For Schools

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 assessments are here to stay. Your teachers have taught. Your students have learned. Now they are ready to tackle the PARCC Assessment. WRONG!

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?

Right or wrong, the common core criteria make it almost impossible to meet the technology standards by typing with only two fingers.

I teach early childhood.  Why should I teach the keyboard?

The answer is – Why Not? The Keyboard Kritters Kit provides students the opportunity to learn the keys on the keyboard while you are teaching skills they need to learn anyway.  The kit uses literature, centers, and practice pages.  This kit meets standards for letter and number recognition, handwriting, and literacy standards.  It helps you practice and teach the standards you are already covering.

  • Students match upper and/or lowercase letters, tracing letters, recalling details from a story, retelling with puppets & have access to dozens of online Boom Cards for in the classroom or at home.

What are Pre-Keyboarding skills?

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, spacebar, & enter, locating home row, and identifying simple icons.

What does the program look like for younger students?

Pre-K -2nd Grade – work on letter recognition, handwriting, sight words, phonics, story structure, while at the same time becoming familiar with pre-keyboarding skills.  Keyboard Kritters adds another layer to your instruction, NOT another thing to do.

Does Keyboard Kritters require one to one technology?

No. In fact many of the activities especially in grades Prek-2nd can be done without a computer or at home.

Do I need a classroom computer?

 

Grades PREK-2nd at least one classroom computer or iPad is suggested.

Grades 3rd-6th a few Classroom computers, iPads, or computer lab is recommended.

Is Keyboard Kritters Kit common core aligned?

Yes, it is common core aligned and research based.

Are Pre-K – 1st grade expected to use home row?

No!  Student’s fine motor skills at this age are not developmentally ready. Instead, Keyboard Kritters uses a fun story to help students become familiar with the keyboard layout.  Pre-Keyboarding skills like handwriting, letter identification, and phonics are integrated seamlessly into the classroom.

Are common core aligned lesson plans included with the purchase of the book?

Yes, each grade Pre-K – 6th comes with a complete set of downloadable lesson plans, created by a teacher for a teacher.

Does the program build upon it itself?

Yes. However, it is designed so that any teacher at any grade can use the program without students needing prior exposure.

Does this kit replace typing programs?

 

Yes and No.

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

No, 3rd -6th This kit is to be used as a supplement to your district’s program.  Don’t have one.  No problem, there are many FREE, quality, online typing programs for students.

Our goal was to fill an immediate need for an easy, quality online game that helps reinforce letter recognition while students become familiar with the keyboard layout.

But, doesn’t Keyboard Kritters 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.

What do I get with the purchase of the hardback Keyboard Kritters book?

  1. Hundreds of downloadable
  • Posters
  • Puppets
  • Worksheets
     
  • Keyboard templates
  • Games
  • Grade specific common core aligned lesson plans.
  1. Access to dozens of online boom cards exclusive to the Keyboard Kritters Kit.

How do I gain access to these materials?

Your reciept with the information will be emailed to you. Using this link and password you will be directed to a protected webpage from which you can download files and directions to access the online games.

Do I have to pay a subscription fee each year?

No

What if I change grades, can I download the lesson plans and materials for that grade level at no cost?

Yes, always

Can my class next year use the online games?

Absolutely

Can I use the lesson plans year after year?

You bet

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

No, for us to offer all of this at such a reasonable price to update our site we ask you not to share.  Each classroom is required to have its own book and Boom Card log in.

Why would I want to buy this kit for the classroom teachers in my school?

Just like handwriting keyboarding is an ever-developing skill.  Third grade students being able to do well on the PARCC assessment is just one of the many reasons keyboarding skills are now the responsibility of everyone.  Like it or not, very young children are interacting with the keyboards and if we wait until middle or high school to teach proper keyboarding techniques we are ensuring that student develop bad hunt and peck habits that are hard to break.

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).

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What do I need?

You will need a computer with internet and a printer to download and print the practice sheets, lesson plans, and play the online Boom Cards.

Is there any software to install?

No, the materials and game is online.

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 lion’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.

As a classroom teacher, I just don’t have time to teach one more thing.

I get it. That is why lessons the lessons are aligned with common core standards, Maryland Literacy Standards and in conjunction with Basic computer skills located in A Companion to the Maryland Technology Literacy Standards.  As a seasoned classroom teacher and now Technology teacher, I have designed lessons and centers that you are going to teach anyway with keyboard skills.

Ex:  Sight words can by Read, Written, and Typed out on a keyboard template or an old keyboard with the cord cut off placed in a center.

Sounds great, but we don’t have a full-time technology teacher.

No need for one, all activities can be done in the classroom setting.

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 as far as research goes 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.

What does the common core say about keyboarding?

See this article. LINK

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 Kritters?

NO! After you recieve your reciept (email) and use the link and password provided for you to download the files and directions you do not need go on to Keyboard Kritters Website.

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.

Does it cost to use boom cards? 

No, the starter membership gives your students immediate access to all Keyboard Kritters Games using the fast play feature.  Please see full membership details at https://wow.boomlearning.com/ .

Prices and details are subject to change and Keyboard Kritters makes no guarantees about Boom Learning or its policies.

For a limited time, Boom Learning is giving ALL Keyboard Kritters customers a FREE 3 Month Trial of its Ultimate Membership.  If you want to keep it, pay just $25 a year. If you don’t, you will ALWAYS be able to use the fast play options to play Keyboard Kritters App Bundle.

Can I create my own boom cards?

Yes

Will I always have access to Keyboard Kritter App Bundle?

Yes

Can I get additional boom card apps from the Boom Learning Site to use for math, reading or other content areas?

ABSOLUTELY, you can choose from the many free or premium lessons.  Boom Learning lets you search by topic or grade.  They are great to use for tests or independent work, because they are self-checking and give immediate feedback.