Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learn to Type -- MORE Keyboarding suggestions

How is your Typing? Want to learn more? Take a look at these great 'learn to type' websites and then visit my post from May 30th to find fun games to practice what you have learned. 

One of the Common Core standards that 3rd and 4th grade students will be tested on soon will be their ability to answer an essay question on the computer; and that will mean needing the ability to keyboard/type with speed and accuracy. 

The three websites listed here will teach the keyboard one row at a time, and they keep track of the WPM so you can track progress and see where you need to improve. 

1. This is Dance Mat Typing  See my keyboarding blog post from May 30, 2013 for more on this site, and other keyboarding practice websites.  

How does it work?
Practice each lesson over and over to at least get all three stars. It really doesn't take much to learn, a few minutes a day for one to two weeks and you will be a pro!
Using this program, your typing speed will reach 10 to 12 words per minute rather quickly. 

3. Sense - Typing Tutor

Choose lessons to begin typing. Watch the video tutorials, then practice keyboarding, one row at a time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Sisters Grimm

Some of our second grade girls challenged themselves to begin reading harder chapter books this spring. The series they choose is Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley. So far, I've only read the first one, Sisters Grimm: Fairytale Detectives, which introduces the sisters Daphne and Sabrina who are orphans sent to live with a grandmother they didn't even know they had!

Granny Relda lives in the world of the Everafters where things are never quite what they seem. Here the girls find out their connection to the famous Grimm Brothers and meet all sorts of fairy tale characters. As with any good fairy tale, some are good and some are very bad!

Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley has a link with a Reading Guide - PDF file. Also at this site is loads more information to explore about each of the books in the series.

The second grade readers finished book three, and now move to the public library for summer reading to finish the series.

Book Nine, Council of Mirrors is the final book in the series.

I tried to upload a video of a student giving her book report, but no instead is the video trailer by Michael Buckley instead. Sorry, girls!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Winning Entry = New book for our school library

Here is what I found today when I opened up my email.
Dear Miss Diann,
Congratulations! You won a copy of Ahmet Zappa's book "Because I'm Your Dad" from my blog.
Erik A.K.A. This KidReviews Books 

Erik bills himself as Erik the Great in his email, which might sound like bragging, but after reading his blog for several months now, I have to agree with him - he is GREAT!  This is one clever 11 year old boy who just loves to read, and to share his thoughts about what he is reading through a blog ever since he was 9 years old. Click the links above to read more about Erik and find out what he is reading right now. It will surprise and delight you!

I have know a number of very good readers through my work leading literature circles and helping with the gifted programs the school district has had over the years. What Erik is doing on his blog is exactly the kind of effort that I know would appeal to those same students. Kids who love to read and seem to consume books, just naturally want to share and talk about what they are reading. I wish my own children would have had this opportunity when they were in elementary and middle school.

So, thanks to Erik, a brand new book that celebrates fathers is on its way to Spooner Elementary straight from the publisher. Too bad this is our last week of school and students will have to wait until they come back in the Fall to enjoy it!