Fear no more, once you have a few nights of playing around with Scratch you will quickly come to grips with the basic terminology you need to get under way with it!
Scratch is a simple piece of programming software which allows you to animate and create games using simple codes. The basics involve moving your sprites (game characters) around in different ways using pieces of code or information that tell your sprites how to move (script). The easiest way to think/learn about sprites and scripts are it relate them to drama.
In drama you read a script and it tells you what to say, what to do and how to move. You are the same as a sprite, the character in the drama that moves/talks in the way the script tells you too - the same happens in Scratch!
Just some of the many Sprites you can choose or you can even paint your own!
Now that you have the basics the rest is just child's play... literally! To make your sprites move you have a bunch of snap together 'blocks' that you put together to form your script. These blocks are separated into areas like motion, control, sensing etc to make it easier for students to identify and use the blocks.
One of the great things about Scratch is the way that it supports it's community. There are a range of simple 'how to' cards that you can download that show you the blocks you need to build to create simple scripts. This is a great place to learn and fantastic to work with students on as it teaches them the basics that they need to know. As they begin learning about the blocks and how to create the scripts the more adventurous they can get with what they know.
Scratch also allows you to download all the sprites and scripts for any game that is on the Scratch website. The thing that I think it genius about this is that if there is a game that you think it pretty cool you can download the script & sprites and see how they have put the game together. Instant Scratch professional development. You can then tinker around and change elements of the game - as soon as you upload it back to your Scratch account it lets people know who you remixed the game from. So, no 'I made it' recounts from the kids!
Here are my Scratch samples - ranging from bad to getting there! Here are some examples that a group of 15 Year 4 students created on their very FIRST Scratch session. These kids had never heard of, nor touched Scratch before this 1 and a half hour session. Not a bad start I say!
A huge thanks to Timoslimo for sharing Scratch at EduCamp Welly - inspirational stuff!