our happiness project is Digital Communication. Digital communication is defined as “the electronic exchange of information”.  Throughout this project, my classroom will be using many different forms of technology to share and promote our project. We will be using email, blogging, seesaw, twitter, facebook, and Instagram. This will provide my students with the opportunity to share their project and learn how they can use these platforms to share information and educate others outside of our classroom. We will discuss appropriate use of digital communication and the importance of safety while communicating with others online. Through this students will learn how to appropriately use technology to communicate their thoughts and ideas.

Photo Credit

The second element that we will explore during our project is Digital Literacy. Digital literacy is defined as The process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology”. Through this project, I am going to be able to weave in digital literacy opportunities into our daily teachings and into our classroom. Through this project, I am going to be able to teach my students about different digital literacies and how these can support and extend our learning. One of our major digital literacy learning areas throughout this term will no doubt be our classroom blog. Through this students will learn how to share their learning with others by writing and uploading onto our blog. This project will allow students to learn t0 use many new types of digital media. We will also be looking at how different social media platforms can be used to spread awareness around our project and how they can allow us to connect with and collaborate with other classrooms.

Image result for kids blogging

Photo Credit

The third element that we will explore during our project is Digital Health and Wellness. Digital Health and Wellness is defined as the  “Physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world”.  Through our project topic, we are going to be able to explore digital health and wellness. We will talk about the effects both positive and negative that technology and using devices can have on our bodies and health. While we explore mindfulness and self-care practices we will look at how technology can affect our mood, our behaviors such as rest and sleep periods, how it can become addicting and how many people use technology as a way to escape from the present world. We will explore many areas of Digital Health and Wellness within our project.

Image result for kids digital health

Photo Credit 

Looking at Ribbles Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship I feel that this project has the potential to cover many if not all of the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship but the above are the three areas that I am committed to ensuring my students have a great understanding of throughout this project. I am excited to provide my students with the opportunity to engage and connect with others online. I feel that this project will allow them to understand how we can use the online world to spread awareness for a cause as we connect with others who are interested in a similar topic as us. I am excited to allow them to use our classroom blog to share our journey as well as educate others about #thehappinessproject. I feel that this is a great opportunity for my students to be involved in something much larger than just our immediate classroom. I can already feel their passion for this project!

Thanks for stopping in! Once again if you would like to be a part of our project let me know! We will meet you at happy!

 

Advertisements
Posted in EC&I 832, The Happiness Project | Tagged | Leave a comment

We present to you…. The Happiness Project

After many conversations with my students and some pre-planning, we have settled on an idea for our activism project! We are so excited to present to you “The Happiness Project”.

We are so very excited to have some of the details of our project worked out. Let me share with you what we have been up to over the last week as we ironed out some of the finer details we have made in preparation to roll out our project!

The Happiness Project

Image result for happiness

Photo Credit

What is the Happiness Project?

The happiness project is an activism project that our Grade 3/4 classroom will be hosting. In honor of International World Happiness day, we are going to dive deep into ourselves in the pursuit of happiness. Over the next few months, we are going to participate in daily activities that encourage mindfulness, self-regulation, self-care, gratitude, with the end result being happiness.  We will explore the belief that happiness lies within ourselves and that with self-care and attention to self we can boost our happiness.

We invite and encourage you to get your own happiness journal and follow along with our simple daily activities on your own pursuit of happiness.

Image result for happiness journey

Photo Credit

Our Cause: We have decided to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan. Our mission is to make Rainbow Loom bracelets as a symbol and reminder that happiness is already within you. All money raised from our bracelet sales will be donated to the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan.

How you can get involved:

We will be looking for other classrooms to collaborate with for this project. We will be using many forms of media to involve others in our project. We will be reaching out to classrooms by sending an email inviting them to join our project. We will also use my twitter account to invite and encourage other classrooms from around Regina or anywhere in the world to join us. Our classroom will explore how we can use different types of media to spread awareness and help bring people together for a cause. We will also be launching our Happiness Project Classroom Blog. This blog will be where we will share our classrooms journey with our happiness project. This is where other classrooms can follow along, read about our classroom experiences, find daily activities to participate in all which will be written by students within our classroom.

