Information Literacy Programming with SCRATCH and SMILE: A CMLE Scholarship

The following report was submitted by a recipient of our new CMLE scholarship program.

Submitted By: Betsy Miller

For generations our family has loved visiting the North Shore.  When I received an email announcing that MINITEX was sponsoring a free workshop in Grand Marais this past August, I decided to attend.  The combination of Lake Superior, learning something new and FREE was definitely a winner.

 The workshop was Information Literacy Programming with SCRATCH and SMILE presented by Jennifer Nelson of the Hennepin County Library and Keith Braafladt of the Science Museum of Minnesota at the Cook County High School Media Center.  They gave us a great deal of information as we experienced a hands-on workshop of practical Web sites I will continue to use.

SCRATCH is new to me but has been around for awhile both in time and geographically as it is used all over the world. It is a programming language used to create interactive stories, games and animations. The home page is found at giving over a million projects that others have created.  This is also the page where the free download is available for you to begin your own Scratch projects. There are several online tutorials giving you step by step directions to get started or to challenge you once you get going.  As a teacher I find Scratch Ed to be very helpful,,  giving resources and ideas for using Scratch in the classroom.

SMILE (Science and Math Informal Learning Educators) was also part of the workshop. This is a great online clearinghouse for math and science activities. The site,,  partners with the Lawrence Hall of Science, Exploratorium, New York Hall of Science, Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Children’s Museum of Houston to bring activities of all kinds to kids of all ages.