Wednesday, January 15, 2014

4th Graders Seek to Improve Keyboarding Skills

Learning how to properly place fingers on a keyboard and learning keyboarding skills during the elementary school years is a consistent question, inquiry, and topic that continues to pop up and encourage quite a "colorful discussion" with varying opinions.  SLIK-12 Iowa teacher-librarian email list serv, blog posts, and tweets on Twitter bring about numerous discussions and debates on the hot topic of keyboarding.

The Mason City Community School District requires students in third grade to start formal keyboarding lessons during IC Skills class time with the teacher-librarian.  Fourth grade students are required to practice keyboarding skills during IC Skills time with the teacher-librarian, while being reinforced and supported by the 4th grade classroom teachers.  The district requirements for the third and fourth grade students are considered to be district standards and objectives.

Six years ago at my interview for this teacher-librarian position, I was asked how comfortable I would be on teaching keyboarding skills to students in grades three and four.  Of course, I replied, with much enthusiasm, "I love keyboarding, myself, and consider myself to be saavy at it...In fact, my parents had encouraged me to consider becoming a court reporter due to my speedy keyboarding skills...I can completely see myself teaching keyboarding to students in grades three and four!"  The administrators, who sat in on the interview during that time, all laughed and were relieved to hear my enthusiasm for it.

So, this brings me to the 4th graders and what they are working on during IC Skills class.  Starting last cycle (January 3-10), students were introduced how their keyboarding unit will operate as 4th graders.  Last year, in 3rd grade, students learned how to properly place their fingers on the home-row and learn proper keyboarding finger position on the website Dance Mat Typing .

4th grade students use Keyboarding Symbaloo to access keyboarding websites.

The 4th graders use Free Typing Game Net to improve their keyboarding skills.

Free Typing Game doesn't record, save, and store student's progress, data, and lesson completion, so I created a log for students to record their progress.  It is also a great opportunity for students to reflect.  You can click here for the keyboarding log.

We are currently on the 2nd cycle (January 13-21) of the 4th grade keyboarding unit.  I am already amazed at how students are using the log to reflect on their speed and errors.  As I go around to "sign off my approval for lesson completion" (have 3 opportunities), I am pleased to hear students telling me that they need to slow down so the errors go down OR they can speed up because they don't have any errors.  I truly believe students are showing ownership and pride in their keyboarding progress by using the log to record their progress from Free Typing Game Net website.

Towards the end of the class period, I start to direct students, who just completed a lesson and received my approval, to go to the Keyboarding Symbaloo I created to access other keyboarding website games to continue to practice their keyboarding skills "just for fun."

Stay tuned for pictures to show how 4th grade students "seek to improve keyboarding skills."