Where do you start when teaching word processing? I have my pet peeves when I look over students’ shoulders while they are keyboarding, like no spaces, or too many spaces. Don’t they see those green squiggly lines? There are word processing skills that are going to be important for the online SOL writing test; but there are going to be some that don’t work correctly. We seem to still be teaching students to indent paragraphs but the tab key doesn’t work in most blogging forms, and maybe not for the test either, so they have to space five times. What are the most important skills and where do I begin?
I’ve decided to tackle two things at a time. The first lesson is on cut and paste and word wrap. I found a good lesson in the Tammy Worcester’s book, 50 Quick & Easy Computer Activities for Kids. She has five mixed up riddles on a word document. Students read the riddles and learn to cut and paste so the riddles make sense. They enjoy this lesson.
Next I explained the difference between word wrap and hitting the return key, when to do each, and we practiced. I’m not certain the students grasped this. We wrote with word wrap, copied our text, pasted it several times and then played with changing the font size to see that the paragraph maintained it’s shape. We also used the Promethean board to highlight where the return key had to have been used on various pieces of writing: poetry, paragraphs with titles, etc. I’ll have to look for more practical ways to demonstrate this concept.
Teachers seem to be appreciative of this lesson. I loved it when I got to teach it twice with Mrs. Shultz. She has two language arts classes. She would interject things in the lesson that she knew her students would understand. This helped me improve the lesson for classes that followed.
Graphic from http://eduscapes.com