Yes you can… Scratch

scratchAs it is written on the Scratch website, Scratch programming is…

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.

Basically that means that students can program whatever they wish. You can make cartoons move around the screen with or without interactivity. You can create your own video game. You can do whatever you want, period.

Programming in Scratch is very easy. It is a graphical interface, so all you have to do is drag blocks into the work space and connect the blocks together. It is that easy. Here is a video to prove my point.

I found a great resource to help teach students programming with Scratch. You can find at Currently my students are creating games. They have learned how to make things move around the screen and how to make things interact with each other and now. (Of course they have learned many little things along the way, like problem solving and troubleshooting.)

On page 62 of the learner guide, the students made a maze game. It is a basic game and took my students two 40 minute periods to make. I allowed students to take creative liberties as long as the main goal was still to guide an object through a maze to and end point. Also you will see from page 63 of the learner guide a pong game. Again, students were creative and surpassed my expectations. Below is some videos of my students’ projects. You will be blown away with the creativity if you give students time and permission.

If you are saying this still looks too hard that is because you haven’t tried Scratch. On the website linked above, there is a teacher guide to help you learn how to program in Scratch. The only thing holding you back is fear. Start small. Have students work through a few pages of the guide. Let them teach you. The impact on you students is great.