At the beginning of the school year, I always try to think about what skills my students will need all year long and I build them into my centers and my homework. Some of the skills I focus on are math facts, reading comprehension strategies and typing skills. Students today, and my students in particular, need to be familiar with keyboards and how to type on them. My students complete all of their homework online with Edmodo and complete regular computer based projects. If it takes them 3 minutes to find the “k” key, they are going to quickly fall behind. So, at the beginning of the year, I assign these sites for homework and computer time:
1.) Dance Mat Typing – This is my all time favorite website for teaching typing because the tutorial model exactly what fingers should be used on each key in order to touch type (type without looking). As a touch typer myself, I find this skill incredibly important, but overwhelming for young children. Dance Mat makes it fun and amusing. There are cartoon animals that explain how the typing should be done and then sing and dance and celebrate when the kids get it done. The entire task of mastering typing is broken down into easy, manageable steps. Part of the BBC website – this is generally my go-to website for teaching keyboarding. (Please note that you must have a qwerty keyboard in order to use this site effectively. Not all of my students have these keyboards at home, and this has caused an issue. It probably won’t be an issue for you if you are not in an international setting.)
2.) Typing Master – This site has a variety of games where the students type a letter on the keyboard in order to advance in the game. The kids love to play pacman or pop the bubbles, and at the same time they are familiarizing themselves with where the letters are on the keyboard. This site is particularly good for younger students, and is also a great letter practice for preschool students.
3.) Lang Sense - For my students who do not have qwerty keyboards, this is a great option, because it still allows you to choose the keyboard you would like to work on. However, it is not nearly as fun as DanceMat. The lessons are a little dry, but they do provide students with a great amount of typing practice in a regular series that is broken into manageable steps.
4.) Learning the Keyboard Games - Similar to Typing Master, this site has a variety of games, including stacking cups and the letter factory. There are also more formal tutorials available for older students.
For more resources to integrate technology into your classroom, check out my Technology Integration Kit.
Sign Up for Monthly News Releases