Grade 3 / Quarter 1 / Quarter 2 / Quarter 3 / Quarter 4

Quarter 1, 2, 3: 30 minutes / twice a week. (all keyboarding);
Quarter 4: 30 minutes keyboarding (30 min. computer skills, which also involve keyboarding)

Keyboarding Goals
End of 3rd grade: Finish UltraKey. Type 10 wpm / 95%, by touch.
1st quarter: Pass level 1 (Homerow) and level 2 (i t period keys) with 10 wpm, 95%
2nd quarter: levels 3, 4, 5
3rd quarter: levels 6, 7
4th quarter: levels 8, 9

Grades of O, S, N are given on the online report cards based on keyboarding progress.
O = Outstanding
S = Satisfactory
N = Needs improvement

Quarter 1

The third graders started off the year learning about different ways computers are used and the different parts of the computer. They were introduced to using the mouse and to the parts of the screen: window, menu bar, icon, drop down menu. They learned how to resize, minimize, open, close, and scroll through a window, as well as start and quit a program. Between the third and fourth quarter, I will begin teaching word processing skills and how to work with graphics. Students complete the year by making a slide show or PowerPoint presentation tied into what they learn in Science class.

Keyboarding by touch is important! For anyone to feel comfortable using the computer as a a tool, he/she must feel comfortable typing. Typing by touch (without looking at the keys) allows the typist to type as fast as he/she is thinking and focus on what is being typed, rather than hunting the keys. With technology being so much a part of out lives, students are expected to be able to type and use computers at a much younger age, and to the amazement of us adults, they are quite capable of doing so! Therefore, the first skill taught after a “basic intro to using a computer” is keyboarding. The keyboarding program we use is “UltraKey”. It is divided into 9 levels of lessons and tests. The tests are called “skill checks”.

The secret to learning to keyboard: Keyboarding experts agree that keyboarding is a skill learned by repetition, much like playing an instrument. To type by touch, the fingers must move in the same way until they move automatically without thinking. When students take a typing test, they use a box to cover their hands so they don’t look down at the keys. Emphasis is placed on using the correct finger reaches and having control rather than typing fast. Speed comes naturally after the typist learns the keys. Holding the wrists up off the table is crucial to typing by touch. It helps the fingers "feel" the "reach"; if the weight is on the wrists, the fingers don't "feel" the movement and then don't "remember" it.

Practice often! Experts recommend typing at least 3-4 times per week for 20 minute sessions when learning how to type. In previous years, as we have done this, most students completed the program in three quarters. Many finished halfway through the year! This year, our third graders are making similar progress typing for two 30 minute sessions each week.

When students type frequently, they make faster progress, feel more confident, have a better attitude about typing, and end up making even faster progress. It’s a snowball effect. As our 3rd graders complete all of UltraKey, they can begin typing stories, reports, etc. and their typing will even get better! It also enables 4th grade teachers to have students type in their classes as well.

Practice at home! Even though we are typing more in school, your child will still benefit from typing at home. When practicing at home, have your child start a word processing document, like Microsoft Word. Let them pick a font, bigger size, and color to make it more fun. Tape paper to the keyboard at the top, so the paper can go over their hands to cover their hands. Your child should use the sentences I have given them and also practice each finger reach: k-i, l-period, f-t, etc.

You can also purchase the same program we use! If your child has not passed level 2 yet, you should consider purchasing UltraKey. I have seen students complete the program at home in a few weeks! If you have younger children, you may want to purchase it so they can get a head start in 3rd grade. Parents get it at a reduced cost when purchasing through the school, and I am keeping some extras on hand. Just let me know if you want one. The price is $19.95. You can make checks payable to "Lancaster Mennonite School". It works on both macs and pc's.

Great progress! The third graders got off to a great start! They are excited about typing and many have even completed the second level or more! Students can also practice using some online typing games.

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Quarter 2

The third graders continued typing in UltraKey through the second quarter for 30 minutes twice a week. They are making remarkable progress, with most of them working on level 6 already, and two students have even finished ALL of UltraKey - Maggie Will and Hunter Gehman!!

