Saturday, June 6, 2015

Animating Poetry Using Scratch

I knew I wanted to end the year with a digital storytelling project, and had a vision in my mind of students making short animations to accompany their poetry. I struggled to find the right tool for this idea, but Erik Nauman, my truly amazing colleague in our EdTech department, realized that Scratch would be ideal for what I had in mind. He quickly created a model animation to show my students, and after a few short conversations about lesson planning, we were ready to begin!

Erik led the students through a short tutorial on using Scratch, focused mainly on adding backdrops, sprites, and simple animation. While Scratch has been a challenge for me to wrap my mind around (I'm getting better, but s l o w l y), my 5th Graders were fearless as they explored, experimented, and problem solved using the programming language.

They came up with endlessly clever ways to visually represent their poetry, and used what Erik had taught them to build more complex blocks of code. We spent about 2.5 class periods on this project, and in that short time they discovered how to draw their own sprites, import images from the web, and not only make their sprites appear and hide, but glide as well.

The final results are incredibly sweet and simple short animations (between 10-15 seconds long) of original student poetry.

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