Holiday Typing Activities for Your Classroom
Hey everybody, it’s Mike Gecawich, Co-founder of Teaching.com, EduTyping.com and Typing.com, here with another edition of #AskEdutyping. This week’s show is going to be a little bit different format from what we’ve done in the past. Basically, the last couple of weeks we’ve been flooded with lots of questions about receiving ideas, or giving some teaching ideas and tips on how to deal with the holiday season. And seeing that tomorrow is Thanksgiving—Happy Thanksgiving by-the-way everybody—what we’ve done is rather than address individual questions, I come up with a number of tips that I’ll be sharing with you today and I’ll also be bringing you some additional holiday-themed teaching ideas and tips for your keyboarding classrooms over the next several weeks as we come closer and closer to the holiday break. So let’s get started and there are several…
So this week I’ve actually written them up here on my whiteboard behind me, so that in case you want to take some notes and again remember every episode AskEduTyping is recorded on Facebook. Although we stream it life, you can go to our EduTyping Facebook page and review any of our episodes in the future. We’re going to cover quite a bit today, so let’s get started. So the first suggestion that I have for you before I actually dive into this- is that it’s important for you as a teacher to acknowledge the fact that the holiday season is upon us. There are powerful influences over our students, whether they’re elementary, middle-school, or high school. And what I mean by that is, if your student celebrate Christmas, as an example, Santa Claus is right around the corner for December 25th and he’s going to probably be able to trump your abilities in the classroom because, as we know, Santa can visit every single household in the world in one night.
So it makes him a pretty amazing guy. The first piece of advice that I would give is just recognize that students are going to be a little bit more jittery, a lot more excited. They’re gonna be attending different Christmas events or holiday-themed concerts and things within your school, things outside of school, family events and so on and so forther. So it’s a great time to celebrate and it’s important to realize that it’s just kind of a fact. When I was a teacher, one of the things that I made sure that I did was I kind of just honed down my abilities or my philosophies on teaching just a little bit as far as classroom control goes because you know it’s not the whole ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ thing. It’s more just kind of acknowledgment is really the most important thing. So we do have several things that you can do in your keyboarding classroom, or any classroom really. But this pertains to those of you who are teaching keyboarding. And they’re great for all levels.
The Santa Project
So the first classroom idea is called the Santa project. And again if you’re being sensitive to religion and race, obviously, some of these you may not be able to do inside of your classroom. However, I think that some of them you’ll be able to do. The the Santa project is basically like this— so, what you do is you talk to another elementary teacher within your school and even if you teach elementary education or at the middle school level or high school, this works basically for all grades. So when you speak with another elementary teacher, you have students in that class whether its third grade, fourth grade, second grade, write letters to Santa Claus and then what you do is you receive those letters in your keyboarding classroom and again, this is really designed for middle school, high school level to actually compose what is the response to those.
So your students are actually going to play Santa Claus and respond to the elementary letters that were written to Santa Claus. And it gives them a great opportunity to take a break from normal keyboarding lessons and also this will reinforce their keyboarding practice. That idea actually came to us from Jeanne Ryan who is from and is a teacher in Westfield, Massachusetts. So thank you Jeanne for that wonderful lesson plan.
Second is, we launched a new typing game. And games make a great opportunity to take a break and also let students kind of get a little bit more interactive and hone down their excitement and get focused. All of our games have wonderful reinforcement activities built into them. This week we just launched a game called Z-Type, which is very similar to the game Asteroids, if you remember from the 80s. Z-Type basically is available on Typing.com for free as well as in our classroom premium edition on EduTyping. So I encourage you to check it out, let your students do it. The great thing about Z-Type is what happens is that words and letters fall from the atmosphere and then as students type them, they actually kind of shoot and blow up little asteroid-looking images on the screen. So again, Z-Type, check it out brand new, just launched it. I think your students will love it.
Nitro Type Holiday Event
Next is Nitro Type, which is also a free typing product that we offer. At nitrotype.com basically, you can register your students or they can register themselves. The cool thing with Nitro Type is as students type they’re actually on a speed track that races against other students from all over the world. So they can compete against all kinds of different levels and for the next several weeks as the holiday season approaches, we will be putting the theme of different kind of holiday themes on the cars that students actually race with.
So, that’s really cool something to kind of divert students attention away from the normal day-to-day lessons that you might be given in keyboarding.
Top 25 Gift Request
Next is what’s called the Top 25 Gift Request and I picked the number 25. You can replace it with 10, 5, 50 depends on the skill level of your student. Basically, you have your student research on the internet what are the top presents that children are requesting and you can pick the age group. Could be teenagers, could be Elementary School. Obviously you want to do this to the age group of your students or could be top gifts for mom or top gifts for dad. And once the list is compiled, basically, you can have your students keyboard, those in any word processing software or you can use the custom lessons feature in EduTyping and you can create your own lesson on the Top 25 Gifts, etc. So another great holiday activity, again kind of keeping students engaged and kind of dialing down their excitement that they have coming up for the holiday season.
Great 50 states Challenge
Next one is called the Great 50 states Challenge. This one is really cool, it’s one of my favorites. My students used to love this. Basically what the Top 50 states challenge is all about is— you’ll compile all 50 states, the names of them, or it could just be the abbreviations or fully spelled out. Again depending upon the skill level, probably at elementary level, like a second grader who is just learning how to spell, you could use the abbreviations for each state. Or you can combine them, you know I’m based in Rhode Island right now, you could have R.I. and then a hyphen and then the words “Rhode Island”. And basically, what happens is students begin to keyboard and this is either using the open type feature available in EduTyping, but you can use any word, processing software and you challenge them to see who can finish the whole list in a set amount of time, and you know you can give out different prizes based on who the fastest and you don’t even have to turn it into a competition. You can just put this in as a custom assignment for them.
Next is called Typing Hangman, another one of my favorites, students love this. So basically, the game is played just like the traditional game hangman. So you would put a word and the blanks on the board in front of the class and then what students have to do is if they’re guessing a letter, they also have to tell you what finger on the keyboard is used to strike that letter. So, for example, if the student guessed the letter A, they would respond by saying A, left pinky, because that’s the finger that’s used to hit the A key. So again, a real fun activity, you can have students do that in small groups or you can do that with the entire class.
Letters to Our Servicemen and Women
And then finally, this one here I think is very appropriate for this time of year and basically allows you to give thanks to our armed servicemen. So basically, students will compose an actual letter to an individual serviceman or woman, or it can go out to a troop or just address it generally. It could be to the Marines or Army, but basically they print the letter, they sign the letter. I used to do this in my classroom when I was teaching, I taught keyboarding for approximately 17 years at the high school and middle school level, and you wouldn’t believe the response that students get from the armed servicemen and women from around the country. They really appreciate these letters, especially during the holidays, those that are overseas or serving active duty, who are away from their families at Thanksgiving and the holiday season. So it really means a lot to them.
So I’ll be back next week at 4:15 live on Thursday. Today we are, we are broadcasting a day before Thanksgiving for obvious reasons we’ll all be home with our families tomorrow, so I hope everybody has a great Thanksgiving and please tune in next week at 4:15 at #AskEduTyping. And you can also submit your questions and we will try to get back to you live, but if we’re not successful with that we do get back to everybody with a response and you can reach us through Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody take care!