This week students learned that repeating muscle movement a certain way over and over will build muscle memory and will make an action automatic. They learned it in conjunction with touch typing. Technology Application TEK 126.7(b)(6)(E) requires that 3rd-5th graders “use proper touch keyboarding techniques and ergonomic strategies such as correct hand and body positions and smooth and rhythmic keystrokes.” I have written here (scroll down to Don’t Go, Keyboard!) about the dilemma I encounter over using precious technology time in the lab to teach touch typing. Due to the fact that it is a required TEK, and the fact that most of my students still do not know where the letters are located on their keyboard, I have chosen this year to spend the time to introduce the concept AND provide time each week for at least 10 minutes to practice. I used the video below to explain the concept.
Students were able to take an online typing test and test their words per minute before beginning practice. Students were using BBC’s Dance Mat Typing and Peter’s Online Typing Course, but there were several roadblocks to using those sites. Dance Mat Typing has a lot of dancing and singing animation that takes up time students could be using for practice. Pete’s Typing Course is more to the point, but I kept getting pop-ups from cbs.com and shows like The Big Bang Theory, so I deleted both of those sites from my symbaloo webmix (embedded below). I discovered a great site called TypingClub that allowed me to create accounts (I simply importing the information from a cvs file I already had) for all my students. The free version allows you to create up to three classrooms with an unlimited number of students. Since I have three grade levels, I used a classroom for each grade level and imported the student lists with names, usernames, and a password they are familiar with. Now students will be able to log in and start where they left off the week before and continue their practice. I will be able to see their progress from my dashboard. It is a WIN-WIN!