It never fails, I am a glutton for new experiences and challenges. This summer I have left the realm of testosterone and middle school drama for snotty noses and huggers of elementary school. While reminding to tie shoes and use inside voices, I often have to slow down and chunk a lot of my instruction to best fit the needs of my elementary students.
However, I have found one great similarity in the two age groups — both love going to the computer lab!
I joke I could have them clean the floor in the lab with toothbrushes, and they would be excited to do it because it connect them with technology. At the middle school, modeling and keeping up comes quickly as you move into grades seven and eight. Not quite the same for second, third, and fourth grades!
Our task this summer is visiting the computer lab twice a week for about 30 minutes (after they get logged in and know their task).
The task at hand
The summer school curriculum map had students typing their responses from a reading comprehension piece previously read in class. Simple, right? Wrong!! Many of my elementary students are finger pecking at the keys and a simple paragraph took almost an hour.
There was no concept of typing which worries me since the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test is going to be all on the computer in 2014-2015; in addition, the assessment will be heavy in certain sections with writing.
Adapting to the situation
Thank goodness for small groups, I found myself teaching students (similar to a drill sergeant) on the proper placement of their keys on the keyboard — which is very difficult for a young child. We began with typing vowel groupings to go with the phonics intervention program from class. Next, I shared the responsibility of modeling what a good typed sentence looked like with some of my stellar typers (they loved playing a leadership role in front of their peers). Connecting the phonics and typing allowed for the reinforcement of previous skills taught that day.
I understand my students will not be stellar at typing now, but I am excited to see their growth. After two weeks of summer school, students have doubled the amount of sentences correctly typed in a 30 minute time block! Grant it, that may only be from three sentences to six sentences. However, it’s the small successes which turn into great victories as students continue to pick up another vital skill.