Let’s “Scratch” Together! A Child-Led Scratch Programming Workshop

Hoi Leong Lee · 58 ·

Immediately after Kayden’s first workshop on Microbit, he was very eager to conduct a second one. So we say, “Let’s do it!”

The Planning

We sat down and talked about what we want to do. After a long 2.5 hours meeting, we decided that we will conduct a Scratch programming workshop on 28 September. To make it sound more fun, we thought of naming the workshop Let’s “Scratch” Together, putting a pun on the word Scratch.

Learning from his previous experience, we quickly started to list up our tasks leading up to the workshop – from designing the poster and e-mailer, to setting up a registration system, workshop content creation, and a post-workshop Kahoot game to check of knowledge retention. It didn’t take him long to start designing the poster and set up the Microsoft Form for the registration!

Event Poster

The registration filled up quickly – in a few days, the workshop reached its full capacity of 10 participants! But this was when the pressure started to come in. Kayden was determined to make the workshop something fun with lots of hands-on – something that he felt was missing from the coding classes that he attended. It was then an intense process of co-creation. He and I each conducted research, bounced the workshop slides back and forth a few times, not without some disagreements in the content. Until the day before the workshop, some of the details were still not tied down. But well that is how things are in companies too!

The Workshop

Finally, the day has come! We started the workshop with an ice-breaker game of “Scratching” each other’s back with their name for everyone to first get to know each other. We thought that it was quite fun in the planning stage, but it turned out not be not that effective. Somehow no one managed to guess each other’s names. Well, it was a good learning experience from failures.

We then separated the participants into groups to start the workshop proper. Rather than going through a lecture of the basic concepts, we ran the participants through a series of small challenges, such as moving a character around the screen touching the four corners, changing scenes, etc.. Through these, the participants learned programming concepts such as breaking down actions into steps, using loops and events triggers.

The participants were a spectrum from total Scratch beginner to having some experience. It was intentional that we mixed them up when we did the grouping to encourage peer learning. We were encouraged to see exactly that happening during the session! Those that were more advanced, after their own mission was done, were helping out their team members. Through teaching, their understanding would have been improved too.

Peer learning 🙂

For the last part of the workshop, we asked the participants to try to think of a story, and then use their recently acquired Scratch skills to create an animation. This is what programming is for – a tool to enable creation! Each worked on their own creation for about 30 mins, and after that, we went around the tables to see each other’s stories. While not everyone was able to complete their stories yet, it was encouraging to see the various imaginations of the children.

Next Step

The workshop that we put in much effort to prepare ended. Most of the participants went home happy. However, there were also a fair share of hiccups and happenings. We asked for feedback. Some found that we were going too fast, some didn’t understand the content, etc. Kayden and I set down after the session and reflected on what worked and what we could do differently next time.

Personally, this process of co-creating with him was also memorable. From him, I learned that there is this AI logo generator tool on the web that one can use to generate new logos for free. His personal experience from other coding workshops shaped a big part of the direction of the workshop. The playfulness and funniness that he has made the content more interesting. Taking his opinions seriously paid off! This is what we hope to do at VIVITA. If it didn’t work, no worries! Just reflect and try again.

Interestingly, halfway through the conversation, he started telling me about his idea for the next workshop that he wanted to do! We then spent another half an hour talking about that (laughs).

Can’t wait to see how his next idea will come to life!