We will also be getting our school and other classrooms involved with purchasing our Rainbow Loom bracelets as a way to show their support our project as well as make a donation to our charity. Please let me know if your classroom would be interested in purchasing some of our bracelets.

Image result for charity

Photo Credit

These are the beginning details of our project.  I have sent additional permission slips home with students so they have permission to share their work and ideas publicly on our classroom happiness blog. We would love for you to follow along on our journey!

Please contact me with any questions you have! Send me your email address if you would like to be included on our email list with further details about this project!

Thanks for stopping by! We are so excited to get this project off the ground! We will meet you at happy!

Posted in The Happiness Project | Tagged | 5 Comments

The future… Where will we end up?

The future. It is coming whether we are ready or not. Life changes. We change. Technology changes. Change happens. Change can be good. Change can be bad. Regardless, change happens.

We know that change happens in all areas of our life. And as parents and teachers, we also need to be prepared and open to change. We need to take on the challenge of one of our greatest responsibilities which is to prepare our younger generation for the really unknown future.

Related image

Photo Credit

This weeks topic made me think about a blog post that I wrote the last term. In this post, I discussed the rapidly changing world due to technology. In this post, I discussed Pavan Aroras statistic that “65% of grade school children will have jobs that do not exist today. Similar to what Nicole shared in what skills they predict students will need to land a job in 2025. These statistics are no doubt ones that should be considered when looking at how we structure our teaching moving forward. These statistics show that we are actually preparing students for a world that does not exist yet, so in turn, we need to be futuristic in our planning in order to prepare our students for their future roles. Students have access to endless knowledge via technology. We need to take this into consideration in our teaching. We instead of teaching the facts need to work towards teaching students how to become independent learners and teach them how to access information through different forms of media in order to build their knowledge. Below is a Ted X video with Pavan Arora sharing his ideas of the future generations.

 

This week I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my education as a child and how the education my students are getting is very different from the education I received as a child. Education has no doubt changed from when we were children and as a teacher, I am left considering how my teaching needs to continue to change and adapt over the years to the rapidly changing world. We cannot let ourselves get stuck in the comfort of what we are doing. Instead, we need to continue to educate ourselves and stay current with what needs our students have.

What sort of world are we preparing kids for?

It is hard to sit back and imagine what type of world we are preparing our children for. It is evident that the world we are preparing them for is something we likely cannot even begin to anticipate yet. So in this, we need to understand that we are not necessarily preparing them for a certain type of world rather we are giving them the skills that they will be able to navigate the future with. This no doubt includes our students learning to navigate technology independently and safely. This is giving students the skills that they need to become independent learners where they can search independently for answers as opposed to teachers feeding them with knowledge. It is hard to even guess where the future is going but it is certain that technology will be a major part of it so it is important that we adopt teaching using technology to ensure that we are providing our students with experiences that will prepare them for the future.

Image result for kids future careers

Photo Credit

What sort of education or education system will be needed to adequately prepare students for the world ahead?

This is a very great question. I think it is important to always reflect on these questions to consider what we are making a priority in our teaching and if this will in the long term greatly benefit our students. I have had the opportunity over the last several years to work in an open concept school where teaching and learning are very different from many schools who have a closed concept approach. I feel that collaboratively we are working together to plan and teach in ways that we are preparing students for the future. I feel like we are working together to structure our school day with more flexibility and choice than ever before. From open concept classrooms, flexible seating, passion projects, flexible grade groupings and the implementation and access to daily technology we are beginning to work towards pushing the boundaries of the traditional classroom-style education. I feel like this experience pushes me daily to challenge my teaching pedagogy, collaborate with others, and have discussions about how as a team we can work together to preparing our students for their future.

