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February 9, 2011 / Ben Chun

Othello in Scratch

My 10th and 11th grade classes are housed in the Academy of Information Technology which means, among other things, that students are in the same English classes. One benefit of this setup is that we can do projects that span both a programming class and an English class.

After my revelations about Scratch being awesome, I was looking for ways to do more Scratch programming with my 10th graders. It also just so happened that these students were reading Othello in their English class. They had just been given an assignment to translate part of the play into vernacular. I had them take that same translation and animate it in Scratch. Then I asked them to write about why they chose particular representations for the characters:

“Othello – He is a Panther because hes strong and can lead.
Desdemona – She is a woman to express her beauty.
Cassio – He is a horse because he is reliable.
Iago – He is a Lion because he can bite.”

Some students even had scene-specific reasoning:

“I chose a shark for Cassio because in the scene he get very mad and just started to attack Rodergio like when a shark is attacked, it gets mad and starts to attack. I chose a fish for Rodergio because he getting chased by Cassio in the scene and Cassio is a shark and sharks chase down fish to eat. I chose a dog for Montano because in the scene, he tries to stop Cassio for beating up Roderigo like a dog protecting his master.”

And some were just hilarious:

“I chose the knight on the horse Cassio because Cassio is the lieutenant to Othello. Usually, it seems like lieutenants ride horses.”

It really helped to see not only how they translated Shakespeare’s words, but also what they came to understand about the individual characters.

“1.Othello is a lion because he is a noble person
2.Cassio is a dog because he is loyal
3.Iago is a snake because he is a cunning and sneaky person”

“For Roderigo I just got a costume that makes him look like a wimpy kid like his lines should be.”

Then, as an extension, I had them actually record themselves saying the translated lines, so the projects became audible. Scratch makes recording and playing audio very easy, so the results were pretty good. As important as the work product, the students got practice speaking, which I think will help them with the performance that’s coming up in their English class.

Anyone else have cross-curricular Scratch projects? I’d love to get and share more ideas for all subjects!



Leave a Comment
  1. gasstationwithoutpumps / Feb 13 2011 5:21 pm

    Does your class have a Scratch gallery?
    finds a few projects that might be from your class.

  2. Ben Chun / Feb 13 2011 5:56 pm

    I make new galleries for each assignment. Here’s the one for this project:

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