10/9/12 - Today we started to make a gravity game in Scratch so that the sprite would jump up and fall down realistically. Brian showed a demo of the game and the scripts that are associated with it, and everyone was paying attention. As it turns out, most of the kids got this project done before their time in the lab was up. They really seemed to enjoy how simple the scripts were and how much fun they could have with something like this, but they did not have any ideas as to where they could take these scripts and apply them elsewhere. We tried asking if the kids had seen something like this in any games that they played, but it was difficult to get them to make connections between the simple script and something like a platform jumping game. Nonetheless, some of the younger kids had fun making a sprite jump on a trampoline and keeping track of how many jumps were made.
10/16/12 - Today was the start of a project that would take multiple days to complete. The idea was for the kids to create a top-down shooting game, like tank battles, soldiers on a battlefield, or something like asteroids or space invaders. The demonstration piqued most of the kids’ interests, but one of them decided that it was a “stupid game” and it was too simple for him, so he asked to leave the room. As soon as the kids got to the computers, so immediately set out to look for sprites to use on the internet, while others got to creating their own sprites. In the past, this sprite search or creation process has taken up most of the class time, and many kids seem to not get in to programming at all. This time wasn’t too bad as almost everyone got their sprites in and scripted simple commands to move and shoot. There was another incident with one of the kids that caused another “chill out” card to be given, but as soon as his punishment was over, he came back and wanted to catch up to everyone. Hopefully we will get to finish this project next week.
10/23/12 - There was a parent meeting scheduled for today, and I was supposed to watch the last group while Brian went to speak with the parents. He had prepared two different lessons to choose from for today, so that the kids could decide what they wanted to do. During the demonstration for the first group, many of the kids were not paying attention at all, so I knew that today would not be a productive day. There was no demonstration today as is usually the case, so the kids just got handouts of what to do. Some of the kids went on their sprite search again, and in the end got nothing done. Others however wanted to work on the other project, so I handed them the other instructions with screenshots and tried to work through the project with them. Eventually Brian decided that today was just going to be a “catch up” day so that the kids can work on anything they wanted to do. As was agreed, I was to lead the last group during the parents meeting however, I had no idea as to what to demonstrate or do, but I did not want to let the kids just waste time on the internet because most of the kids in this group could accomplish so much more. I tried to get them to work on one of the projects, but word spread that the other groups got a free day, so there was no hope of getting anything done with them today. There was a new student in the group today, and he seemed to be the only one that wanted to learn Scratch. I worked with him and one other student on the shooting game that the rest of the class did a few weeks ago. He grasps the concepts quickly and has an interest in making video games, and even had suggestions on what he wanted to change and ideas as to how to implement those changes.
10/31/12 - Halloween….the kids had been eating candy all day, so they were still on a “sugar rush” and simply could not sit still. To make matters worse, half of the lab was now blocked off by a screen and tables on the other end, and one of the computers did not work at all. Brian decided that there was no hope of getting anything done today, so the kids got another free day. I will try to speak with the program director, as I was told that the computer lab would be moved to a different room, but I had not heard anything since. Hopefully when the lab gets moved, the computers will be more reliable, and there will be less distractions and interruptions.