I have a terrific new tool for my computer lab. When I was at Judi Wolf’s workshop last week, she mentioned a teacher who had made a keyboard out of a rug and my brain started working.
I contacted my friend who had made those super duper Zoombini banners for the lab and asked if he would make me a giant mat of a keyboard. It had to be big enough so that a kindergarten child could take off his or her shoes and then jump on it to spell out the log in info which is first name initial, last name, and then year of high school graduation. A typical network log in would be jsmith2021 and a three number password.
If you know anything about kids, you know that a lower case L and the number 1 are too similar to tell them apart, as well as the number zero and the letter O. And holding up a keyboard or pointing this info out is not much of a help when that child is sitting there with a small piece of paper with the log in and password typed on it.
With this giant mat, I can point to the zero and very clearly show how it is up there with the other numbers. I made the numbers all one color and the letters all another to help with the distinction. I only put the basic “extra” keys on that the younger kids would need. I figured no sense in confusing them with Del and Alt and others. I added the shapes for the kids who might be waiting to have their turn. Now I can say, “You will wait on deck on the purple circle!” This will also help with shape recognition.
The red yarn line is to differentiate the keys for the left and right hand. And the little “nubbies” on the F and J keys signify home row spots. Macs use a Return key and PCs use an Enter key which is easily switched out. I know this because I originally had the wrong word for my school’s platform.
I can’t wait for vacation to be over because I have one little boy in 1st grade who cannot remember how to spell his name despite my best efforts to teach him. I think if he “hops” it out a few times it just might help him to get it!