Saturday, November 7, 2020

Is it really November?!?

Hello, hello!

Here in Oklahoma we were hit by a freak massive ice storm at the end of October. We were without electricity for about 7 days, 12 days for my parents! Some people still don't have power. So that is why my posting has not been happening as much lately. Here is a pic from a local newscaster of some of the icy weirdness we have been experiencing! 


Let's get to some Thanksgiving ideas before another ice storm comes!

This could be a door knob hanger or a little wreath!

This is excellent for fine motor skills!
Use a q-tip to make the tiny dotted leaves.


Make an interactive thankfulness tree!

I always love to read Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert to kids and then 
have them make leaf creatures after we go outside to gather leaves.
If your area does not get enough leaves, you can always have pre-cut or uncut
leaves made from patterns or free coloring pages.

I also do this craft often. I cut leaves out on cardstock. Then I use aluminum foil pans (the disposable kind) from the dollar store. They usually come in sets of 2-3 pack. I use and re-use them for any messy art projects.
I have the kids put shaving cream and drops of watercolor (washable!) paint in the trays. They gently lay the leaf on top and voila!! These do take time to dry so I usually have parents dab them with paper towels and give them a ziploc bag to take them home in. If I was teaching, I would let them sit on an art drying rack over night.
I love this folded paper plate hedgehog!

A handprint tree with pain and leaves. This makes a wonderful keepsake!

These are handprint art with stick frames. Creative!

This is another craft I have used often. Kids love taking their time to glue 
tissue paper around the paper plate wreath. 

Check out these cool door decorations. 

They could also be used for a bulletin 
board or library display idea.

That's all I have for you today, friends! I have not kept up with my free PreK/K lessons lately. I did get a new microphone so that should help me out with that. :)


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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Covid 19 Safe Trick or Treating Ideas

Photo by Sergej Eckhardt from Pexels

This year Halloween can still happen! We just have to think outside the box, right?!?

Here are some web finds I have seen posted on social media recently. 
I hope they get your creativity flowing!

Tape candy to dowels or popsicle sticks and put them in your yard.

Use a vinyl gutter or pvc pipe to create a candy cannon!

Kathie Rush shared this: "After Googling several ways to make a candy chute that I felt were too time consuming and complicated, I made this one. Went to Menards and bought a vinyl gutter (under $5), then to the Dollar Store for the spiders and webbing and hot-glued them on. It cost me less than $15.  The vinyl is much more slippery than PVC pipe and the candy slides through easily."

Extra points for the cute cat!

Here's a Beetlejuice Sandworm one by Brian Antosh!

And I love this one by Sara Curry. 

Make a sticky spider web for interactive trick-or-treating fun!
kcedventures has this amazing idea and you can find more information HERE.





Happy planning!!!

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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Markers and Magazines! Oh my!


I save found marker lids. Well, I saved them when I taught and as a Children's Librarian. I always thought they were useful for re-capping others that lost their lids AND I also used them as math counters or for color sorting. Marker lids are also just fun to stick on your fingers lol.

I saw a post on Facebook with some fun things to do with marker lids.
As you can see above, you can sort them into a rainbow (or just pile into color stacks).

This grid came from the back of a tile and fit marker lids perfectly to use to make designs.


You can stack them into towers or make color patterns with them.


Here's another example of making a design using a grid:


I also always saved old magazines (within limits and as long as they had no ads/photos that were not child-friendly). I came across this idea, also on Facebook, of giving kids or teens a silhouette. They then tear and cut magazine pages. They can lay them down in strips on the silhouette or roll the strips and then glue them on the silhouette. Fun, easy and environmentally friendly!
I






 Happy creating!!!


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Let's Get Outside!


                                                    

I love, love getting my hands deep in soil. It feels like a reconnection with Mother Earth. It is soothing and a great stress reliever. At our house, we do organic gardening. My husband is the main gardener and my son and I are his assistants. My favorite is our blackberry bush and our goji berries. Tomatoes and potatoes seem to be the easiest for us to grow here and they sure do supply us in abundance. I love eating something from the garden, knowing it is organic and knowing we proudly made it with care.

Happy DIY Home has a great guide that includes 25 incredible benefits of gardening according to science. You can find it here:  https://happydiyhome.com/benefits-of-gardening/
Happy gardening!!

