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Daily Classroom Special
Bits & Bytes:  Learning to Type

About this Daily Classroom Special
Bits & Bytes combines technology objectives, activity ideas, web sites, and resources in an effort to make it easier for everyone to incorporate technology into their instruction. Bits & Bytes is maintained by Barbara Smith, Magnet Coordinator at Harvard Elementary, Houston (TX) and Teachers Network  web mentor. 

To the Bits & Bytes Directory

K - 5

Use proper keyboarding techniques such as correct hand and body positions and smooth and rhythmic keystroke patterns as grade-level appropriate.

Model correct hand and body positions, giving rationales. Take pictures of a student displaying proper and improper positions, label, and tape them to the edge of the monitor.

"Home row" keys are asdfjkl; . Teach children which fingers to use to type each key. Ask them why they think you should use the correct fingers instead of "hunting and pecking" until you can touch-type. Younger students should start with learning location and appropriate fingers for Shift, Enter, space bar, and Backspace. For upper elementary, find typing manuals or typing books at used book stores, or ask at your local high school for out-of-adoption textbooks. Ask students to identify which keys are on a computer keyboard, but not on a typewriter. 

Get an old keyboard (donated, from thrift store, or from a computer repair technician). Demonstrate improper keyboard movements, and tell why they are harmful to the hardware. What will happen if you "punch" the keys forcefully with your fingers? Take off a key or two and show students the mechanism. Try to determine how much force it would take to break it or wear it out. Why do students need to handle keyboards gently, and with smooth strokes?

Discuss hand position and carpal tunnel syndrome. Bad habits learned now
will stick with you for a lifetime! 

Web sites to try:

Nimble Fingers: Typing - Keyboarding Stress Reduction Activities for All Ages 
Good variety of stress relief activities, keyboarding ideas.

InfoWeb- Keyboarding - TOC 
Computer skills lesson plans/activities for grades K-4

Keyboarding Olympics  
Unit on motivating students to improve keyboarding.


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