Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Boys and girls, lets learn the keyboard!

In the Common Core State Standards, we see the word "keyboarding" appear for the first time in the third grade ELA standards.

Writing Standard #6 -  (third grade) With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

By the fourth grade, the standard becomes a little more intimidating for teachers and students because of 10 words - type a minimum of one page in a single sitting

Writing Standard #6 - (fourth grade) With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.

What do you mean my 4th graders have to type one page in a single sitting?!  I can't even type one page in a single sitting half the time!  Then you have to wonder, what is considered one page and how long is a single sitting. I wonder if the 1 inch margins and Times New Roman, size 12 is the standard.  I am a Comic Sans, size 14 girl myself. :0)

So, what is a teacher to do?  Teachers can introduce students to the keyboard! Its not as scary as it sounds, but it does take a little planning and patience.  Remember, you didn't start off as a fast typer when your fingers first touched the keyboard .. and neither will your young students!

Students need to have two types of keyboarding activities - formal keyboarding and real world (or authentic) keyboarding. You don't want to focus too heavily on one. If all your students do is real world keyboarding, they may never understand the fundamentals.  What is the balance between the two? I don't know. I believe that balance will be different for each group of students.

If you do a Google search for keyboarding activities, you will have an endless list of website to check out.  I personally have a two rules for formal keyboarding activity websites.

(1) There can't be so many ads that I can't "see" the keyboarding activity.

(2) The sound can't overpower the activity.

These are some of the formal keyboarding activities that meet my two rules.

~ Typing Web / Typing Ace

These two sites go together. Typing Web is the free version of Typing Ace. Teacher can create classes with individual student logins. The students start with the basics, the home row keys. Teachers can access reports and monitor their students' progress.

~ Typing Club

Typing Club is like Typing Web. There are two additions to Typing Club I do enjoy though. The students can login using the gmail accounts. This is perfect for our district because students in grades 3-12 have gmail accounts through Google Apps for Education. The second thing I enjoy is the students can "play a game" after so many lessons.

~ Peter's Online Typing Course

If you don't want to fool around with student login/password information, you may want to try these typing lessons. There are 16 lessons the students can complete at the leisure and in whatever order they decide. There are some ads, so be careful but the ads don't overpower the keyboarding activities.

If you want just some fun keyboarding games, these are some of my go to resources.

~ ABCYa! 

This is an awesome website to begin with, but they have about five keyboarding games for multiple grade levels. I have used the Keyboarding Zoo game with Pre-K students and they loved the activity!

~ Dance Mat Typing
This is another fun keyboarding game that students enjoy using. You don't have any ads and the game keeps their attention!

You can find more keyboarding games on my Pinterest board as well!

Students also need to be involved in real world or authentic keyboarding activities.  The Common Core State Standards helps with this within the Writing Standards for all grade levels. Some activities that I see teachers using often include:

~ typing the final draft of a paper or paragraph

~ typing spelling words
~ typing out a science observation

These simple activities allow the students to use the keyboard while working on an academic assignment.  This list is rather short, but just about any ELA standard could be incorporated into a real world typing activity.

So, how do you teach and incorporate keyboarding in your classroom? Please share your ideas and thoughts!


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