How to use SCRATCH to support children’s writing
Knock, Knock “Who’s there?” I answer. Knock, knock! “Who’s there?” I reply again. It was a child having fun tapping the button on a talking tin, a simple voice recorder with two buttons for those who haven’t heard of them, playing the pre-recorded sound on his tool to support their English writing. I had previously been advised to use talking tins to support memory retention. Sadly, a talking tin is about as entertaining as a Knock, Knock joke. I spend half a term training children on how to use a talking tin. As I train the children, I always come across the same issues: Children letting go of the button too early, cutting their sentence short; Children knocking the ‘record’ button and wiping out their sentence or trying to record when it’s off.
This is where I often sadly lose interest and search for something different.
Enter SCRATCH JNR Scratch JNR is a free IPAD only app that is aimed at supporting and developing children’
s understanding of coding in a fun way (not sponsored). At times, SCRATCH can be overused; however, children’s confidence with the app can significantly benefit their learning in English. The app comes with an in-built microphone setting that allows you to record and then play voice recordings. From there, children can record their sentences that are then integrated into the app’ memory as a series of blocks.
How it’s useful As the recording blocks are saved onto the system, children can then use these to start to string sentences together, creating paragraphs. In upper key stages, this would be great as children could build on their understanding of subordination, manipulating the structure of sentences to create multi-clausal sentences that actually make sense.
Coming away from the voice recording functionality, children can become immersed in telling a story through the use of different characters (‘sprites’) and settings, supporting
descriptive writing. In addition, I had a child in a prior Year 6 class who really struggled with writing cohesion, ideas often didn’t sequence correctly in their writing. Through the add scene setting, this child would have been able to build their different ideas into scenes that would show sequence correctly making the planning element of writing that some children dread much more interesting
Troubleshooting Please note sadly, a maximum of 5 voice recordings are allowed per scene. If SCRATCH see this article,I encourage you to add more to benefit learning. If at first the microphone doesn’t appear, switch on the microphone in the IPAD’s settings. My YouTube further supports a visual guide on how to use SCRATCH in the classroom
YouTube: Thomas Blakemore Email: firstname.lastname@example.org