Monstrous Beats

Here’s a fun Scratch activity that we’re remixing this week in the 4th grade. I call it Monstrous Beat Squad. It’s a remix of a great project by Eric Rosenbaum called Beatbox Quartet. You’ll know Eric as one of the inventors of the MaKey MaKey, a wildly popular computer interface board – the one that turns fruit and other conductors into keyboard keys – that is loads of fun for kids and adults.


Enjoy the project. Have your own students build a similar project all on their own with the help of this Scratch activity guide that I wrote. I use it in class with my students. Happy programming!


Code-able Fashion Pt. 4

We’re all the way through our week of Code-able Fashion! Today was the day for final mends and stitches before our afternoon showcase. We’re so proud of the students. Lots of work done and redone to get to the finish line. Enjoy this slideshow that the students made of their work this week:

Code-able Fashion Pt. 3

As designers it’s important to make time to reflect and share your progress and your challenges. Sharing with your peers will boost your confidence, when you receive some kind words and compliments on your progress. Sharing with your peers will remind you that you’re not struggling alone, when you hear empathetic “me-toos” as you express your frustration over challenges. Sharing with your peers will also help you think more deeply as it requires you to pause and reflect on your decisions, and because the group always has questions and feedback about your process and your decisions.  


Code-able Fashion Pt. 2

We’re 3 days into our e-textiles short course, Code-able Fashion, and we’re all learning a lot, kids and adults! A few quick notes I’ve taken as we progress:

  • We could have a whole IPW project just on sewing and “stitch-craft” (nevermind the programming!)
  • We could have a whole IPW project just on programming wearables (nevermind the sewing!)
  • Differentiating is even harder when your students are a mixed-age group from 8-12
  • Sharing the work of pioneers like Maddy Maxey, Limor Fried, Leah Buechley is a great way to start off each work day with kids!
  • Embroidery hoops are AMAZING!
  • The boys in the group (only 2?!) love the work, but they suggest naming the course “Code-able Clothing” in the future, because they feel the word ‘fashion’ scared off many other boys for some reason.

Code-able Fashion Pt. 1

Integrated Projects Week is here again and this time I’m partnering with K-2 Ed Tech Gina Marcel to execute of week devoted to wearable technology that we are calling ‘Codeable Fashion’. Here’s our course description:

We’re going to combine the worlds of fashion and computer programming by exploring cutting-edge wearable electronics in this IPW. You’ll learn how to remix a piece of your own clothing by sewing in tiny computers with soft circuits. Then you’ll add sensors or lights that you can program yourself.

Let’s take fashion and technology to the next level. It’s time to hack your hoodie, program your party dress, and code your clothes!

We thought to create this short course because we read so many student suggestions requesting both fashion and programming projects. The decision to make it a mashup of the two is really exciting for us with all the e-textiles work that Gina has done and the programming work that I have experience with.

Me tinkering with some wearable electronics.

Me tinkering with some wearable electronics.

My layout for a LED knit cap.

My layout for a LED knit cap.

Creative Coding After-School Share

We had our final Creative Coding after school class yesterday. It was a project showcase and parents were invited to see their children’s work this semester. The students final projects were to make their own Scratch Creative Computing Curriculum Guide activity sheet that their parents could use to try out Scratch for themselves. We used the plans in the CCCGuide called “My Activity” and students turned one of their own simple Scratch projects into a worksheet with sample code blocks that parents used to explore Scratch.

Parents try out Scratch activities designed by their children.

Parents try out Scratch activities designed by their children.