Category: Writing

Monday Freebies #20: Make a Holiday Card

This year more than any before, classroom budgets have been cut making it more difficult than ever to equip the education of our children with quality teaching materials. I understand that. I teach K-8. Because of that, I’ve decided to give the lesson plans my publisher sells in the Technology Toolkit (110 Lesson Plans that I use in my classroom to integrate technology into core units of inquiry while ensuring a fun, age-appropriate, developmentally-appropriate experience for students) for FREE. To be sure you don’t miss any of these:

…and start each week off with a fully-adaptable K-8 lesson that includes step-by-step directions as well as relevant ISTE national standards, tie-ins, extensions, troubleshooting and more. Eventually, you’ll get the entire Technology Toolkit book. If you can’t wait, you can purchase the curriculum here.

I love giving my material away for free. If everyone did, we would reach true equity in international education.

#20: How to Make a Card for Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas

Kindergarten-2nd Grade

Throughout the year, offer opportunities for students to reinforce learned skills by creating holiday cards geared toward whichever holiday is occurring. They will be excited and work hard to remember how to use old skills so they can create the festive card. Limit your assistance as you challenge them to draw on their problem-solving skills. Always use skills (i.e., paint brush, pencil tool, backgrounds, spray can, etc.) that have been learned in prior lessons.


word summative

MS Word for Grades 2-5

It’s all in the sophistication. Second graders do less and not quite as well. Fifth graders do a lot, much better. This uses MS Word, takes about thirty minutes:

  • If this is the first time your child is seeing MS Word, review the parts–toolbars, menu bar, canvas, most common keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+P for print, Ctrl+S for save, Ctrl+Z for undo).Sample MS Doc--2nd Grade
  • Add a heading (name and date–use Shift+Alt+D for the date). Default is left-aligned, Times New Roman, size 12. Leave those as they are. We’ll play with them later.
  • Push enter twice and write a story, a letter–whatever is a good topic for summer. A couple of sentences for second grade is fine, but 5-10 for fifth grade.
  • Check spelling with the little red squiggly lines. Right click and clear them by selecting the correct spelling.
  • Check grammar with the green squiggles. These require adjudication. I find them wrong about 50% of the time
  • Pick five words (less for second grade) and change the font size from 12. Pick words that would benefit by a larger appearance–like the words Christmas or Bump in the samples–you get the idea. (more…)

Tech Tip #50: The Easiest Way to Outline

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

Q: My fifth graders are learning outlining in the classroom. Is there an easy way to tie that into technology?

A: Outlining can’t be easier than doing it in Word. Here’s what you do:

  • Select the Numbered List or the Bullet List in MS Word. MS Word 2010 even lets you select the style up front. MS Word 2003–it’s a bit more complicated
  • Your first bullet or number appears on the screen. Type your item
  • Push enter to add another number or bullet
  • To create a subpoint, push tab after you’ve pushed enter to start the next bullet/number
  • To push a subpoint up a level, push Shift+tab after you’ve pushed enter for the next bullet/number


#36: My First Report

Students type a report for their class on one of their units of inquiry (i.e., animals) using MS Word. Use this lesson to introduce MS Word, margins, page breaks, centering, fonts. Show students how to add pictures from the internet (using copy-paste), from the computer (using insert). Takes a few classes, depending upon how long the report is (more…)