When students complete UltraKey, I have them type poems or stories they have written in class to practice. Periodically, I have them take tests in UltraKey to see how much they've improved and check their speed and accuracy. After they have typed each story or poem, the classroom teachers and I show them how to add a picture to their story.

About halfway through the third quarter, when most of the students have completed all nine levels of UltraKey, we will change the format of the classes. Students will begin learning:
  • Word processing: how to place text on the page and change format and alignment
  • Graphic use: how to put an image on the page and resize it
  • File management: how to save and retrieve files on the computer

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Quarter 3

The third graders continued typing in UltraKey through the third quarter for 30 minutes twice a week. Most have now finished the UltraKey program! How exciting! As students complete the program, the Mrs. Steffen and I have been showing basic word processing skills to them individually and they have been typing poems or their journal entries in Word and adding images.

SKILLS: Integrating our new keyboarding skills (along with graphics skills) into Language Arts; Integrating Presentation skills (PowerPoint) into Social Studies.

Word Processing / Graphics: As students have been finishing the UltraKey program, The teachers and I have been teaching basic word processing to them individually so they can type some fun Shel Silverstein poems in MicroSoft Word. Students learn how to start/save/open a document, format text (highlight text several ways in order to change font/size/color/alignment), how to move text up and down a page, search for an image in MicroSoft Office's website, (use control-click in order to right-click on our Macs) and copy/paste an image into a document. Last, they learned how to do a "text wrap" so the words go around the picture. I also stress not hitting the space bar or tab key more than once. The students save their poems in their own folders within their class folder on the server. This teaches students about organizing and saving files. They are very eager to type their own work! It is so remarkable to watch students typing beautifully by touch without looking at the keys! It wasn't that long ago that they had trouble just making their fingers stay down on the homerow keys!

The past two weeks, I took several sessions to do a thorough lesson with the whole class in word processing, graphics, and saving/opening files. We also added a drop shadow or effect to the image they copied/pasted and text wrapped. We talked about the best place to put the image and how to make words bigger, so they filled up their document. We talked about getting our file opened by either starting the program and doing "file menu > open" and browsing to the file, or by just going directly to where we saved the file.

PowerPoint: Next comes taking our typing and graphics skills to PowerPoint, creating presentations about a topic students study it in the classroom. In PowerPoint, words are written in text boxes, which unlike word processing, can be dragged around the page. However, if a text box is clicked inside, the computer thinks of it as word processing and you can click and drag over each individual letter. Students are beginning to understand how a computer "thinks", which will help them to get it to do what they want. We will be using World Book Online for information and images.
Username: lmsblazers
Password: lmsblazers

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Quarter 4

Version without Animations and Sounds:

Full Version with Animations and Sounds:

  • Word processing/Graphics - Formatting text (alignment, color, font, size, moving up and down), copy/pasting images from the Internet, text wrap
  • File Management / Internet - Saving/opening files, working with folders, Moving between several opened folders, searching on the Internet
  • PowerPoint Animal Presentations - Adding/deleting slides, changing theme, formatting text, adding images, transitions, audio, animations

What an AMAZING transformation occurs in third grade! Our students go from having trouble keeping their fingers on the keyboard, to typing all 26 letters without even looking down at the keyboard and creating PowerPoint presentations! Most of our students have completed UltraKey, and some are typing 20+ words per minute!!!! - And that's without looking down at the keys!!!! They have used word processing skills to align text and type stories, add pictures from the Internet, and do a "text wrap" so the words go around the picture!

POWERPOINT!!!: We spent most of the 4th quarter learning PowerPoint and creating presentations about animals, using categories suggested by Mrs. Steffen. Students used World Book Online to get information and copy/paste images. They also used some other sites for images. The third graders learned how to add/delete/reorder slides, add/format text boxes, and add/crop images. They also learned how to change the layout and theme and add transitions and custom animations to make their images move on the slides. Last, students uploaded their PPT’s to a page they created on a wiki. You can find the wiki linked to Mrs. Steffen’s wiki, click on your child’s page, and download their presentation to watch! As I write this, I am reminded of how far the students came this year – Learning how to type by touch, use word processing, save and open files, use PowerPoint, and upload files to a wiki. They are AMAZING!!! I am so PROUD of them!

Check out their Animal PowerPoint Presentations on the class wikis: Click HERE.

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