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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Reflection on my Numeracy PLD for 2015

I decided to present my reflection as a Google Presentation.  Not sure why, I just felt inspired!  Thank you to Lucie and Sue who have truly transformed the way I teach and think about the teaching and learning of Maths in my classroom.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Scratching Skills

It has been two weeks since my first and last post about Scratch in the classroom.  It has taken that long to complete and be ready to share our first games.  It was a very challenging but rewarding experience - for myself and the students!  I was amazed at how much learning occurred all through the fun of creating and online game.

I was amazed at the engagement level...which was especially helpful in the raining Term 3 wet lunch times.  Students were on Scratch before school and during other lessons (which was bitter sweet for me!).  They understood that this was a task, that would not only contribute to writing tasks later on (we are studying practicing peaceful play, which includes online games and behaviour), but was also a task to help us develop our growth mind sets and perseverance.

As mentioned, it was so interesting to note those students who were used to getting things right straight away and those that had a good recall of knowledge, get frustrated and 'bored' with this task.  Whereas other students who haven't said 'boo' to me all year, were suddenly by my side asking questions about how to make their sprite move and how to make their game 'go to the next level' when their sprite had reached the end of the maze.

It is widely noted by teachers who teach coding, how this type of programme can support learning in maths.  It certainly did for us, as I found myself running a whole class lesson on angles.  Without a single protractor - students understood that to make their sprite turn downwards, they would need to program their sprite to turn 180 degrees, and that to turn left, would be -0 degrees, which is also known as 270 degrees.  These are students, you have to realise, that were currently working very hard to shift from Stage 4 to Stage 5 in numeracy!  We also talked about X and Y axis and that when our audience started our games, we would want our sprite to start at co-ordinates --X and __Y.  We talked about multiplying or dividing commands, so that music would play longer, or so that our sprite would move as far as we needed it to.  And so much more.

One student who showed particular interest and focus throughout these two weeks (and who is still yet to finish because every backdrop needed to be perfect), was a young girl who seriously spent the first 3 days getting her welcome screen right, only to trash the whole thing because she changed the style of her game!  She searched youtube tutorials and we sat side by side programming her game to 'be like Mario.'  Her backdrop designs were slightly more detailed than others and her commands were a lot more complex.  She came to me with sketches of ideas for online games at home - on paper, and we talked about how that, if she got really good with Scratch, she might one day program her own game.  It was really cool for me to see her get so involved in this task.

I don't think that now our two weeks are over - or that next term, we aren't studying games, that I won't make Scratch a regular task in my classroom.  I will try and find ways to continue using it in my class.  It is really addictive!  To see your work, truly become something new.

Here are a couple of student examples to try!  And here is a link to the 'Gamer Space' on our class site!