Scratch Project

The Scratch website is a powerful tool that enables students to integrate many different skills, collaborate and construct some wonderful digital creations. Previously students used it to animate their name, create games, stories and animations/graphics to support our ‘Jesus light of the world’ conference.

One of the great features of Scratch projects is the ability to easily share them with others and embed them into websites like this one. You can also use screen capture/recording to convert them into graphics or videos to use on other platforms. Digital creations in Scratch therefore have a potential worldwide audience and can be used to serve others in many different ways.

This week we are starting a Scratch project to animate a Bible verse. It can have multiple pages, different backgrounds, moving objects, moving words, pictures and even sounds. We will continue this project next week.

This will be a good way for those who are new to Scratch to learn it and for those who are familiar with it to refresh their skills from previous years. This post will include lots of steps and pictures to help students with this project.

Step 1 – Choose a Bible verse

Choose one that is not too long or use an abbreviated version of it. For example if you were to use the school scripture for this year Matthew 6:19-21 which is 3 sentences and quite long you might choose to just use:

Where you treasure is
There your heart will be also

Or the middle section:

Store up for yourselves
Treasures in heaven

It is of course up to you and the student. If you have lots of favourite verses then why stop at just one. Maybe parents would like to do one too.

Step 2 – Make a plan

Scratch Junior allows you to create up to 4 pages per project. Each page can have its own background and set of characters. You can actually put lots of words onto a single page by making them appear and disappear, but it might be easier to use separate pages if you have lots of words in your selected Bible passage.

For each page the student should imagine what they would like to do. This plan can and will change over time and that’s to be encouraged. They don’t really need to update the plan as they change their mind, but it’s often an interesting to observe how it changed and the differences between the initial plan and the final product.

PageWords/pictures appearingBackground, decorations & animation
Use a table like this as a planning template

Step 3 – Login to Scratch

Students have new school logins this year. If you have a personal scratch account I ask that you do NOT use it for school work. Only school accounts can share projects to the class studio which you will need to do to have the project assessed. I will be sending these details via email. If you don’t have it you can email me directly and I will reply as soon as I can. Login using this link:

Scratch home page
Check ClassDojo for your username and password. Contact me if you don’t have it or unable to sign in.
You should see a screen like this when you login. Who’s goatstacc? That’s me!
You should be wary about putting in personal information. You only need to enter your birth year and country. Click the Next Step button when you’re done.
Nearly there!
The class page is looking a little blank at the moment. Click the Create button and let’s get started.

Step 4 – Start Scratching

I will be adding some tips here over time so if you’ve forgotten how to use Scratch or need some ideas please revisit and refresh this page.

What is Scratch?

If you are totally new to Scratch or have forgotten everything we did last year here’s a quick recap. Scratch is a free website and coding environment in which you can create almost anything – from complex games to animated stories and there’s a whole community of thousands of people who use it and publish their creations. You can browse or search for projects and best of all you can ‘see inside’ to examine how they made it and even duplicate their project so you can experiment and change it. It has been around for many years and is made available to us by a famous university in the US called MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

When you create a new project in Scratch you get a complicated screen like this:

There are 4 main areas in Scratch

You will notice on the image above that there’s a cat in the Sprites area and it is selected (blue). You may also notice the same cat in the Preview area and also in the ‘Main workarea’ (icon in top left). The code blocks on the left of the screen can be dragged into the main work area and will affect the selected sprite (Scratch the cat).

Step 4a – paint a sprite

The following steps are suggestions to help students get started. Please encourage them to experiment and ‘play’ with the features. We will be continuing this project next week so there’s no hurry to complete it.

To use the ‘Paint’ option you hover your house over the cat shaped add sprite button and then select the paint brush icon
The text tool is a quick way to type in words. You can still be very creative with it.
There are many tools to experiment with and they are simple but quite powerful. Don’t forget the undo button!
It’s best to have more sprites then put everything into 1 sprite. Each sprite can be animated differently so having more gives you more flexibility with how you animate them.

Step 4b – Upload a sprite

If you want to get really sophisticated then you can also use a website called textcraft to generate some super fancy text then download it as an image and upload it into Scratch. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually not too bad once you’ve done it a few times. I’ve created a seperate webpage to describe this process, but it’s optional. You can actually use an almost identical process to upload any image file as a sprite into Scratch.

Add code to your sprite

You may remember there are a number of tutorials that provide video and step-by-step instructions on how to achieve certain animation effects (e.g. Animate a name). Look for the ‘Tutorials’ button at the top of the project page.

The tutorials button on the main project page.
Each of these tutorials displays a little popup box that you can move which displays short videos and instructions on how to achieve certain animation effects.
Each tutorial has a number of steps to browse through.
You can move the tutorial window and shrink it so you can try the technique in your project. Click the expand button to show the full window again.

Step 5 – Challenges

A lot of students have already experimented with the built-in Scratch sounds, but you can also add audio in other ways too. This post tells you about the different ways you can add audio to your project.

You can also add video to your project … kind of. Scratch videos are actually sprites that have lots of different costumes that you have to change quickly to make it look like a video which is pretty cool, because that’s how all videos work.


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