Scratch Lesson: 

How to Create the Typewriter Effect

The idea to put together a series of Scratch lessons, each teaching a particular coding feature, came out of a discussion inside our amazing Facebook group for teachers.  As I was trying to figure out how I can best help our incredible crowd of educators, many of whom are just starting out teaching in Scratch, I was thinking of...

What I Struggle with the Most in the Classroom


My students love following my step-by-step tutorials as we build games in Scratch.  But of course, more than anything, they love coming up with their own idea for a game!  Now, don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite things about Scratch is that it gives kids the ability to come up with an idea, and then create it on the screen.  But simultaneously helping 20 kids (or more!), each with a different game idea, to add a particular feature to their game, is a difficult task to say the least.

Scratch Lesson - The Typewriter Effect

Having said that, many of the features we add to our games are similar and follow the same process.  So, what if the kids had, in a place easily accessible to them, instructions for how to create a particular feature.  Then, instead of looking for a game with that feature, and trying to figure out how it works, or just getting frustrated and distracted while waiting for me, they would know where to look and how to go about proceeding on their own!

A Series of Scratch Lessons & Printable Cards for Students!

So, that’s how the idea for a series of Scratch lessons, each teaching a particular feature, came about.  As an example, I posted a ‘how to’ card for the animated typewriter effect in our group, and asked our members for their feedback.  The response was absolutely amazing, and two of our teachers even tried it with their own students the next day (did I mention how much I love our group?!)  

Scratch Lesson - The Typewriter Effect

So with all this encouragement, I had no excuse but to create this first Scratch lesson in the series as soon as I could!  Hopefully you’ll have no excuse but to do this activity with your students, or at least print out the cards for them, so they have them at their disposal when creating on their own!

Scratch Lesson #1:  The Animated Typewriter Effect

Scratch Lesson - The Typewriter Effect

Let’s start by looking at what we want to create.  We want the cat to take a string of letters and output the letters one by one just like in the gif below...

Scratch Lesson - The Typewriter Effect

So what we’re going to do is create a procedure, or in Scratch words, a custom block.  This custom block will take the string of letters as an input, and it will output the letters one at a time.  The slideshow below will walk you through building this custom block.  Feel free to use it to teach in your own classroom, and then print out the cards and give them to your students!

Tip:  I find that stopping the video and using the arrow keys to progress through it, works best for me as it allows me to move at my own pace.


I hope your students AND you find this lesson useful.  I’d love to hear how it went!  And if you have ideas for features you’d like me to cover and provide lessons for, please join the conversation inside our Facebook group!

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