February 27, 2018

Stop! Don’t throw away that keyboard!

As we progress in the 21st Century, more things are moving online. This includes standardized testing, from elementary school to graduate school. Being able to fully express your thoughts and get those thoughts accurately recorded during the test is very important. Doing that requires typing and keyboarding skills.

A picture of using old keyboard keys and a keyboard template to play a game.
A quick matching game helps students in lots of ways.

Do you have an old keyboard? Don’t throw it out. Now I am sure you are wondering just what you can do with that dusty old thing. Well after you clean it, there are a variety of games and exercises that will help your student become a better typist.

Find the Letter

Even students that know the alphabet well may find locating the proper letter on the keyboard a challenging activity, the order is different. So, call out a letter (or have them pull a letter from a bag using discarded keyboard keys or old Scrabble tiles), a

nd then press the matching on the keyboard. Sounds simple? Absolutely. But each time they find a letter it reinforces its location on the keyboard. This is a great activity for preparing students to type. For younger students, ones learning the alphabet, this reinforces how each letter looks as well as its location on the keyboard. If you are calling the letters, instead of using the letter name use the sound. This increases the challenge and helps prepare the students for reading.

Spelling Practice

Have students practice spelling words using the keyboard. You can call the words or record them and have students play it back. As the students spell the word aloud, they should find and press the key on the keyboard. This reinforces where letters are located and the look of the letters in the word they are spelling as they are selected in order. When studying, every connection a student makes with the information provides more paths for recall when they need to use it again.

Memory Challenge

For students practicing for a while, cover the letters and numbers on the keys with a small piece of duct tape. Let the students, using a felt tip marker, write the correct letter or number on each key. When they are finished, they can check their accuracy by removing the tape.

Key Matching

If you don’t want to keep the keyboard, remove the keys and put them in a bag. Then download a copy of the Keyboard Kritters keyboard template, print it out, and let the students play a matching game. Students pull a keyboard key from the bag and place it on the matching spot on the template. It’s cool matching fun – practice for students learning their letters and numbers and reinforcing the location of keys on the keyboard.

Closed Caption Copying

For students needing touch typing practice, turn closed captioning on for their favorite TV show and have your student practice typing what they see on the screen. Depending on the show, the text might move a bit fast, but the goal isn’t to keep up, but to practice typing what they see without looking at the keyboard. This could be fun for them, without being discouraging, because without seeing results they still approximate the keyboarding experience.

Finger Placement Practice

Placing their hands on the home row, students select a letter to practice using the correct finger to touch the letter. For the first 10 times, they will look at what they are doing. The next 10 times, they are to look straight ahead while touching the letter. Then move onto another letter. This helps students understand what their fingers should feel like when they are typing each letter, punctuation mark and number.

The Keyboard Kritters kit, which includes the book and the online game, reinforces this practice in a practical way. These activities work together to prepare your students for their online testing experiences at school. With online testing, it isn’t enough to know the answer, it’s important to get it  onto the screen effectively in the time allotted. Good keyboarding skills are important for this. Keyboard Kritters is committed to helping teachers and parents assist students in gaining the skills needed for success.

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