CodeHS Elementary: Scratch Reference Guide

Getting Started with Scratch - create your own games, animations, interactive stories, and more.

Sara Jenis avatar
Written by Sara Jenis
Updated over a week ago
Image says "CodeHS Elementary License Required" and an icon of Scout the Squirrel.

Using the Scratch Editor

The Scratch Editor is where you create projects in Scratch. The main parts are Blocks Palette, The Stage, Coding Area and Sprite List.

Saving in Scratch Desktop

Click the File menu > Select Save now. To open a project, click Load from your computer.

Creating a Sprite

In Scratch, any character or object is called a sprite. Every new project in Scratch starts with the Cat sprite.

Locating Your Sprite

Every sprite has an x and y position on the Stage. x is the position of the sprite from left-to-right. y is the position from top-to-bottom. At the very center of the stage, x is 0 and y is 0.

It's not necessary to teach the coordinate plane with all students. They can just drag the sprite to a location on the stage and the coordinates will automatically change in the movement blocks of the Block Palette.

Upload Your Own Sprite

There are many ways to create your own sprites and artwork using the Scratch paint tools. Upload a photo to create a sprite of yourself!

Create Your Own Sprite

Use the Vector Mode paint tools, select Paint. To go back and forth between your code and the paint tools, click the Code and Costumes tabs. The Paint Editor gives you a variety of drawing tools. Start by drawing a simple shape. Use multiple shapes to create a face, an animal or a character. You can create anything!

The vector drawing tools: move entire objects, or groups of objects, move a point, double-click on a line to add a point then double-click on a point to remove it, paint freehand shapes, erase, change the color of individual shapes, add text, make a straight line and make shapes.

More Tools:

Check out this video on how to create your own.

How to Add a New Backdrop


There are a range of tutorials available in the Scratch Tutorials Library, which guide learners in creating projects with Scratch. Students can get started making their own stories, animations, and games. You can get to the Tutorials Library from the Scratch Editor by clicking the Tutorials button.

Click on the "Imagine If" tutorial to select it and it will open in the Scratch Editor.

Click the green arrow to see each step.

When you’ve reached the end of a tutorial you can select another tutorial, and keep adding to your project.

Still have questions? Contact our team at to learn more!

See CodeHS Elementary Curriculum to learn more about our elementary options. If you are interested, please have a district administrator complete our Elementary Interest Form for a consultation!

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