Image result for education technologyPhoto Credit

I understand that as educators of future generations it is important that we continue to question and challenge our views and ways of teaching to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prepare our future generations. It is important that we continue to push outside of our comfort zones to stay current with what skills students need to acquire to be successful members of our future society. I feel that I am committed to creating a climate within my classroom where we work collaboratively to explore their interests and passions and teach them how to become independent learnings able to navigate the continuously fast-changing world.

 

 

 

 

Posted in EC&I 832 | Tagged | 3 Comments

Plot Twist… Major project 2.0

Ok, so this is very unlike me because I really am not an indecisive person at all. I have decided after much debate that I am going to change my project idea. I have felt a pull towards doing the activism project after some conversations with my students this past week.

game of thrones wow GIF by SoulPancake

Gif Credit: Giphy

We all know that kids are so giving and caring and really just want to help out and give back in any way they can. I teach grade 3/4 and I feel like this age is the age where they become very aware of their surroundings and how they as little humans can affect others around them. Last year I taught a very passionate group of students who wanted to do a big project to raise money for something…really for anything, they didn’t care what it was they just wanted to do something. Unfortunately, I was only teaching halftime last year and time just was never on our side and we never got something off the ground.

This school year I am back full time and I am really loving having more time at work to dig deeper into the curriculum and the richer relationships I am building with my students. Since the winter break, many of my students have expressed to me at different times how they want to raise money for different causes, last week being one of those weeks. It really triggered me that this is an opportunity for them that I could support them in and it would be great and I am feeling pulled to let them run with it.

So here I am changing my project! We are going to launch a classroom activism project while using media to share our ideas, promote our cause and raise awareness. I am still working out the finer details, but I feel like we have a great idea in mind and I am excited to see how this project unfolds. I have a very ambitious group of students with amazing supportive parents so I know that this is going to be a hit!

Stay tuned for all of the details as they unfold. This week our goal is to hammer out some of the details! We will be looking for classrooms to connect and collaborate with us on this project! So get ready friends! We are coming your way! Here is a sneak peek into our classroom today as we started to launch our ideas!

Posted in The Happiness Project | 6 Comments

Digital Native-Digital Immigrant…Or somewhere in-between?

This week we were encouraged to begin to look at technology and its impacts on different generations. The video ‘Do “Digital Natives” exist” gave an overview of what the terms digital natives and digital immigrants mean.  I haven’t taken the time before to consider this let alone begin to consider where on this spectrum I fall, but based on this video it states that anyone born after 1980 is considered to be a digital native.

Image result for digital natives vs digital immigrants

Photo Credit: unplug.com

Although I am considered a digital native I still remember life before the internet, getting our first computer in our home, dial-up internet, the bag cell phone that didn’t leave the car, using a pay phone, going to the library to sign out books for a research project  and many more pre-technologies that make me consider how I could also be a digital immigrant.

The video suggests that some believe digital natives are native speakers of the digital language of computers and that because they are digital natives that they may not need to be taught how to use computers as they will just navigate and learn on their own. This, of course, could be compared to a child learning their native language in that they learn it by being immersed in it and through immersion and practice that they will, in turn, learn their language. Children who are immersed in technology will eventually find their way with it but like a child learning anything, there needs to be guidance within the learning.

I feel that obviously, most children nowadays are digital natives and if given the privilege and accessibility to access technology they will be able to teach themselves how to use a computer. There is no doubt that children need to be skillful in the use of technology but they also need to understand beyond just the using of technology. Although it seems natural for children to be able to use these tools and learn to navigate them independently there still is and always will be a need for education.  This should not excuse parents and teachers to step away and let children navigate this on their own even if the parent is a digital immigrant and feels less comfortable with technology than their child.

