Scratch - Learning, Investigating, and Creating Computer Programs for K12 Students


When was the last time you got a good smell of a Crayola Crayon? It really doesn’t matter the color! Just the scent will turn on the imaginative juices possibly lost since Kindergarten! Or perhaps you remember the hours you spent with Tinker Toys. An adventure filled with a constant flow of unchecked time building, tweaking, and tinkering! Then there was the Easy Bake Oven. A true childhood dream of combining, remixing, and creating. The brilliant inventors at MIT’s Life long Kindergarten Group have found a way to repackage, reinvent, and integrate these same concepts and come up with an ingenious package called Scratch. It is a mix of on-line experiences, computer programing, animation, game creation, multi media, fine arts, science, social studies, language arts, math, and collaboration.
Do you want to build a game? Scratch can do it. Do you want to create a work of art. Count on Scratch to allow you to fit together the Master Pieces! Do you want to discover mathematic? You can count on Scratch to make sense out of numbers and number theory. Do you want to tell a story? Scratch can do that with pictures, sounds, and movement! Do you wish to experience sound and music? Scratch will carry quite a tune! There is simplicity for elementary, challenges for middle school, and complexity for the older students. Educators can help students Scratch their way through any level and curriculum.
Perhaps your school is fascinated by STEM, or intent on pulling in the fine arts by creating STEAM! Possibly your is venturing into the world of Project and Problem Based Learning. It may be the 21st Century Skills that you are building with students each day. Scratch can be used as a tool to promote all of these awesome avenues that promote student centered high level learning!

The MIT Scratch Website


The best place to start learning about Scratch is visiting the Scratch Site at MIT yourself. At this portal you will find a wealth of information provided for educators and students. Be sure to take your time because you will be immersed in a wealth of information. This site provides all you will need to get your students started. The key to making Scratch work for kids is giving them the key. You will find them way ahead of you with in a week as they program, collaborate, design, and even work from home. After all it is free and more importantly, engaging! Your job will be to facilitate, guide, inspire, and challenge as they explore worlds that allow them to learn, create, and share. Allow me to take you on a quick tour of the site.

Download - Exactly what you would expect. An area to register and download for free! Program is available for Windows, Macs, and Linux operating systems. Kids can even download with out giving out any information!

Scratch Tours - If you are new to Scratch, what a great place to start. How about Exploring The World of Scratch. A great way to see the diversity in the program. Perhaps tour different Scratch Stories whether they be animations, tales, interactives, music, or art. Get an idea for remixing what has already been created by others by using the Remix Tree. This is a great way to experience the true spirit of Scratch

Scratch Video Tutorials - A great way to watch some ways to begin using Scratch. Watch the videos and then give it a try! Great place for both educators and students to be begin Scratching!

ScratchEd - A great online community for educators. In the Stories Section you will find over fifty articles on how Scratch is being used in the classroom. Be sure to read through this collection of experiences, practices, and reflections. The Resource Section is filled with over 250 ideas that will relate across all subject areas at any grade levels. In the Forums Section you can look through close to 200 topics and over 500 posts. The Members Section will allow you to network with the 2500 members of the ScratchEd Community across the world.

Scratch Design Studio - This is an awesome area where users can learn from other users. Educators and students can find out how to do some pretty cool things in Scratch by investigating what others have done. Better yet, once you figure out how to do something fun with Scratch... submit it in this area

Scratch Projects - An entire channel devoted to featured projects from Scratch Users across the world. Scroll through and learn what people are sharing and doing with Scratch.

Scratch Gallery - An area that has projects by category. These categories can be used as a starters for student projects while providing ideas. These can be searched by latest, featured, design studios, and keyword.

Scratch Support - A must visit area providing information on ways to begin using Scratch in the classroom. You will find valuable materials in here. Be sure to download and read the 14 page PDF file entitled Getting Started Guide. There are 12 colorful Scratch Cards that can be downloaded and printed to help students learn Scratch. These are valuable and a definite plus for helping both educators and students. Peruse the Scratch Facts and last don't miss some of these valuable Scratch Resources. You do not want to miss this 23 page Reference Guide To Scratch. It has everything you need to get started.

Scratch Forums - Do you have a question, looking for collaborators,or seeking ideas? Then this area with its thousands of posts will satisfy your itch to even learn more from a network of people around the world.

Scratch About Page - Yes it is worth the click! There is a goldmine of information here. You will find further information for educators, read current news stories about Scratch, gather research about Scratch, donate to Scratch, and visit the Scratch store.

Scratch Wiki - A collection of over 350 articles and stories written by Scratch Users for Scratch Users. This one Wiki will provide information useful to both students and their teachers. This is a must visit for all!

Scratch Conference - Yes, there is a conference at least once a year held at the MIT Labs for those that are itching to get even more involved with relieving their need to know more about Scratch.

Scratch Day - There are currently four events in three countries across the world. Learn how you can become involved in one of these and possibly even host your own.

