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Typing Olympics

This year I am teaching 3rd- 5th grade only.  My remaining time is spent helping teachers to integrate technology in their classrooms effectively and supporting our new Promethean boards.  I see my students once a week for 35 minutes.  Any of you that teach a specials class know that at least 5 minutes of class is spent getting students ready to learn after the hallway transition.  This leaves me with 30 minutes with my students.  In that 30 minutes I have to teach a lesson and give students an opportunity to practice it on the computer.  In a school year I see my students a total of 24 times (that is if we never have a snow day, or lose a day due to field trips or special events).  I love teaching my students how to use technology as a tool to help them learn.  I do not want to spend my time with them typing.  Although typing is a valuable skill for them to learn, there is SO much more than our brand new iMacs can do.  My other hang up with spending computer class focused on typing is that I still only see my students 24 times in a school year.  Even if we spent every class typing, I don’t feel like this is adequate time to really learn and build touch typing skills. My solution was to come up with a typing competition that will take one class period.  I call it the Typing Olympics.  I make a BIG deal out of this day.  We have opening ceremonies, olympic fanfare music, and even paper doves.  Students compete against each other to find out who is the fastest touch typist with the greatest accuracy in each class.  There are two gold winners, one boy and one girl.  The winners receive a gold medal in the closing ceremonies along with a break dresscode pass (these are like gold to our students!).  There are also silver and bronze winners who receive medals.  The students know that the Typing Olympics happens in the spring.  We talk in class extensively about how hard athletes like Michael Phelps have to train before the Olympics.  At this point I give students the goal to train for our Typing Olympics.  This year I decided to create a special website for the training and created a Typing Training Club.  Students can visit the site for links to websites that will help build their typing skills.  There is also a blog page where I give students suggestions about which keys to practice each week building up to the Typing Olympics.  This helps break down practice into a manageable skill each week.  We type in class one day prior to the Olympics.  The rest is up to them.  For my students, a break dress code day is enough incentive to practice typing on their own time.  Obviously, some students will take this more seriously than others.  For our situation, I think this is our best option for building touch typing skills.  I have some students who can type at 53 WPM and some at 8 WPM, but at least we have learned more during the year than just touch typing.  I suspect I would get similar results even if we used the 24 classes in the year for typing practice. What are you doing at your school to build touch typing skills?

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Beyond Lockdown: Invitation for #Colorado educators to join for FREE

Posted by admin | Posted in General | Posted on 02-01-2014

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I’ve been radio silent in the blogging world since the shooting at Arapahoe high school. It hurts. I hate that this has happened again. I hate that the waiting to hear from former students felt so familiar. I ache that all kids live in a world where school isn’t always a safe place. The week before the shooting at Arapahoe, the kids at Anastasis were creating bracelets, paper airplanes, and a video for the Sandy Hook community and I wrote this post on our school blog.

It’s hard to write about new technology finds and educational tools when you ache for your community, when lives have been forever altered and two families have to learn how to exist differently. Despite the pain and sadness, there is also a time of healing. I’ve been incredibly proud of the Arapahoe community who IS warrior strong. The Colorado community has once again rallied and has come with an outpouring of love, support for one another, and healing together.

One of my friends on Twitter, @LauraScheer, contacted me following the shooting at Arapahoe, and extended an amazing gift through a friend of hers.  A private “Beyond Lockdown” training for the Anastasis staff and 15 of our Colorado friends.  TAC ONE consulting is providing their “Beyond Lockdown” training course for free.  This training has been designed to help prepare school faculty with an aggressive response to an active gunman. During this course, we will learn to: understand the “active shooter” and identify active shooter incidents/trends, identify current mainstream practices and shortfalls, acquire basic understanding of firearms, understand new aggressive action plans, and receive training and recommendations.

The class is being held on Saturday Jan. 11, 2014 from 12:30-4:30 in Centennial.  We want to invite 15 of our Colorado teaching friends to join us for FREE.  If you are interested, please contact me in the comments below OR on Twitter @ktenkely and I will get you complete details.  This training is typically costly, this is an amazing gift from TAC Consulting trainer Joe Deedon!

It makes me sad that we live in a world where this type of training is becoming a necessity. I’m thankful for people like Laura and Joe who make it available in a time of need and prepare us accordingly. I hope that you won’t assume that this could never happen at your school.  I hope our Colorado friends will take us up on this offer. I pray that none of us will ever need to put this training to use.

Comments (1)

I read your blog and saw the invitation for “Beyond Lockdown”. I would be very interested in attending.

Thanks for sharing your blog!

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