Even though I have my 2nd graders engage in keyboarding and typing lessons, it's really only to get them introduced to the concept of typing correctly, as well as to get them to learn the layout of the computer keyboard. The site that the students and I love the best is Dance Mat Typing.
However, with my 3rd and 4th graders (I don't have 5th grade this year), we really start to focus on typing speed and accuracy. I understand their little fingers are still growing and that they are still learning. However, if I give them goals and incentives to type correctly, I am finding that they work harder to truly learn where those letters are on the keyboard. We also discuss the importance of learning to type correctly.
Every quarter, I am giving these students the same typing test. Their goal: to improve their WPM (Words per Minute) by at least 1 each quarter. This way I know they are truly focused on learning these typing skills and they feel pride when they see they can beat their own scores. I am happy to report that out of approx. 150 3rd/4th grade students not ONE student's score went down from 1st Quarter to 2nd!! I did have a few that did not increase their score at all, but no one's went down! YAY!
I also made a deal with the students. Since Quarter 1's score is just a baseline to see where they were on their WPM at the beginning of the year, the goal is for them to improve at least 2 of the 3 remaining quarters of the year. While their quarterly goal is to improve by 1 each quarter (for grading purposes), I want them to also have a bigger goal to reach for.
I told students that for those who do meet this bigger goal over the course of the school year, they will receive a special reward in May. My thoughts is that it will most likely be a popcorn party, extra computer lab time, or even a special treasure box item. We'll see what happens.
With my younger students, we have just been focusing on learning the alphabet and finding the letters on the keyboard. This is a bit easier for 1st graders than it is for kindergartners, but I'm already seeing the improvements. Here are a couple of sites I've used to help them practice these skills:
I've created a display in my computer lab for my 3rd graders (my 4th graders are in the building next door). This way they can see their own progress and focus on trying to reach even higher WPM's. I will update this after every quarterly test.
There are lots of other fun Typing sites listed on my Live Binder site.
If you have any other fun sites or tips for Keyboarding, feel free to share them below or on my Facebook page.