Grade: Elementary
Subject: other

#564. A New Twist on the Keyboard

other, level: Elementary
Posted Mon Aug 10 20:31:09 PDT 1998 by Kelly J. Owens (
The John Cooper School
The John Cooper School, The Woodlands, Texas USA
Materials Required: masking tape, clear packing tape, colored paper, colored index cards, scissors, and a stop watch. :)
Activity Time: varied
Concepts Taught: Keyboarding

Design and construct a diagram of a keyboard on the floor of the classroom (approx. 12'x5').
Outline the keyboard in masking tape by estimating size, proportion, and key position. Use a die cut
machine to create cut-outs of all the letters on the keyboard. To make the numbers and symbols on the
keyboard use a word processing program, select bold, outline font size 255 ( or a size relative to your
project). Print and cut along the lines. Position the colorful cut-outs inside the outline of the keyboard.
Use clear packing tape to tape down the letters, numbers, and symbols. *Note: I cover the entire keyboard
with clear tape so that the students will not be tempted to "pick at" the cut-outs. The tape acts like a
laminated shield and can save a lot of time in repairs over the long run.

Discovery Lesson
Students enter the room, take their seats on top of the keyboard, and wait for the instructions of the day.
They choose a key to sit on for a few consecutive classes. Tell them to notice where they are located on the
keyboard (top, bottom, middle, left, right) and to study the keys located around them. This way the students
begin to interact with the keyboard. Point out the special keys like delete, escape, return, shift, etc. everyday.
The younger students will soon be able to locate these commonly used but often "misplaced" keys all by themselves. ;)

Memory Drill
Take a stack of brightly colored index cards and cut the cards into two pieces - doubling the amount of cards.
Write each letter, number, symbol, and special key from the keyboard onto the cards. The students form a standing
circle around the classroom keyboard. The teacher takes position at the bottom middle of the keyboard right below
the spacebar. Give directions that little or no verbal communication should take place when prompting or helping
one another. Remind the students that this will only help to decrease the time it takes to complete the drill
therefore benefiting the class as a whole. Hold the index cards up-side-down. Turn the first card over announcing
its assigned key, for example "A." Start the timer. Hand the card to the student on the right. The student must
locate the assigned key on the keyboard and place the card on top. After having placed the card in its correct
location on the keyboard, the student then takes his or her place to the left side of the teacher. Hand the next
card to the student on the right. This pattern will force the class to move about the perimeter of the keyboard in
a clockwise manner. The students standing around the keyboard should also look for the designated key even when it
is not their turn. They may not help locate the key unless the student with the card asks for help at which point
the rest of the class may point to the location of the key on the keyboard. After all the cards have been placed in
the keyboard, stop the timer. Record the time. Students take pride in decreasing the time it takes for them to locate
all the keys as their study of the keyboard progresses. Also, a little friendly competition between classes or grade
levels is a fun way to build teamwork.

Having used this teaching tool for a semester, I am quite pleased by the results. Interacting with the keyboard
in a way other than "a-s-d-f. . .j-k-l-:. . ." the students are excited and eager to try new active learning techniques.
The younger students in grades K-2 are locating keys on their own. Before a student might search for 5 minutes
for a key in the small keyboard on their desktop units, become discouraged, and feel incapable when having to ask the
teacher for help. Now the students journey over to the big keyboard on the floor, search for the key's placement, and
return to their computers where they locate the key and eventually remember its position on the keyboard. This has
helped greatly to foster independence and self initiated discovery in the lab.
The keyboard on the floor is not meant to be a substitute for traditional ways of teaching typing. It is intended
as a tool to facilitate active learning. It adds a new and exciting twist to the difficult act of learning how to type.

Please do not reproduce this lesson plan unless it is for individual classroom use only. Thank you