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Scratch That: Teaching ESL Through Coding

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYODex

Tuesday, June 25, 10:15–11:45 am
Location: Franklin 1-2, Marriott

Dr. Clara Prado   Rui Zanchetta  
Learn about coding concepts, such as creating an instruction, testing and correcting the mistakes in order to accomplish a challenge. We'll also outline the ESL teaching opportunities connected to giving and following instructions, crafting a hypothesis and perseverance.

Audience: Teachers, Principals/head teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees will have to access the software on their browser, so no previous download is needed.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Maker activities and programs
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: ESL
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
For Educators:
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

When learning a second language, one of the most important lessons we need to master is that you need to take chances and make mistakes, as you will learn from them. However, how do we create a safe environment where students can have the opportunity to use their errors as a learning opportunity, as well as develop their perseverance in the language learning process?
In this workshop, attendees will be exposed to coding concepts and language where they will be asked to create an instruction, draft it, test it, correct it, test it again, input it into a coding programme, test it once more and correct the mistakes to make the command work as it is supposed to. While the coding exercise is being developed, we would outline the second language teaching opportunities connected to giving and following instructions, crafting a hypothesis and negotiating with their peers.
Scratch, the technological tool for this presentation, is a free programming language and online community where you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations designed especially for ages 8 to 16, as it very simple to use and learn.


Bellow, we present a step by step overview of the proposed workshop:
10 min - Presenter Introduction, an overview of the activity and separation of participants into groups.
15 min - Unplugged activity
Participants will write a set of instructions to program a person in their groups (that will follow the instruction literally)
They will receive challenges and will have to write very clear instructions to have someone else executing them correctly. After drafting the instructions, attendees need to recognize the mistakes made with the initial instructions and make necessary changes.
10 min - Debrief the activity with the focus on how to write clear and precise instructions, as well as a brief summary of possible activities with language learners that might need differentiation
30 min - Using Scratch
They will create a program, using the software Scratch from their computer browser, to do the same action they did previously, but this time using simple coding lesson. Attendees will interact with peers in order to find solutions to the challenges presented.
While participants are doing this activity, we will provide individual instructions to each table, highlighting possible uses for language learning.
20 - Metacognition moment
We will provide examples from the classroom with our students and how we used this activity and also a step by step on how to replicate this process followed by a Q&A.

Supporting research

The workshop will follow a Content and Language Integrated Learning approach to language teaching where the English as a second language is learned through the content of all subjects in an immersive environment, focusing on a meaningful and authentic context. By utilizing this approach to language learning, educators are expected to come out of the workshop with a better understanding of how to: Introduce a wider cultural context into language classrooms, prepare students for internationalisation and future studies in their own work field, improve overall and specific language competence, develop multilingual interests and attitudes, diversifying methods and forms of classroom teaching and learning as well as increase language learner's motivation and persistence.
CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) has emerged since the millennium as a major trend in education, primarily discussed by Do Coyle, Philip Hood and David Marsh drawing on their experience of CLIL in secondary schools.

Further reading
CLIL Compendium
European Commission - Languages
Translanguage in Europe
Centre for Information on Language, Teaching and Research
Slide presentation:

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Dr. Clara Prado, Avenues - the world school
Rui Zanchetta, Avenues - the world school

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