Category: Writing

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

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#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…)

Is Handwriting Like Camera Film–So Last Generation

Another problem for cursive in schools: Common Core is ‘silent’ on it, according to the Alliance for Excellence in Education. That’s like the Fat Lady warming up, but not sure when she’ll be performing.

Studies show one in three children struggle with handwriting. I’d guess more, seeing it first hand as a teacher. Sound bad? Consider another study shows that one in five parents say they last penned a letter more than a year ago.

Let’s look at the facts. Students hand-write badly, and don’t use it much when they grow up (think about yourself. How often do you write a long hand letter?). Really, why is handwriting important in this day of keyboards, PDAs, smart phones, spellcheck, word processing? I start students on MS Word in second grade, about the same time their teacher is beginning cursive. Teach kids the rudiments and turn them over to the tech teacher for keyboarding.

I searched for reasons why I was wrong. Here’s what I found:

  • 1 in 10 Americans are endangered by the poor handwriting ofHandwritingCursiveCapDir physicians.
  • citizens miss out on $95,000,000 in tax refunds because the taxman can’t read their handwriting
  • Poor handwriting costs businesses $200,000,000 in time and money that result in confused and inefficient employees, phone calls made to wrong numbers, and letters delivered to incorrect addresses.

Read on:

Schools: Less cursive, more keyboarding

BROWNSBURG, Ind., Aug. 28 (UPI) —

Officials in an Indiana school district said cursive writing lessons will be scaled down this year in favor of computer keyboarding.

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