Earlier this week, at Malcolm X, I had the pleasure of teaching Brittany Pudlowski’s 3rd graders to self-asses their typing skills. For the past several weeks her students have been using our district-software, Typing Club, to systematically learn typing. I visited her class to help them know what the typing goals are for the end of 3rd grade and give them a way to gauge their progress. You may be wondering, “What is pleasurable about taking a Typing Test?” My hope was to give them a goal to work for while instilling a growth mindset around their current skills. While typing speed is certainly not the main emphasis of of any grade-level’s technology integration, having strong typing skills allows students to more efficiently use and create work on computers with far less frustration.
With students gathered on the rug, I briefly discussed the importance of setting goals for yourself and pushing yourself to try new things. I explained that the end of year goal for 3rd graders in typing is 10 wpm with 90% accuracy and we briefly talked about what words per minute means. However, the true ‘lesson’ of my lesson was showcased after showing this video of Klay Thompson shooting free throws in the 2016 All Star 3-point Competition. A student explained how one scores 3-pointers in basketball for others who weren’t familiar with the game, and then I posed a question for them to consider as they watched: What does Klay do when he misses a shot? A few had predictions which I let them share, but mostly, they were eager to watch thevideo.
After we watched, I explained that he won that year, making him the best 3-point shooter in the world at that time. Students had a lot to say. Their comments were mostly similar, “When he missed he just kept going,” and “He only missed a few, but he never stopped.” However one boy’s comments really stuck with me, “When he missed, he didn’t think about how he had missed. If he had, he would have lost. He won because he never thought about losing.”
He brilliantly summed up exactly why I showed this video before having students take a typing test. Having a growth mindset of achieving words per minute isn’t a whole lot different from baskets per minute. Before sending them back to their seats to login, I reminded them that it’s only March, so they have until June to try to meet the 3rd grade goal. Thanks to Barb Wenger, 1st grade teacher at Jefferson, we have a custom-made typing test for 3rd-5th graders which includes a paragraph about Berkeley.
A hush fell across the room as students began the test, with the clip clip clip of fingers on keys ringing in the air.
As I walked around the room, students occasionally got frustrated at their errors showing up in red. To each, I whispered in their ears, “What would Klay do?” which helped refocus them. I encouraged each student to try the test again in a month, after they had more time to practice. Many had already reached the 3rd grade typing goals and others left confident that they’d get there in the coming months.
– Allison Krasnow, Instructional Technology Coordinator