Another Great Website To Support Scratch Learning


Want to start your students with some Scratch opportunities. This site at LearnScratch.Org. is one of the best you will find. I find it hard to believe that it is really free, but then so is Scratch! Every time I visit the site I am impressed with the work by the people at LaSalle Schools and Universities. Spend some time with this site and you and your students will walk away as Scratch experts. It is easy for students to learn about Scratch with the material provided. There are close to 70 short yet powerful videos developed by the people at LearnScratch.Org. LaSalle has even included three colorful accompanying lesson booklets covering over 140 pages of great information. I have even created some accompanying worksheets for student documentation of learning progress that you will find in this review. If bandwidth is a problem such use the Contact Link and the people at LaSalle will send you a username and password to download the tutorial videos. Lets take a moment and discover LearnScratch.Org.!

Why Learn Scratch - Read this article that was obtained from the Partnership for 21st Century. Natalie Rusk, Mitchel Resnick, and John Maloney at Life Long Kindergarten Group (MIT Media Lab) provide compelling reasons to use Scratch In The Classroom. has gleaned this information from the groups "Learning with Scratch, 21 Century Learning Skills" report.
Lesson One This incorporates 12 quality training videos on an overview of Scratch. A great way to learn introductory features found in Scratch. Learn how to make and move Sprites, add sounds, change colors, and control actions. Don't miss this colorful 22 Page Booklet created by LaSalle to provide teachers and students with lessons that accompany the videos. I have included below a guide for students to follow along as individuals or groups. This is useful for teachers who wish to document student learning and hold students accountable for their learning in an organized way.

Lesson Two - Take the time to incorporates 24 more videos encompassing five outstanding units at a more advanced level for use after finishing skills in Lesson One. These lessons will provide students and teachers with the knowledge necessary to understand and use the close to 100 building blocks found in Scratch. There is an even larger 54 Page Booklet in full color created by LaSalle to provide teachers and students with lessons that accompany the videos. I have included below a guide for students to follow along as individuals or groups. This is useful for teachers who wish to document student learning and hold students accountable for their learning in an organized way. Once again, I have included that can be used along with the tutorials in order to document student progress.

Lesson Three - With the understanding of Scratch behind you and your students, it is time to take your students on a journey of creation, remixing, and innovation. These 32 amazing videos will uncover the secrets of programing Scratch to perform various projects. These projects are organized into the thematic units of; animation, drawing, games, interactive, art, music, and simulation. This really an area where you can set kids loose, explore, and take charge of their learning. Like the other two lesson areas, there is a comprehensive 70 Page Booklet in full color created by LaSalle to provide teachers and students with lessons that accompany the videos.

Join A Study Group - Don't learn by yourself! Join a community of learners! Get help when you need it, work on assignments together, and connect with others around the world. has teamed with OpenStudy, a group founded by students and professors at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and funded by the National Science Foundation. OpenStudy believes that students can tech other students through collaboration.

Scratch Day Ideas - Visit this page to request a free DVD filled with all the tutorials and materials on the website. There are also tutorial videos to get your students ready to participate in Scratch Day Events, or just begin their own stories.

Scratch Lesson Plan Booklets - While mentioned earlier, don't miss these free booklets filled with over 140 color pages of lessons and activities that compliment the tutorials. These are a must download for any Scratch Classroom!

Aprendiendo Scratch - Want to view materials in Spanish. Check this out. remember that the program Scratch translates close to fifty different languages. You will see it in the Set Language Menu.

Twenty Other Sites To Relieve The Itch To Scratch

20.jpg - Wow, I thought I had already found some awesome Scratch resources and then I came across this one from Ireland geared toward High School students. It is filled with lessons, videos, power points, and scratch tutorials. To include the whole curriculum would take hours. Be sure to check out the Teaching Resources that are ten modules filled with engaging resources. You will need to register for free to get a password for all resources. Students from any country can even enter a Competition sponsored by The Irish Software Engineering Centre. This is a must visit site for teachers developing their integration of Scratch.

Redware Scratch - A great collection of videos and lessons that are designed for all ages of students along with adult learners. Included is an overviewof Scratch, and a lesson planfor teaching children Scratch in the home, classroom, or at a computer club. Also you will find a series of videos for children and adults to begin learning Scratch.You can even purchase an inexpensive CD to load all of the resources on a school network in the event of bandwidth issues along with some valuable documents to be used when Scratching!

Shall We Learn - An amazing site with some awesome Scratch lessons. What I like about this site is that it was written by a programmer for children. Lessons are color PDF files that can be downloaded and printed! The activities are engaging and explain the procedure Scratch is performing through out the lesson. Lessons include; Creating A Sprite, Dance, Sprite Interaction and Variables, Working With The Stage, Scratch and Audacity, Pong, Stories And Animations, Learning Gaming With Mini Mario, and Explaining The Scratch List. It really is an awesome collection!

Learn Scratch - This clever tutorial was developed by a student at the University of Wisconsin. By following all eight lessons students will save each lessons accomplishments and then build on the saved file with the next lesson. The satisfying end result will be a game. A great way to introduce various concepts using Scratch.

