AnimatED! Is a series of themed Scratch Programming classes for children in 1st through 5th grade.
Here, I will run through the design process of our AnimatED lesson structure and one of the themes, Cartoon Adventures.
Tiny Techs Clubs offers after school curriculum classes teaching Scratch coding to elementary kids. The classes, called AnimatED! are offered seasonally, Fall, Spring and Summer. Many kids that attend Tiny Techs classes have been to multiple offerings.
Scratch is a free programming language developed by MIT Media Lab. It is designed for ages 8 to 16 where you can program interactive stories, games and animations.
Students are learning with scratch at all levels, and it is widely taught in many school programs because it is available online for free so that students can use it outside of the classroom.
After gathering feedback from students, parents, and instructors, Tiny Techs realized their AnimatED classes needed an update. Tiny Techs Classes are geared for 1st through 5th grade in order to meet the minimum class attendance, so our curriculum needs to be able to be easy to understand for a 1st grader and challenging enough for a 5th grader. Additionally, due to the part-time nature of its instructors, Tiny Techs Club has a high turnaround of camp counselors. It was crucial that training content enabled new counselors to understand and teach AnimatED classes for camp or after school with ease.
AnimatED! Scratch Programming class needs a better training experience with our teachers, to keep our students engaged, and gain repeat sign ups.
Age Adaptable Goals
Create lesson plans that offer smaller achievements. With our limited class time, we want to make sure every student can achieve and learn during class.
Versatile Lesson Plans
Create a lesson guide that can be utilized for all of our fall, spring and summer courses. We want to be able to split up lesson plans or have optional sections if we are provided more class time.
Encourage Learner Autonomy
Our after school teachers need extra guidance that can allow for expanded size classes. It's an after school class, we want kids to get creative and not feel Scratch is a chore.
Using our previous AnimatED Lesson plans, we shadowed several teachers and also assisted teachers during our Scratch Coding classes.
Based on feedback from our students, parents and teachers we created three user personas and journey maps.
Eliza, 1st grade Camper
Eliza has experience using her mom's iphone, but does not have access to a laptop. Recent introduction into using computers through her school, and knows how to use a mouse, but not the keyboard.
Eliza needs the most help in the classroom, and is often raising her hand.
Joseph, 4th grade Camper
He loves playing with Scratch, has taken a class with Tiny Techs Club before, this is his second scratch class. He has access to a computer at home and is very familiar with how to use it.
Joseph is very fast with the Scratch assignments but gets bored and needs prompts to get creative.
George, Tiny Techs Instructor
George is a college student, Very comfortable with computers. He is has previous camp counselor experience, but has not used Scratch or taught it before. He will be teaching his first Scratch class this summer.
George wants to gain more confidence in the classroom to better serve the students.
These journey maps helped us layout what actions we needed to take for each user persona.
The best medium for our lessons was to continue using a PDF and workbook medium. Students can have the lesson open on an iPad, printed, or opened in a second tab while working. From our first AnimatED redesign, we found that the younger students were having a harder time finding the blocks and needed a breakdown of the task, especially at the beginning of the course.
After several programs and tests, we came to the conclusion that we needed more space for step by step instructions. By using a landscape format, we were able to add more information on the page, giving the student more detailed instructions.
Storyline and Goals
Each lesson or day of class had a theme. We designed a lesson structure based on what program blocks we’ve taught based on difficulty levels.
Instead of providing one image for the students to reference, we broke down each part of the script so the students progressively get a better understanding of the tools and weren’t just copying what they saw without any critical thinking.
Always something to learn
Challenges made for all levels. Because our students are 1st through 5th grade, we provided a variety of challenges at the end of each lesson for those that finish early and have extra time.
“The challenges help the older students when they are done early, so it leaves more time for me to help the younger students.”
- Daniela, Tiny Techs Instructor
“My daughter had a great time in the AnimatED class. We love that there are a variety of themes, so that my child can sign up again.”
- Anonymous Parent, Tiny Techs Survey Feedback
Designed and made by Samantha Del Rosario, 2020