This is where digital natives and digital immigrants must work together and learn from one another. The divide between natives and immigrants will no doubt become narrower over the years as more immigrants are beginning to immerse themselves in the digital world. This is where parents and educators must work with children and students to learn from them about technology so they can in turn help educate children and students on the importance of being a good digital citizen. This I feel is similar to a teenager learning to drive a car. As a parent, we wouldn’t throw over the keys to our 16-year-old child as if to say have at it. We would ensure that we take the appropriate steps to teach them the rules of the road, understand the consequences and help them practice until they are able to drive responsibly and safely on their own.

zits1

Photo Credit: Zits Comics

Teachers, parents, and students need to find a way to collaborate and learn from one another in the world of technology. Parents and teachers need to become interested in what students use technology for and push themselves out of their comfort zones in order to meet the student’s interests and needs. Working with kids opens one’s eyes to the importance of listening to what they are doing online in order to educate yourself so you can help educate them. It is our responsibility to teach them how to be safe online. There is no doubt that they may understand how to use the apps and tools better than we do at this time, but I can assure you that outside of that we have many lessons that will teach them how to be safe in using them by educating them on digital citizenship that will transfer over into their ever-expanding world online. We can not just assume that because they were born in an age where technology is present that they will be good contributors to the online world. They are not born with that skill set, they need to be taught that. As teachers and parents, we need to make it our goal to become as literate in the digital world so that we can teach children and teens to be contributing, positive digital citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in EC&I 832 | Tagged | 1 Comment

Let’s do this!

I’m back! Another semester has begun and after a nice break away from classes, I am very excited to begin another journey. I learned so much in ECI 831 last fall that I have no doubt that this semester will be equally as fulfilling.

happy jonah hill GIF

Gif Credit: Giphy

Looking at the proposals for the major project I began to think how I could use one of these ideas in my day to day teaching to advance my own understanding of Digital Citizenship and continue to learn about my responsibility as a teacher in educating my students as well as their families about the importance of digital citizenship. I want to consider how we can begin to look at all of our roles in working towards the common goal of our students being safe and responsible online.

Image result for 9 rules of digital citizenship

Photo Credit: The Book Fairy Goddess

This year I am teaching in a grade 3/4 classroom and I feel like this age is a very important age when it comes to focusing on digital citizenship. At this age, many of the students are becoming aware of different social media platforms and many of them are beginning to explore these sites whether their parents are aware or not. They are at the age where many of them have their own devices and are beginning to build their own digital footprint online. That being said, I feel like we need to help them navigate this new world rather than believe that they will be able to make appropriate decisions without guidance and education.

This term I plan to focus on integrating digital citizenship into my daily teaching as we begin to look at the benefits and challenges of our students learning and navigating the online world. I plan to incorporate lessons from the Common Sense k-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum as well as create my own series of lessons to demonstrate different areas of digital citizenship for my students. I also plan on exploring and incorporating Ribbles Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship for Schools. These resources will act as a starting point for our exploration into digital citizenship within our classroom.

Image result for ribbles 9 elements of digital citizenship

Photo Credit: Tes Teach

Image result for facebook for digital citizenshipOnce we have a basic understanding of digital citizenship my plan is to then launch a classroom Facebook page. By launching this page my students will have the opportunity to learn about a popular social media platform and begin to practice good online etiquette by taking turns updating and sharing on our classroom page. This opportunity will allow students to use their digital citizenship knowledge to practice appropriate online behavior as we use Facebook to help us dig deeper into digital citizenship with hands-on experience and media literacy learning.

Photo Credit: Fuzion

I also plan to connect with parents about their role in our digital citizenship learning. I plan to encourage parents to interact with us on our facebook page to help model appropriate online behavior. I also plan to provide parents with resources to help them learn about their roles in educating their children about digital citizenship and what they can do at home to further our learning. The article Digital Citizenship: Guide for Parents is a great resource that I plan to share with my families to help begin the conversations in their homes about digital citizenship.

Above are my proposed ideas for my major project. This is an outline of some of the ideas that I have and goals I hope to meet. I anticipate that once we get started my project idea will continue to change and grow. I look forward to jumping into another project and exploring more about this topic with my students.

Let’s get started, friends!

 

Posted in The Happiness Project | Tagged | 2 Comments

Digital Learning Project Summary!