Game Programing Using Algebra and Geometryy - Patrick Woessner, from his wonderful Blog Technology In The Middle, has done a nice job of integrating computer programming, Scratch, and Algebra with geometry. Be sure to take a look at the Slide Share Presentation, the Scribd Publication, and down load his presentation in a provided Zip File. Excellent job of providing lessons to integrate it all together.

Teachnet.UK - Outstanding collection of seven lessons designed to get kids programming using Scratch. This United Kingdom based sites provides downloaded lessons that will get students creating clocks, bouncing balls, chasing animals, and even a Pac Man. Don't miss the eight power points that give a lot of explanation and ideas. Check out the correlation with UK National Education Standards.

Wikibook - This Wikibook has some great information that will help you and your students explore and create in the the wonderful world of Scratch. Great descriptions and resources.

St. Paul Public School Podcasts On "How to" Use Scratch - Check out these Podcast by kids for kid! They include Scratch - Making Buttons , Scratch - Making Backgrounds , Scratch - Open and Save , Scratch - Using a starting block , Scratch-Setting a postion , Scratch - Hide and Show , Scratch - , Scratch - Drawing a sprite , Scratch - Changing costumes , Scratch - Broadcast , Scratch - Using Say , and Scratch - Using Pen. Perhaps you want your students to give it a try.

Scratch Programing Projects - Some great projects from Nebo Elementary Fine Arts Department. These come with descriptions, scripts students can use, and in depth direction for creation. A great page to take a look at how things work in Scratch!

Scratch Ohio State Workshop - Interesting three hour activity using Scratch to get girls interested in engineering. A possible lesson that others may wish to try. Complete with plans, scripts, and tutorials.

Scratch Boards - How about experimenting with sound, light, pressure, and conductivity in the real world? You can bring Scratch outside of the computer and attach a Scratch Board. Now you have something new to program and a whole other world to explore! One you decide to Order, then you will wish to download the Driver. Once you are all set up it is time to explore and follow along with this nine page Manual. Check out this YouTube Video of a Banana Peel being used to play music in Scratch!

Creating Pong From Scratch - A great video from the Blog of Darrel Branson, an ICT Guy in Australia. It really is easy to watch and when you are done you can make the game of Pong come alive! Memories of the 1970's! Worth a watch and a try! Give it a try, it is only seven minutes!

Scratch K12 Online Conference - Spend 22 minutes with Chris Bechter from Sydney, Australia and you will get a great introduction to Scratch and ways it can be used with elementary math students. Great integration of math and art. Very entertaining and engaging, loaded with lots of ideas!

More Scratch Cards - How about 22 more Scratch Cards? They are a gift from from Amitai Gat and his students at the Holon Institute of Technology in Holon, Israel. These cards really are amazing and were graduation products of students in a program for Instructional Technologies Program. Make sure you download them!

GameStudio - A wonderful site that introduces Scratch, gives tips, and lots of great project ideas. Worth the trip and time as you will walk away with some outstanding ideas!

Space Shuttle Mission Game - Play the game, or better yet go through the 18 lessons at creating it! Lots of advanced theory and ideas! Great project to let kids go out on their own and learn the game making process!

Experts Using Scratch - From New Mexico state University. This involves a five day course on studying and using Scratch! If you are not an expert when you enter, you should be when you leave!

Morpheus On Scratch - Some amazing demonstrations and ideas to think about when using Scratch. Be sure to check out the lessons that seem advanced and engaging! I especially like the Piano and Reaction Timer.

Scratch Eyes - Follow these video tutorials as they get more difficult. All the graphics for you to do it are included in a Zip File. See if you can get a good look at how Scratch works!

Scratch Materials - I happen to include this site due to the integration it makes with High School students. The autor, Helene Martin, does a very nice job at bring Scratch to High School programming!

My Scratch Webinar Archive


Learn, Create, and Innovate with Scratch! - Michael Gorman
Moderated by Steve Dembo and Hall Davidson
November 30, 7 PM ET (You can also click above to listen to the archive)
For Educators (all grade levels)

How can you incorporate the arts into STEM? Scratch, a free programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab, allows students to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art As your students work on Scratch projects, they will learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also collaborating with others and sharing their work through the worldwide web. In this webinar Michael Gorman will introduce Scratch, show some beginning basics, give student examples, and show how Scratch can be applied across the curriculum. He will also take you on a tour of the Scratch site and other sites built to get you and your students started. You will discover how to get students a basic beginning and later get them involved in animation, drawing, interactive art, games, math, music, simulations, and even a possible contest. While this webinar will only "scratch" the surface, it will provide the foundation to incorporate Scratch into your curriculum and get students excited about STEM.

Books Worth Reading About Scratch

Scratch Programming for Teens [Paperback]

Jr. Jerry Lee Ford (Author)

Amazon Link

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Scratch 1.4: Beginner's Guide [Paperback]

Michael Badger (Author)

Amazon Link

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