Today began with an outdoor activity designed to give the children a physical experience of being a sketch on the page responding to commands to advance and turn. Outdoors in the school courtyard the children were supplied with a paper compass to refer to determine the correct angle to turn upon command. As commands were called out groups of children responded to them intersecting and navigating the courtyard parameters. Despite the hot sun the children happily participated in the exercise. They responded well to determining the angle of turn and proudly strutted out their paces.

Once in the classroom, the computers were distributed but the children were instructed not to boot them up until after Carolyn presented a demonstration of the day’s lesson. We have found that with scripting this format is well received, as the children are able to visualize the outcome they want to achieve prior to attempting its execution.

Herman is proving to be quite able to grasp overall concepts and their connections. He is an explorer, having discovered on his own that dragging various commands from a scripting menu will change the sketches actions. Though he was following the lesson presentation he couldn’t restrain himself from trying to boot up and get started. Having been told to not boot up just yet he tried unsuccessfully to comply. Body stiff and alert to being caught he pried open his computer a notch and snuck his thumb inside to reach the on button. He tried to relax back in his chair and quickly surveyed the room to see if anyone had noticed. He leaned forward and bent to peak at the screen, noting it was up and running. Crouching over it and using his left arm to cradle the computer he managed to slide in his right hand and launch etoys unaware that I had taken this all in. By the time the okay came to boot up he was already pulling out scripts to make his boat sail across his lake. He caught my eye and I passed him a wink. I guess I just spilled his secret but I wanted to share it because it made my heart smile.

Ultimately the children were tasked with writing a script to command a singular sketch to cross to a finish line directly ahead. Secondly, to make that sketch advance and turn to meet a second sketch in another location on the page. A few became engrossed with drawing a new sketch. While this was time consuming it illustrated how well they have understood the usage of the drawing palette, naming and saving and various tools in the halo from resizing to trashing and beginning again. They are quick to remind Carolyn that she forgot to press enter or other steps that she may overlook.

It is very interesting to watch the helping and aiding interactions between the children. They are quick to perceive who knows what and to seek advice if they are stuck. Surprisingly today Carolyn overheard an exasperated – “You don’t get that, duh?” kind of comment expressed. I have to take that as an indication of increasing familiarity.

Another unexpected but very welcomed occurrence today was during the teacher’s lesson. We were all working away on test scripts experimenting with ‘if then this’ type of situations – “If my ghost reaches my boy and detects the color blue my boy will disappear and my ghost will pause” for example. Suddenly David one of our translator/mentors, who just recently expressed his reluctance with actually working on the computer, exclaimed, “This is easy. If you pay attention.” We were happily taken aback. He further complimented Bill saying that he guessed you needed a good teacher because his friends made it all seem so complicated that he wanted nothing to do with computers. This, he commented, “just made sense.” And that really says it all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *