This is the first year I have taught summer school. I have to say it doesn’t pay enough and I will not do it again. However, I have had an interesting teaching experience. One of the courses I was to teach is called “Tech”.
When I picked up the curriculum it just said here is $500 to purchase what you need to teach tech. No curriculum. I was to make up my own curriculum. It is a good thing I was teaching this and not one of the other staff, since I have a degree in technology.
So I started wondering what I could teach and still afford for $500, which I knew would not go to far. Robotics was a thought until I found out one kit for 4 kids cost over $400. I had 3 classes of 29.
I finally settled on Scratch. Scratch is a game programming system by distributed by MIT. It is free, but the issue was
does it come with a curriculum that we could accomplish in 2 weeks
. I started checking out options and found that 1. Scratch did not have to be downloaded or installed. (that made my tech dept. happy), it can be done online at scratch.mit.edu. 2. Scratch has a text of sorts. There was a book available that is called “Super Scratch Programming adventure”. 29 of them cost me $400. This book teaches the kids how to program games. Each chapter is a separate type of game and all the different games together make one large game. When you are done with the book you have experienced building 7 different types of games from first person shooters, to maze and platform games. The programming is done with blocks that link together like legos.
I surmised that we could make it through two of the games before the end of the two weeks.
Each student gets to program their own game.
The students can share their work and help each other through collaboration.
The programming is hands on and encourages problem solving.
The students get to experience all facets of making a video game from conception to making the characters to final production.
Programming teaches logical thinking.
Programming reinforces sequence building.
Programming reinforces the importance of math skills in the real world.
Programming reinforces keyboarding and proof reading skills.
Programming encourages abstract thought.
I have to say the experiment was a success. I can’t even get the kids to stop working at the end of class. Many of them have personalized their games with background music and their own art work. They even ask if it is ok to work on it from home. To which I say YES YES Please do!!
That however was the only thing I like about summer school