Bowman: 7th Grade Intro. to Computers

7th Grade:

Name of class: Intro. to Computers

Teacher: Linda Bowman (also taught by Julie Gneiting)

Course length: 12 weeks (one trimester)

Class focus: keyboarding (building speed and accuracy), word-processing (review and creating tables, working with objects), and PowerPoint (creating and delivering a presentation)

Software used: UltraKey for keyboarding, Microsoft Office 2007 Word for word-processing and PowerPoint for presentations.

Grading :  includes keyboarding (lessons, timings, techniques and work habits), word-processing (a review presentation and two assignments on new material), and presentations (PowerPoint group project: groups create, edit, and deliver a presentation based on a given theme).  All grades are point-based.

Please note: although the presentations are done in pairs (word-processing) and groups (PowerPoint), students are graded only on individual work.  Each student is assigned particular subjects, sub-topics, etc.

Answers to likely questions:

Do all students have to attain the same level of speed and accuracy?

No, I can–and do–adjust levels individually.  I base levels on results in the first few weeks.  I will make them high enough to be challenging, but will also lower levels as needed–based on my analysis of student results.

Why are students not allowed to fix their errors in UltraKey (keyboarding)?

If I allow student to edit their errors, that becomes their focus.  I want them to focus on avoiding errors in the first place.


Will students use the internet in this class?

Seventh grade students do research and obtain graphics for projects on/from the internet.  If a student does not have internet permission (as okayed by parents during registration), they will not be allowed to use the internet in class. Students are required to use content filters and to check for license to use.

Do seventh grade students review content taught in the sixth grade course?

Because a student may have had the sixth grade course first trimester of one year and last trimester of the following year forseventh grade, I have all students repeat the lessons in UltraKey.  Levels will be higher than the previous year as the main challenge for seventh grade students is to increase speed and accuracy. To review word-processing concepts taught to the students in the sixth grade course, I assign pairs of seventh grade students a word-processing topic and have them present the concept to the class.  This also allows them a preliminary chance to develop oral presentation skills before having to present their PowerPoint presentation at the end of the trimester.

If my son or daughter has not previously had a keyboarding class, will he/she do okay in the seventh grade class?

Since I have all seventh grade students repeat the lessons in UltraKey, students who have not previously had keyboarding will learn everything they would have learned in sixth grade.  I usually allow these students extra time to complete the lessons/timings, meaning that most of them do not have to do Round 2.

Could you explain Round 1 and Round 2?

Students–in keyboarding–do all the lessons and timings in UltraKey at a set level of speed and accuracy.  This is Round 1.  For Round 2, students are assigned a new, higher (more challenging) level and redo all skill checks.  Since students do not do lessons on round 2, they are assigned to do a set of weekly pattern drills ( chain and substitution drills ).

Chain and Substitution drills

Criteria: Assigned in sets of five per week. Must be passed at at least 97% accuracy; speed does not matter.

What word-processing skills do students learn?

Students (presenting in pairs) review concepts learned in sixth grade. There are also two new word-processing assignments: creating and modifying tables and working with graphic objects.

Can any work be done at home?

Most work–especially at the beginning of the course–can not be done at home.  However,  the chain and substitution drills can be typed up at home (using word-processing software).  As necessary, I give students written copies of the drills so that they can do them at home. Because they can fix their errors at home (not allowed in UltraKey), they must have 100% accuracy. These drills can be submitted as a print-out, via email ( or on a USB drive.

Students can work on their word-processing review assignments and PowerPoint projects at home, if they have the appropriate software.  Be advised, however, that if you have a newer version at home, you will want to save the document in RTF (rich text format)or as an earlier version compatible with Microsoft Office 2007. Otherwise, your student might not be able to open it here.

Are students allowed to choose their own partners/group members?

I usually allow this–although in real work life settings that is usually not a possibility. I think it’s probably best to get students used to working in a group with people they know well. However, if a student’s behavior with or towards other students has been problematical, I will restrict who can be in a group together.