On May 18th, 2013, we organized and held our first Scratch-athon in the CS department at UW-Madison For more information see https://sites.google.com/site/madisonscratchathon/ A Scratch-athon is a "hack-athon" in which computer programmers code intensively in Scratch. For the UW-Madison Scratch-athon, nearly 40 3rd-6th graders joined about 6 of the CS 402 UW students for three hours of programming, community-building, project sharing, and recognition. Most of the students were familiar with Scratch from one of our CaTaPuLT clubs, but any student was invited to join us. The students spent two hours working either alone or with a friend to create any (school-appropriate) Scratch project they could dream up. We then held a ceremony where each of the groups showed their creative results to their family and other participants.
After the Scratch-athon, we received numerous unsolicited compliments through email from parents, such as the following two examples:
Thanks so much for organizing this event. My son had a blast and was very proud of his certificate of excellence. For kids that enjoy sports there are always a ton of activities to take part in, but that isn't the case for kids who love programming, so this was really a unique and great experience for everyone.
- Thanks so much for putting this program together. My son had a great time (and he's a kid who doesn't like to sign up for stuff.) He really enjoyed the afterschool program, so it wasn't hard to convince him to participate in the Scratchathon. He loved it, and it was really fun to see how excited all the kids were during the presentations at the end of the day. We'd love to see the afterschool programs expanded for more advanced scratchers, or even an afterschool club, with less formal instructions but UW students to help supervise and assist with more advanced programming.