Coding a Children’s Book

Our 3rd grade programmers are studying computer science through the lens of storytelling this year. During their literacy classes they are learning about narrative non-fiction, and will eventually author their own stories with the help of some mentor texts. This is an exciting opportunity for a technology integration since we can use Scratch to program an interactive story. We used one of the grade’s mentor texts Ish by Peter Reynolds to have students create their own “clickable collage” using content from the story. It’s a great way to give context and meaning to a coding lesson.

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You can download my lesson plan and student activity sheet from the ScratchEd website and see links to sample projects too. Here’s my completed model clickable collage for you to enjoy. I show it to students and then challenge them to make one of their own custom design using the images from the book.

Musical Drawings

4th graders are continuing their exploration of computer programming through music. In the video below they are demonstrating prototype experimental musical instruments that are drawn in graphite pencil, connected via MaKey MaKey, and coded with Scratch. Drawings, code, and music are all student-generated.

Coding Electronic Music

We’re starting a new integrated unit on experimental music in the 4th grade. I’m excited to be collaborating with the Science, Music, and Art teachers to explore sound and music through all these disciplines. For my part, I’ll be teaching students to make electronic music by coding with sound in Scratch. We’ll also dive into programming with sensors to make unusual DIY electronic instruments.

My first activity is called “Boom, Snap, Clap”, a simple percussion program based on the kids song/dance that I frequently overhear them reciting.