Teaching Muscle Memory in Tech Class - #edtech

Today was the first day back to school for my students here at Bethke Elementary here in Timnath, Colorado. Parents dropped off their students this morning and grinned as they drove off, knowing that they had just tagged us -- we were now "it."

QWERTY keyboard layout - homes keys - Start po...
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Early this afternoon I got a class of second graders who were ready to "play" in my computer lab. What a shock when they found out that this was the year they learned to touch type. "Touch typing," I explained. "Is when you can type on your computer keyboard without looking at the keys."

They weren't impressed, they wanted their computer games back.

I then demonstrated on my computer by typing a sentence that a student had made up...

Mr. Flick loves to eat pickles.

As I typed I asked the students to keep an eye on me and make sure that I didn't sneak a peak at my keyboard. After I finished typing in the sentence without looking, you could have heard a pin drop. It was like they had just seen a magic trick. They were amazed at the art of touch typing.

"Do you want to learn how to do this?" I asked.

They all answered in unison "Yes!" so I knew I had them hooked.

I then explained to them about muscle memory and that my brain doesn't really have to think about typing -- my fingers just know where the keys are because my little finger muscles have a memory of where the key is. To my student who were used to one finger "hunt and peck" typing, the art of using all 10 fingers to type was starting to really intrigue them.

Our next stop was Dance Mat Typing, an online set of typing lessons that are great for my second graders to cut their teeth on touch typing. They loved it.

At the end, when they were starting to leave the class, one student asked, "Do you think my pinky will remember that it can type an A next week?"

"You bet!" I replied as we shook pinkies.

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