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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

STEAM/Coding for Kids: How to Make a Sprite Move in Scratch for Beginners (Kids 8+)


POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

a scratch sprite character moves left and right

How to Get Started

This article will teach you how to make a sprite move in Scratch, a free visual programming language.

To follow along, make sure to first do these steps:

  1. Make an account at the Scratch website, https://scratch.mit.edu.

  2. Read our What is Scratch coding article to learn more about how to use Scratch blocks.

  3. Create a new project and start reading!

Learning how to code in Scratch is the perfect introduction to computer science, and will make learning other programming languages much more intuitive. This is the perfect article to start your journey into computer science, as movement is one of the easiest things to code in Scratch!

What is Movement?

Movement is arguably the most basic function in any game. It’s the first thing you do when you start a new game, and it’s present in almost every game made in Scratch.

In real life, movement is the only way that we can interact with the world. Just by thinking about it, we move our arms and legs to walk or do anything that we want. Just like in real life, movement is the primary way that we interact with games. By pressing the arrow keys, players tell their characters to move around on the screen and complete tasks.

the process of game sprite movement

Making characters walk or move around in games lets them interact more with your world.

Because it can be used for almost anything, we should learn how to make sprites move before anything else. This is perfect for Scratchers who are just getting started, and want to make their own creations! The rest of this article will explain how to create a sprite and make it controllable.

We used this same method in our step-by-step tutorial on how to create a simple game in Scratch. If you’re new to Scratch, that’s another great article to check out!

Making a Sprite Move

Step 1. Select a Sprite.

To start coding in Scratch, we need to create something called a sprite. Every entity in a Scratch project is a sprite. These sprites are characters in your game, which can move around and execute code. By creating scripts for the sprites to execute, we can give them commands and tell them to do anything we want!

Right now, the only sprite in our project is the Scratch Cat, who is in every project by default. If you want to create a new sprite, you can click the Choose a Sprite button, found in the bottom right of the screen. If you simply want to make the cat move, you can skip ahead to step two.

choose a sprite button in Scratch

Select a Scratch sprite character using this button at the bottom right of your new project screen.

Clicking this button should bring you to the Sprite Menu, a library of different sprites which you can use in your game. Click on whichever character you like, and Scratch will create them as a new sprite in your game.

the choose a Scratch sprite screen with different sprites

Scratch offers a wide variety of sprites for you to customize your project with.

For our project, we’ll use a hedgehog as our first sprite. This is one of the default sprites in the menu, so anyone that wants to can follow along! However, the code to make characters move works for any sprite. You should choose a sprite that sparks joy. Later on, you can expand your project by adding in a cool background and more characters.

Now that we’ve picked out a character for our game, we no longer need the Scratch Cat sprite. We can get rid of it by clicking on it in the sprite menu, then clicking the trash can symbol next to its menu icon.

Step 2. Program your sprite.

Now that we have a sprite, it’s time to make it controllable. To make your sprite move, we need to use Scratch blocks in order to create a simple script.

The easiest way to make a sprite move is to use Event Listeners. Check out this code block, which makes sprites move to the right:

Scratch code for moving a sprite to the right

Code with an event listener for simple movement to the right.

Here's what this code says in plain English:

“When you press the right arrow key, point towards the right, then move forward 10 steps.”

The code consists of a yellow event listener block, followed by two blue motion blocks. The motion blocks actually move the sprite, while the event listener block tells the sprite when to move.

This movement works for any direction. By adding in more blocks like this, we can give our sprite the ability to move in any direction we’d like. Now that we can move to the right, let’s create more scripts to make our hedgehog move in all four cardinal directions!

▶ Tip: To make this process faster, you can right click on your existing code and click Duplicate. This will create a copy of these blocks, which means you don’t need to drag and drop as much.

Scratch code for moving a sprite, and the duplicate code button

Easily duplicate your code by right clicking and selecting "Duplicate."

Now we have scripts to move in all four directions. Let’s take a look at how our sprite moves in each direction. What are the differences between these four blocks of code?

Scratch code for moving a sprite with left and right and up and down keys

Duplicate and edit your code like above to allow your sprite to move in each direction.

Notice that for each direction, two things are different:

  1. The blocks run when different keys are pressed. For example, our character moves up when the up arrow key is pressed, and down when the down arrow key is pressed.

