What is the number one skill needed to become college and career ready?

KEYBOARDING 

Attention Elementary Administrators: What is the most important skill students in your school need to raise online test scores?

KEYBOARDING 

Whether you agree with it or not online computers are part of our everyday life.

When children do not receive formal keyboarding instruction, it takes much longer to find keys, complete sentences, and include all the necessary details. When Keyboarding is fluent and automatic, it helps children focus the content of their writing, rather than trying to locate the proper keys (Preminger, Weiss, & Weintraub, 2004).

Touch typing is an example cognitive automaticity, like driving, reading, or riding a bike.  Automaticity takes a burden off the working memory and while is not feasible or developmentally appropriate to have completely fluent typing in elementary school, it is feasible to start in Pre-K getting students familiar with the keyboard layout.  This skill alone greatly reduces cognitive load and means more working memory for students to compose quality answers with more details.  Additionally, these pre-keyboarding skills makes transitioning into touch typing that much easier.

It’s just common sense that students who are exposed early on to the keyboard layout and continue to be taught developmentally appropriate touch typing skills will do better on standardized test than if those same students were not given any formal keyboarding instruction or waited until 3rd to begin instruction.

Is touch typing developmentally appropriate for 3rd -6th grade?

It’s actually a great time to learn this new skill, before they learn to many bad keyboarding habits.

My child is not yet school age.  Should I start teaching them the keyboard?

The answer is – Why Not? The Keyboard Kritters Kit provides students the opportunity to learn the keys on the keyboard while you child is leaning their letters and numbers.  

We have plenty of “unplugged activities for matching upper and/or lowercase letters, tracing letters, recalling details and retelling from the story.

Identifying and naming letters and numbers on the keyboard, knowing the names of fingers, identifying computer components, mouse skills, using index fingers to type name, learning special function keys like shift, space bar, & enter, locating home row, and identifying simple icons.

Does Keyboard Kritters require a computer or iPad (tablet)?

A computer or iPad is recommended, however there are plenty of “unplugged” activities too.  An old keyboard with the cords removed also makes a great toll to practice with.

Are PreK – 1st grade students expected to use home row?

No!  Student’s fine motor skills at this age are not developmentally ready. Instead, Keyboard Kritters uses an engaging story to help students become familiar with the keyboard layout.  PRE-Keyboarding skills like handwriting, letter identification, and phonics are used to help learn where the letters “live” on the keyboard.

Does this replace a traditional typing program?

Yes and No.

Yes, Pre-K – 2nd grade do not need anything additional to teach keyboarding & pre-keyboarding skills.

No, 3rd -6th will still need additional practice.  Keyboard Kritters gives you links to  FREE, quality, teacher tested online typing programs for students.

But, doesn’t Keyboard Kritters also offer online typing games called “Boom Cards”?

Yes, the Keyboard Kritters kit comes with dozens of online Boom Cards that were created specifically for Keyboard Kritters. Students can complete these self-checking tasks which will teach and reinforce skills while earning coins giving students the gaming experience they find so motivating.

How do I gain access to these materials?

Your emailed receipt will contain all the information. 

Do I have to pay a subscription fee each year?

No

Can I buy just one book and share the book and my Boom Card log in with other parents?

No, for us to offer all of this at such a reasonable price we ask you not to share.  Each FAMILY is required to have its own book.

What does research say?

When children do not receive formal keyboarding instruction, it takes much longer to find keys, complete sentences, and include all the necessary details. (Direct parallel to beginning writing with paper and pencil.)

When Keyboarding is fluent and automatic, it helps children focus the content of their writing, rather than trying to locate the proper keys (Preminger, Weiss, & Weintraub, 2004).

How does it work?

Keyboard Kritters uses two different types of memory aides to help students learn letter placement on the keyboard.  Students will associate where each Kritter lives on Keyboard Street to help them first master home row.  Then by recalling details from the story of what gift and food each Kritter takes to Lon’s house warming party.

Ex: Alligator is the first house on keyboard street.  She takes a Quilt from the upstairs and Zucchini Bread from her kitchen downstairs.

Eventually this information correlates with what finger is used to strike them on the keyboard.

I couldn’t tell you where all the keys are on the keyboard and I type just fine.  Isn’t teaching children to memorize the keyboard a waste of time?

It’s true touch typing is an example cognitive automaticity, like driving, reading, or riding a bike.  Automaticity takes a burden off the working memory. Like reading to teach it requires we first break it down into smaller parts.

A student’s goal by the time they leave middle school would be to type without looking or thinking about where the keys are located.   Research states this requires about 400 hours of practice. However, most of us were taught keyboarding at much older age so it stands to reason that younger students need a different approach.  I think we all can agree become more familiar with the keyboard layout will help reduce a student’s cognitive load when learning touch typing.

Kids already pick this up on their own texting.  They don’t need formal instruction. Hunt and peck is just as fast. Computer time should be used for more meaningful authentic activities.

Wrong! The home row method  is the fastest technique and while computers should be used for authentic activities keyboarding instruction must start before grade three for students to be complete these activities.  At least some of computer time should be devoted to keyboarding instruction.  The more time devoted in the beginning will lead to more quality work in the future.

How many words per minute should my students be typing?

While even the experts are all over the place one thing was constant in all research was, that the emphasis should be on technique, then accuracy, and finally speed.  One recommendation I came across again and again was 5 WPM x grade level.  First grade would be five words, second grade –  ten and so on. You can look at a breakdown of what common core deems appropriate by clicking here.

My students spend enough time in front of a screen! I am trying to limit screen time not encourage it.

I completely agree that screen time should be limited by age and that there needs to be a balance between time playing outside and time spent in front a screen.

The keyboard Kritters materials for grades PreK – 2nd Grade have great Boom Card Lessons that are done on an iPad or computer.  However, we also include lessons for reading, letter formation, sight words, coloring pages, puppets, and games that make these activities, not only developmentally appropriate and hands-on, but screen free!

For older students, you can be assured the time spent in front of the screen completing boom cards will be educational with individualized, immediate feedback.

What programs do I need to open and print documents from the website?

Most documents are PDF or DOCX.  However, to print large posters you will need a version of publisher which comes with free with Office.

What about voice to text?  With advances in technology, why even teach keyboarding.

There is no way to predict the future, however with schools often being years behind when it comes to implementing new technology, Keyboarding is still a skill that is needed to become college and career ready. Furthermore, just as keyboards have not replaced paper and pencil, voice to text is likely not going to replace touch typing anytime soon.

What is Boom Learning?

Boom Learning is a site that has many educational games (Apps) made by teachers for teachers and parents.  These games are self-checking with immediate feedback.

Is there a username of password needed to use Keyboard Kritter Boom Learning Games?

Yes, a username and password will be emailed to you after purchase.

Do I have to create a  Boom account?

Your Boom card account gives you the ability to make classes and assign Boom cards.

Will I get emails from Keyboard Kritters?

Yes we will send out links to updates when needed.