We did it. We wrapped up the research projects a few weeks ago (envision happy dance), and the papers even had a bibliography attached to each one.
Going through the notetaking and paper writing process with my 4th graders was a challenge. Getting them to format the papers correctly was excruciating. If your child is at an age where he is beginning to type documents for school, there are 6 word processing functions that I find make editing and publishing documents a whole lot easier.
- Designate one folder where a student saves his documents all the time. My students have a dedicated computer they use in the classroom. There is a folder with their name on the desktop of their assigned computer. Every document a student types is saved into the same folder. Using the Save As feature, I show them how to navigate to their folder.
- Parents, set up a folder for your child’s writing assignments ONLY on your home computer. Teach your child how to save in the same place every time.
- I also recommend setting up a naming system. In my class, students always save documents as their name followed by key words from the project (TheRoomMom Barbie Research or TheRoomMom Aslan Essay).
- Double space the entire document at one time. Students like to type a little, then play with formatting, then have mismatched spacing and fonts. After the entire document is finished, change the spacing at one time. I recommend the Select All function to highlight the entire document, then choose the double space (2.0) line spacing.
- Always use the Tab button to indent when starting a paragraph. When students use the space bar, words are out of alignment and look messy. I dislike messy.
Ctrl+c (copy), Ctrl+x (cut), Ctrl+v (paste)
- These are the 3 most valuable shortcut keys in my opinion. Rather than messing with right clicking which inevitably ends up de-highlighting text, I teach my students these 3 shortcuts. I also use these shortcut keys for copying, cutting, and pasting images.
- This is a teacher’s best friend. If students have words jumping all over the page, turn on the formatting tool. It shows all the background buttons a student has pushed in the document. If a student pressed the space bar a thousand times to move something to the center, it shows little dots. If a student hit enter multiple times, a paragraph symbol (backwards looking P shows up). If a student hit the tab button, an arrow appears. I can fix a lot of funky formatting in a student’s document by turning on the formatting key.
- And finally, when all else fails, hit the counterclockwise arrow and undo the most recent typing!
What is your best keyboarding or formatting tip for students?