This term has given me the opportunity and time to launch Seesaw in my classroom. Originally, going into launching Seesaw I was thinking it would be a good communication tool to bridge the gap between home and school and keep my families informed with what is going on in my classroom. I have learned so much about Seesaw over the course of this term and I feel that it is much more than just a communication tool. It serves as an online digital portfolio, an assessment tool, a communication tool, documentation tool and assignment tool. It served our classroom in many more ways than I ever anticipated it would.

Image result for seesaw

Photo Credit: Seesaw

Here is a recap of what my classroom has accomplished with Seesaw over the past few months.

1. My main goal was to use Seesaw as a tool to connect home and school. Check out my blog post Connecting Home and School to view my initial goals with Seesaw. I shared how as a mom I enjoy getting updates on my children’s learning throughout the day and how I wanted to provide parents of the students in my classroom with these same opportunities. Little did I know I would discover that Seesaw would serve my teaching in many other ways.

2.Early on in my Seesaw journey, I had the opportunity to participate in a division Professional Development day where we were able to choose which Community of Practice we would like to attend. This gave me the opportunity to attend the Seesaw Community of Practice which allowed me to collaborate and learn from other teachers within the division that are already using Seesaw in their classrooms. You can read about my experiences getting familiar with the app and collaborating with other teachers from my school division on my post Collaboration: Seesaw COP.

3. Once I felt like I had an understanding of Seesaw we were ready to launch Seesaw in our classroom. I made sure everyone had the correct permission they needed to participate and then we hit the ground running. You can read about how we launched Seesaw in our classroom and sent our first bits of learning to our parents on my blog post-Ready, Set, Launch!

4. This class has helped me understand the power of getting connected. It has encouraged me to reach out to other educators and learn from them. Twitter has allowed me to connect with teachers from all over the world who are using Seesaw in their classrooms. I especially appreciate @seesaw and how they use Twitter to keep educators informed with new features of their app, PD opportunities they are providing and sharing examples of other educators work. You can read about my experience with using Twitter to help me learn more about @seesaw and see great examples of how teachers are using seesaw in their classrooms by reading my blog post @seesaw, I love you! 

5.This fall Seesaw launched an activities feature on their app. This feature allows teachers to create assignments on Seesaw and push them out for students to complete and save onto their journals. Seesaw has pre-made activities that teachers can use for each grade level as well as directions to create your own activities. I used the Seesaw help center a lot to answer all of my questions while creating and launching the Seesaw activities feature. You can read about my experiences with this on my blog post Seesaw Activities Feature.

6. Throughout this term, we have been using Seesaw as a “show what you know tool”. This provided students with an opportunity to demonstrate and record their thinking to show how they completed and understood different concepts. This provided me with an opportunity to think about Seesaw as more of a portfolio to document and store learning as well as a way to communicate and demonstrate their learning to families. You can read about our first experience with using Seesaw as a documentation tool to show families their understanding of a math concept here on my blog post Show what you know!

7. Seesaw is a great introduction towards social media for young students. In my classroom, I was able to introduce Digital Identity to students and begin to explore how we can interact with one another online using Seesaw as a secure platform. Seesaw has provided my students with the opportunity to interact and comment on one another’s work. I appreciate how parents are able to comment on their child’s work as this provides students with great role models for positive interaction online. You can check out my post Creating an Interactive Community to see how we are using Seesaw to get social within our classroom.

8. Seesaw has allowed parents to enter into our classroom over this last term. The feedback from parents has been fabulous. Many parents have expressed gratitude towards being involved in their child’s daily learning. I am so grateful that parents have 100% jumped on board with this learning. This term we hosted an Author event that many parents were unfortunately not able to attend due to other commitments. Thanks to Seesaw, I was able to send families videos of their child reading at the event so they could hear their child’s stories. You can read about how we were able to use Seesaw to ensure that all parents could be involved in our event on my blog Seesaw saves the day! 

