Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Type to Learn!

Beginning the 2nd semester of First Grade, students work to improve their keyboarding skills with a program called TTL4.  (Type to Learn).  TTL4 has 36 lessons, 5 typing games with each lesson, and 7 keyboarding assessments.

Review of previously learned keys, demonstration of new keys, practice exercises and assessment, with continuous reinforcement of home row positioning, is a cycle followed throughout all of the 36 lessons.  There is emphasis on words per minute speed as well as accuracy.

What students like most about TTL4 is that it's in the form of a game with adventure, information, and lots of specialized activities.

As a teacher, I have access to view the work of each student, and am able to personalize their individual plan and requirements for advancement.  According to the accuracy and speed achieved in a lesson, goals for upcoming lessons are adjusted accordingly.

Students are exposed to lessons that incorporate real-world typing content, as well as cross-curricular.  Examples include historical documents, literature passage, and original writing tasks.

I asked the 2nd grade students what their favorite game was.  It was a split between Drone Control and Dig This.

Drone Control Activity
Drone Control ActivityThis is a timed typing game focusing on speed as well as accuracy. Students type the displayed text as quickly as possible to command a drone to move through dangerous terrain. They must reach their destination before time runs out.
The amount of content provided to the student in this game depends on their individual WPM goal. Students must type fast enough to meet their WPM goal in the time allotted in order to successfully reach their destination. WPM and accuracy are always recorded.

Dig This ActivityDig This ActivityThis typing game focuses on accuracy and typing to a beat to encourage a smooth typing cadence. Students type the text displayed in order to break the ice or stones and reveal what's hidden beneath. The metronome beat for cadence can be turned on or off by the teacher in settings, as well as by the student in the game itself. (http://ttl4.sunburst.com/typing-games.php)

Students in grades 1-6 work in TTL4 quite often in technology, as well as trying our hands at other online keyboard activities.  Keyboarding is a skill that everyone needs in their lives.  These students are off to a good start!
One of the fun games on TTL4

Practicing Home Row Keys

Both WPM and Accuracy are emphasized

Look at that beautiful home row position!

It's a whole row of spectacular home row positions!

Monday, October 13, 2014

There's a Spider on the Floor!

Today it was all about spiders in Kindergarten and First Grade!  The traditional song, "There's a Spider on the Floor" gave us an opportunity to not only sing the song, but also act it out!  That spider was EVERYWHERE!  On the floor, on our toes, on our backs....and with each verse, the students quickly recognized that we were rhyming too!  We had fun creating NEW places for that spider to land, and completed those new verses with more rhyming words to match!  Students took home their little spiders, with excitement brewing to teach their family at home this fun song and activity.  Perhaps we will hear about some new verses that they create at home in our next music class!
There's a spider on my toe!.....and he's wiggling his nose!

a spider on my knee!

on my belly...eating peanut butter and jelly!!!

...on my neck!  

...on my hair...I think he's dancing way up there!

There's even a spider on my BACK!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pumpkin Time!

October is a fun month in music class!  We get to sing lots of pumpkin songs!  One of our all-time favorites is Pass The Pumpkin.  Through the years, we've added various instrumentation to the song, played the passing game, and generally had great fun with it! 
The student pointer
Kindergarten and First Graders are using the song this year to reinforce quarter and eight note patterns.  Students take turns using the display on the SmartBoard as a pointing page while we sing.  This is a quick way for me to assess each student in their tracking skills.  They are also trying their hand at a simple bourdon on the xylophone to accompany the singing game.  Again, a quick assessment of steady beat and mallet proficiency.
While we sing the song, we play the passing game and rotate around to each of the instruments as well as a chance to be the "pointing person."
This week, we've added xylophone, rainstick, and gong to the piece.  Perhaps we will come up with some new instrument choices next week!

We have LOTS of choices for the pumpkin to use in our passing game!