Friday, March 21, 2014

Common Core & Keyboarding Skills

Common Core & Keyboarding Skills

This 15 - 20 minute CUE Tips session will offer a brief, yet comprehensive look at the options available to educators who need to rapidly, easily, and inexpensively improve student keyboarding skills. Come learn about various keyboarding instruction options and see how a Career and Technical Education NBCT teaches keyboarding in her classes.

Keyboarding has long been an essential 21st Century skill. With the advent of Common Core and Smarter Balanced Assessment requiring students to test online, this has become even more apparent. Keyboarding skills are necessary at an earlier age than ever before, necessitating inexpensive, high-quality, and easily accessible skill-building curriculum to train students. Web-based programs make the most sense in almost every classroom allowing ease of instruction and student management. Online keyboarding instruction can be implemented from elementary to adult level classes and offers an intrinsically motivating way to quickly build speed and accuracy while keyboarding.

Programs we use at Spurgeon Intermediate School

Keyboarding Online

I use their Keyboard Mastery full web-based keyboarding course, appropriate for secondary (intermediate and high school), as well as for adults, (used at a local community college). It is based on the Ellsworth Publishing’s renowned business technology textbooks series. The program allows complete monitoring of every keystroke, and can be modified fully by the instructor. Tech support emails immediately if you have an issue, and implements suggestions from instructors, such as exporting data, and migrating to HTML5 precluding the need to run Java. They also have a program for younger grades K-5. Additionally, they offer a free Office Suite curriculum. This program is very affordable, and is the program I use for my keyboarding instruction.


Typing Club

Typing Club promotes itself as a “free touch typing tutorial” and pledges to be free forever. Instructors may purchase upgrades which allow more management options such as multiple classes, and access to the grade book. But, the bottom line is the exceptional lessons are totally free. They just rolled out a school portal that I signed up for this past week, and it is wonderful! It is web-based through a browser, but it also is available through a Chrome app.


I was introduced to this wonderful online multi-user typing game by a dear colleague, Tim Byers at Villa Intermediate School in the Santa Ana Unified School District. Tim opens his classroom at lunch, and students pour in to challenge each other to a friendly game of Keyboarding Skills! Tim is the teacher I want to be when I grow up!

My only rule for my students, well, two rules, are:
Home Keys
No Potty Mouth when chatting or choosing an alias


Programs for Younger Students

BBC’s Dance Mat Typing
Free, fun, and very wacky!


K-12 Office Suite application curriculum. Several attendees at my session inquired about training for MS Office programs. The "Techno Kids" curriculum is wonderfully engaging, and age appropriate. Like NitroType, I learned about the Techno Kids curriculum from my colleague, Tim Byers!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Create a Video Game Using Tynker Coding

You have already learned how to program with the visual programming editor, Blockly, during's K-8 Computer Science Course. Every Spurgeon technology student has completed the entire course and received a certificate...great job!

This week, you will begin a coding project using Tynker. This is another web-based visual programming editor like Blockly and Scratch. You will group the coding blocks to create a game just like you did with your projects.

To begin your Tynker coding projects:
  1. Go to
  2. Click the green "Sing in" button at the top right of the screen.
  3. Click the blue "Student" button to sign in.
  4. Click the red "Sign in with Google" button.
  5. Click the blue "Accept" button.
  6. Enter the class code that Ms. Kline wrote on the board.
  7. Click sign in
  8. Click the green "Go to Class" button
  9. Click the orange "Start Lesson 1" button
  10. Don't forget to sign out when you are done!
You will now complete 8 Tynker lessons!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Doodle 4 Google 2014 Contest

If I Could Invent One Thing to Make The World A Better Place...

Try Out Google's Interactive Doodles!

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Flappy Birthday! Create Your Very Own "Flappy Bird" Game & Share it With Friends! is 1 Year Old!
Celebrate by creating your very own "Flappy Bird" game and share it with your friends!

Use the amazing Blockly coding skills you have developed over the past several weeks to create your own version of the popular video game, "Flappy Bird" and share your newly-created game with your friends.

After you have completed the lessons teaching you how to program your Flappy Bird game, you will create your own game, just the way you like it! When you are done, you will copy the URL of your game from the address bar in your browser. Paste that URL in Ms. Kline's Flappy Bird Google Doc so that your friends will be able to play your version of Flappy Bird, too.

You can also create your own Google Doc and share it with your friends. 

Don't forget to have fun!!

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