I teach 4th grade and have always found the lack of typing skills to be a huge issue in the way of integrating technology. I'm really fired up about using wikis and blogs with my students though. Does anyone have any suggestions for overcoming the typing problem or for types of progects to use with my kids. What I have in mind so far is to convert the on-line version of my weekly newsletter to a blog and have a couple of kids comment on events described in each issue. Another project I plan is to try is the group wiki writing project. I'm open to any ideas you might have.

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What I found was that handwriting was about as much an issue with my kids as typing was. By focusing on having them push through the typing barrier though (via practice, practice, practice), so much more is opened up to them than handwriting. It was worth it. They write more happily in the end because word processors lets them edit easier and add so many neat bells and whistles such as images, sound files, links, video files, etc. By the way, we save paper by publishing not to print form but to webpage format (to CD-ROMs and/or server). In a computer limited classroom this might be hard though. We have a computer per student, so technology is very easy to integrate.
I'd "demand" they learn how to type correctly before they start on a project. Most of my kids grades 4-6 are excellent typists and the district has several typing tutors on the computers. If not, the kids use this http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/ and love it.

Start a small project with those who can type and let them work on it while others practice their typing---soon everybody will be up to speed. Good Luck, N.
Hi. I've encountered the exact same problem with my fourth graders. There's so much to do with them, but their typing skills definitely get in the way. We've been using a new typing program in our district called "Type to Learn" and the kids absolutely love it. It's fun and helpful. I have seen improvement in their skills since they've been using it. Maybe something like that would help!
Same problem at our school. ~850 kids. We solve it by starting the kids typing in Kindergarten. They come in 30 minutes each week. Initially, they type 10 minutes on a kiddie typing program. after the first month of school, we begin typing a few vocabulary words in MS word. By alternating brief typing lessons with real world typing in Word each week, we have them familiar with the keyboard.

They will type and print the following short letters during the school year:
Happy Halloween
Happy Thanksgiving
Happy Holidays
Happy Valentine's Day
Happy Spring Break
Happy Mothers' Day.
Happy Father's Day.

Each of those letters will include a sentence or two and their name at the bottom.
In between those vacations they will type short lists of spelling / vocab words.

First graders and on up will build on these skills and by Fourth grade we have real typists on our hands and we can do some real writing projects.

There's just no substitute for consistent regular typing practice for building skills.



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