Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Why Your School Needs a Scratch Club [VIDEO]

(cross-posted from the Yukon Public Schools’ Learning Showcase website)

This past year, fourth and fifth grade students at Independence Elementary School in Yukon, Oklahoma, have had the opportunity to participate in an after-school Scratch Club led by STEM teacher Chris Simon. Scratch is a free program from the MIT Media Lab, which permits learners of any age to create games, tell stories, make animations, and much more. In its new 2.0 version, Scratch is entirely web-based, so it can even run on a Chromebook! Yesterday was the final day of “Scratch Club” for students at Independence Elementary this year, and several students shared the reasons why they enjoy Scratch and have loved the Scratch Club. In this five minute video compilation of their ideas, pay attention to how several students mention the importance of “agency” and choice. Many report how they love the opportunity to be self-directed in their learning and to have opportunities to use their imaginations to create. Also notice the way one student references the “hard fun” of programming, which is something Gary Stager talks about often in the context of students learning to code.

Many thanks to Chris Simon as well as Cecil Bowles, the principal of Independence Elementary, for supporting this Scratch Club experience for fourth and fifth grade students. All students at IES were introduced to the Scratch program in the fall, and many chose to attend the Spring Break “Scratch Camp” Chris Simon helped facilitate in March. Scratch Club, however, has provided weekly opportunities for students to not only “go deeper” with their knowledge of programming in Scratch. Perhaps more importantly, Scratch Club has provided a space for students to be encouraged and recognized for their “geek skills” in creating programs, making videos and telling stories with computers. It will be exciting to see where these students choose to apply these skills in the years ahead!

Check out for more information about getting an after-school computer programming club like the IES Scratch Club going at your school!

Why we like Scratch

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4 responses to “Why Your School Needs a Scratch Club [VIDEO]”

  1. Rae Fearing Avatar

    Thanks for this post. I am working with 5th graders using the hopscotch app and was looking for a way to let them continue to create when they go to middle school next year. A Scratch Club might just be the ticket!

  2. Zulma Vazquez Whiteford Avatar
    Zulma Vazquez Whiteford

    I was first introduced to Scratch by your daughter at last year’s Discovery Education Summer Institute in Bozeman, Montana. She so was engaged and excited about her work that I knew I needed to bring that excitement back to my students. As a result Scratch became an integral part of my new assignment to Chair STEM initiatives at my school! Scratch has become part of our new Cyber STEM Afterschool program and is also woven into the curriculum. As the year comes to an end, I am already planning on new and exciting ways to use it in our school. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    Thanks SO much for this feedback, Zulma! I will share your comment with Rachel tomorrow first thing. That opportunity to present together and share ideas in Bozeman was really special for us both. She inspired me too and was part of the reason I suggested the Independence Elementary STEM teacher start a Scratch Club. Please keep me posted on how things continue to develop – I’m SO thrilled by this!!! You’ve made my day with this comment. 🙂

  4. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    That is great, Rae! I’ve heard about Hopscotch but haven’t used it yet. Scratch is definitely a super software program to introduce the students to and the creative possibilities it opens up!