Thursday, May 30, 2013

K is for Keyboard Spelling Mat

Years ago, I attended a hands-on make and take teacher workshop. I was digging through stored teacher materials in my closet a couple months ago when I came across an oversized keyboard. I created the keyboard at the workshop during my first year of teaching. This keyboard was kept in the spelling center in my classroom when I taught at public school.

It was only natural for me to utilize the keyboard with Alyssa when she was a baby and toddler.
I stated a letter sound and she identified the letter.
Matching tossed letters to the letter on the keyboard
Time Flies By . . . 
I recently posted my Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 3 review. Click on the link to read it. The author encourages curricula users to think of their own creative ideas for spelling and reading practice. I couldn't resist using this resource yet again with my five-year-old daughter. I think she remembered it because she was very eager and happy when she saw it on her assignment list. One of Alyssa's frequent spelling activities was to spell ten of her words using the keyboard. I gave her a colorful hand flyswatter just for fun. She would read the word, spell it by swatting letters, and then use the spelling word in a sentence. Other days, I would announce the word and she would see how fast she could spell each word. A timer was used to track how long it took her to spell all of the words.
Alyssa likes to put a space after each spelling word.
How I Made the Oversized Keyboard
Even though this activity was created a long time ago, I remember the materials and the general method for its creation. It's very simple for anyone to make with a few items.
1.) First, purchase a vinyl tablecloth with a backing (a brightly colored shower curtain would work too).
2.) A permanent Sharpie marker was used to create the letters and keys on the keyboard on the tablecloth. I believe a thick marker was used. I wrote each letter and used the QWERTY keyboard which was most popular at the school.
3.) Decide what your child will use to swat or "type" the letters.
4.) Choose 3-20 spelling words depending on the age or grade level of your child adapting to meet their abilities.
5.) You child can begin spelling words in a hands-on way.

P.S. Include the number keys so that you can also practice number recognition or early math skills with younger children.

Ways to Use the Keyboard
I used the keyboard when Alyssa was younger for a variety of activities. I know that I won't remember all the activities we completed, but here are a few to get you started.
  • Alphabet Identification or Recognition
               Hop to the Letter
               Swat the Letter
               Toss a Bean Bag to the Letter
  • Alphabetic Principle and Fluency - Sing and Swat ABC's
  • Put Words in Alphabetical Order on the Keyboard
  • Match the Letter (magnetic, paper, wood, plastic, puzzle piece, scrabble tiles, foam bath letters, etc.)
  • Identify the Letter That Makes a Particular Sound
  • Missing Letters - Which letter comes before, after, or in between a certain letter
  • Spelling Family Names, Sight, Color, Thematic or Unit Study Words, and Number Words
  • Spelling More Advanced Words (All Levels and Any Words)
  • Familiarize the Child with Keyboard
How would you use this keyboard? 

Alternative Spelling Keyboards
  1. Computer Keyboard Spelling (Obviously)
  2. Broken Keyboards - I cut an old keyboard from the cord and covered the wired end with tape.
  3. Kiki Creates a Simplified Felt Keyboard - This is cute!
  4. Keyboard Printable File Folder Activity
               Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
                        Keyboard Coded Sight Words
               Making Learning Fun
                        Computer Name Spelling and Sight Word Spelling
               Marcias Lesson Links
               Teach Net Keyboard
               Typing for Children
               Primarily Speaking
               Mrs. Pohlmeyer's Archived Files - Keyboard Template

You can find a keyboard printable at one of the websites above. Just print one off and glue to the inside of a file folder. You may want to use a recording sheet for accountability - it just depends on your child and teaching style. I do not use one because I can hear Alyssa practice. However, I did use one in the classroom.

Do you have a printable keyboard template or activity? 
Please contact me or leave a comment with your website address so that I can add you to the list. 

Are you looking for more spelling resources? Be sure to check out my post mentioning my top ten spelling resources for additional help.

Thank you for visiting A Learning Journey! Please include a link to this post if you decide to use or recreate this activity. It would be greatly appreciated! Make sure you come back and let me know that you tried it, because I would love to see your keyboards. Mine was very basic using the supplies given to me at a workshop without planning or preparation. It was also done VERY quickly as we only had a few minutes at each station. I enjoy seeing other creative activities or alternatives.

I will link this post up at Montessori MondayTeach Beside Me: Share it SaturdayThree Boys and a Dog: Homeschool on the Cheap, Hearts for Home Blog HopTitus 2 Tuesdays123 Homeschool 4 Me TGIF Linky Party (on Saturday)Mama to 4 Blessings: Link and LearnBlogging Through the AlphabetI Can Teach My Child: Show-and-Share SaturdayWomen Living Well WednesdaysFrugal Family 2013, and Raising Homemaker's Homemaking Link-Up.
Montessori Monday Teach Beside Me3 Boys and a DogPhotobucket125 Titus 2 Tuesday ButtonTGIF Linky Party hosted by 123Homeschool4MeICanTeachMyChild.comFrugal Family 2013


  1. Thanks for linking up with us on the Hearts for Home Blog Hop- This is an awesome idea!

  2. Great idea! I'll have to see what materials I already have....