  2. The point in direction blocks specify different directions. The numbers in these blocks are degrees, which each represent one of the cardinal directions (right/left/up/down). When these blocks run, they tell our sprite to point towards a specific direction.

The move ten steps block remains the same for all four directions. No matter which direction we move in, we always move at the same speed.

▶ Experiment:

  • Try changing the number inside of the move steps block. How does it affect your character’s movement?

  • Instead of “move” blocks, you can alternatively use change x and change y blocks. Try to replace all your move blocks with change x / change y blocks!

Once you’ve made these four blocks of code, you’re pretty much done! You don’t even need to click the green flag — just press the arrow keys, and your sprite will move around!

Check out our example project to see this style of basic sprite movement code yourself.

Fixing Bugs

Something’s not quite right here. Even though our sprite is moving around properly, there’s something strange happening to its appearance.

the Scratch sprite of a hedgehog

If your sprite looks like this after moving, you may have a small bug.

When we push the left arrow key, our hedgehog sprite flips upside down! You might find that the same thing happens to you when you try moving to the left. Fear not, this is something that happens to everyone in Scratch. And there’s an easy way to fix it.

It may seem obvious to us that our sprite is not supposed to turn upside down, but Scratch doesn’t know that! Instead of understanding that our sprite is a character that moves left and right, Scratch treats all sprites the same and makes them rotate a full 360 degrees by default.

Because of this, we have to change our sprite’s rotation style. First, simply click on the “Direction” setting in the Sprite Menu.

the direction button for your Scratch sprite movement

First find the sprite direction settings in the Sprite Menu, as shown above.

Then, make sure the middle option is selected like in the screenshot below. This will change the sprite’s rotation style from “all around” to “left/right.”

the left/right direction button for your Scratch sprite movement

Click the setting in the middle, "Left/Right" to make sure the sprite flips back over.

Once you click the button indicated here, you should see your sprite flip back over to face in the correct direction.

What’s Next: More Advanced Movement

Movement is the foundation of almost every game in Scratch. Now that you’ve got a controllable character, you can create anything you want!

However, you may notice that the way our character moves feels a little clunky. The sprite kind of stutters at first, and it takes a moment to start moving quickly in any direction. Additionally, we can’t move diagonally! We are limited to just the four cardinal directions.

Luckily, there is a method to make your sprite move that solves all of these problems. It’s more advanced, so we covered it in a separate article. Now that you understand how simple movement works, check out our article on How to Make a Sprite Move Smoothly to learn about this more advanced method.

If you’re okay with this simple style of movement, you can alternatively:












Keep Learning: Scratch Coding Classes for Kids

A Juni Coding Instructor teaching Scratch coding.

A Juni Instructor teaches Scratch to a student.

For structured Scratch learning, Juni Learning offers project-based Scratch Coding Courses for kids 8-11 to get started with coding. Our Scratch curriculum prepares students with full mastery of the Scratch environment, and prepares them to advance into coding with more advanced, text-based languages like Python.

  • Game Superstar (Scratch Level 1 course): introduces computer science fundamentals such and teaches students how to build and design their own Scratch games.

  • Game Master (Scratch Level 2 course: covers more complex concepts like nested loops, complex conditionals, cloning and more in preparation for learning more advanced coding languages.

Check out Juni Learning's online courses for kids coding, or contact our admissions team to learn which course is best for your student!

This article originally appeared on junilearning.com This is posted in collaboration with junilearning.com on Twinkle Teaches.

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Sunday, October 4, 2020

Fall Fun


Photo by Stanislav Kondratiev from Pexels

My FAVORITE time of the year is here...Fall!
I have been scouring the web to find some fun Fall activities for your kids/students and families!
Enjoy!
Edventures with Kids has over 44 Fall activities you can do!

I really love this fun monster cutting activity to help with fine motor skills!
You can get it at Fantastic Fun and Learning for Free!

Want to do a leaf-y science experiment?

Make borax crystals with this activity from Frugal Fun For Boys and Girls!


The site Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls also has these fun Fall Lego Projects!
And... they have a fun and easy leaf mason jar craft...

Mason Jar Craft info HERE!

Here are some neat-o Fall ideas from Facebook:
Make a pumpkin into a book or cartoon character!

Make a monster from a recycled milk jug!

Cut out an apple shape, color it and punch holes. Then practice threading with yarn.

Make a fun spider headband!





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