This term has been a great learning experience and I am so grateful for the opportunity and encouragement to launch a new tool within my classroom. We all can appreciate the fact that teaching is a busy career and it is easy to continue to stick to what you know as it can feel overwhelming to take on something new. I am thankful to have this opportunity. I feel that our journey in Seesaw has just begun and I look forward to continuing on this school year to see what else we accomplish with Seesaw in our classroom. Thank you all for following along on my learning journey!

Take a look at a few bits and pieces from our classroom this term! Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping in!

 

Posted in Major Project | Tagged | 2 Comments

Seesaw saves the day!

Over the past month, my students have been working on a very large writing project in our classroom. They worked through the entire writing process to create stories. The stories that they wrote were phenomenal and they put many hours, tons of hard work and effort into creating these stories. To celebrate we had an Author event in our classroom where we invited parents and families into our school to listen to all of our wonderful stories.

Photo Credit: Seesaw

The students were so excited to have their families attend their Author event. The students each typed their stories as well as created an illustration and an about the Author page to go along with their stories. Students practiced reading their stories and prepared to read aloud to our guests. When our guests arrived each student had their illustration projected behind them as they read their stories aloud. It was such a wonderful event for our students and families.

Photo Credit: Seesaw 

Unfortunately, not all of our families could attend due to other commitments and work commitments. These families, of course, were upset that they were not going to be able to hear their child read their story out loud. This is where Seesaw saved the day. I was able to record each of their stories and share them on their Seesaw accounts so that their families could listen to their child read their stories live.

Families were so thankful and excited that they still got to see their child read their story. Parents were able to be a part of the event even if they were not physically with us that day! The feedback that I got from parents over this was amazing. I was so thankful to have Seesaw to help parents and students still connect over this amazing project even if they couldn’t be with us on that very day!

Photo Credit: Seesaw

Just another reason why I love Seesaw so much! It really is so special to be able to share these events with parents and be able to document this learning for our students to watch back and reflect on!

Posted in Major Project | Tagged , | 1 Comment

And that’s a wrap!

This term has been one of great learning! I am so thankful for getting to experience this class with each and every one of you! Best of luck in all of your future endeavors and the remainder of your Masters’ classes! Take care and stay in touch on Twitter!

Here is my summary of learning for ECI 831! A shoutout to Snapchat for helping make this project so fun!

 

Signing off!

Channing

Posted in EC&I 831 | Tagged | 2 Comments

Coding… Say…Whaaat?

Ok, so let’s all just take a moment, do a little slow clap and welcome me to this next generation of learning. Let me explain. A few months back when the new Ipads rolled out into our classrooms one of my colleagues was telling me about Scratch Jr. and that it was a great ‘coding’ app. I literally looked at her with a blank stare, wondering if she was speaking English! I then, actually forgot about that conversation until Kelsie started talking about her coding project for this class! This is when I really became interested in what coding was all about.

slow clap GIF

Giph Credit: Giphy

Over the past few months, I have been hearing and reading a lot more about coding and I am now becoming aware of what it is and why our students and children need to learn these skills. My time on Twitter over the past few months has really helped me become aware of different coding programs and what other teachers are doing to incorporate coding into their classrooms. The article “Why Kids Should Learn to Code” by Erik Missio was a great read that helped me begin to understand the benefits of children learning to code, as well as tips on how to help kids get started.

Similar to Kelsie’s blog post, Scratch Jr I am also going to be writing my review of the program Scratch Jr. This school year I was given a few Ipads to use in my classroom with my students and Scratch Jr is one of the apps on classroom Ipads. I wanted to use this time to dig into and look at the apps that are found on my classroom Ipads so that I can get comfortable with the programs and begin to implement more of these programs into my classroom.

Photo Credit: Scratch Jr

When I started to do some reading about Scratch Jr it was apparent that this is a program that is widely used and that it is a great starting tool for kids to learn how to code on. The article, “Scratch Jr: Coding for Kindergarten” shares how coding is a “new literacy” and that children will need to learn how to code to keep up with today’s ever-changing world. The following video shares the ideas behind Scratch Jr.

Video Credit: Scratch Jr: Coding for Young Kids

Let’s get started!

When logging on to Scratch Jr I can immediately see how user-friendly this program is. It is visually appealing and welcoming. When logging on you are able to watch a ‘how to’ video which gives you a tour of the app and all of the features on the app. The video shows someone working through creating a code so teachers and students can watch an example that helps them understand the different features on the app. It shows how to add the backgrounds, the different characters and how to create the sequences for the characters to move and do many different things. The following video is the introduction to Scratch Jr.

Video Credit: Scratch Jr

When you log on to begin coding you have many different scenes that you can choose from. The backgrounds that you can choose from include, parks, schools, stages, classrooms, cities, space, ocean, houses and many more. You can also choose to create your own background or upload a picture from your camera to use as your background.

Photo Credit: Scratch Jr

There are also many characters that you can choose from. There are people, animals, objects, plants, cars, and buildings. There is a wide variety of characters and objects that students can program into their stories. Similar to the backgrounds students can also draw and upload different characters and objects.

Photo Credit: Scratch Jr

Once you have picked your background and your characters you can then begin to code your story to tell your characters what you would like them to do. You start by choosing which character you want to program and then you begin your sequence by choosing a ‘yellow’ programming block that signals you are going to begin your sequence.

Once you have selected a yellow trigger block you can then select from the other blocks to create your sequence. The following are the blocks that you can choose from for your sequences:

Motion Blocks (Blue): the blew motion blocks help move the characters around. You can move the characters right, left, up down, turning right, turning left, hopping up and down as well as having them return to their home position.

Looks Blocks (Pink): the pink looks blocks help to alter the way a character appears. You can increase or decrease the characters size, place a speech bubble above your character, hide and fade your character and show your character. 

Sound Blocks (Green): the sound blocks allow you to add sound to your characters. There are two choices for sound blocks. The first choice is to choose the default “pop” sound provided in Scratch Jr and the second option is to record sound using the Ipad’s microphone. 

Control Blocks (Orange): the control blocks let you control the script. With these options, you can pause the script, change the rate at which they run, stop all of the characters scripts as well as repeat the blocks a specific number of times. 

End Blocks (Red): the red end blocks indicate the end of the script. You can choose to end the script or choose to repeat the script over and over. 

Children use all of these blocks to help create the sequence or code that they want their character to carry out. They drag the blocks to the bottom of the screen where they link together to create the sequence. It is very user-friendly and easy to manipulate on the iPad. If students get stuck while working they can hit the question mark and that takes them back to the information video as well as examples to help get them back on track.

Photo Credit: Scratch Jr

The Verdict:

I found my time spent on Scratch Jr to be very informing. Like I said above, prior to this I had zero knowledge of coding. I feel that this app is very user-friendly and the visuals make it extremely easy for young students to navigate the app. It is geared toward early elementary students and I feel that the Ipad is the perfect tool for young students to learn to code with considering they can use the touchscreen.

I also found that there were lots of options they can use which helps to keep them engaged, entertained and on task working on this program. There is a multitude of backdrops, characters, and codes that the students can choose from and play around with. I feel that students would have tons of fun creating many different sequences using the different settings and different characters.

I do particularly love the option to customize pictures, characters, and voices. This allows students to use the camera and microphone to customize their characters. I feel that this would be great to help students create and share by using the characters and retelling stories by adding their voice to the characters.

I really do appreciate how user-friendly this app was and I now feel like I have a basic understanding of what coding is and how it is an important form of literacy that needs to be incorporated in today’s classrooms. I feel that this week gave me the opportunity to dive into a resource that I already had access to but haven’t had the time to try out yet. I am excited to share this with my class as I know many of them will be very excited about using Scratch Jr to learn more about coding!

All in all, I give Scratch Jr 5 stars!

 

Posted in EC&I 831 | Tagged | Leave a comment