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Ways to Utilize Word Processors
1. Create a newspaper for any time period in history.
Example: Pretend you are living during the colonial times, Civil War times, Mayan times, or any time you are studying and create all the news articles you normally see in today's paper but adapt them to the things that are applicable to that time period.
2. Create a progressive story.
Example: Let one child begin a story and as the center groups change, have the next person add the next part and so on until the story is completed. If you have three groups rotate through your centers, give the first person the beginning of the story, the next child the middle and the third child the ending. Each day you should end up with one completed story.
3. Proofread and correct English sentences.
Example: Have on the computer screen the sentences that are missing punctuation marks, correct capitalization, or incorrect quotation marks. Have the students correct the sentences and, depending on the grade level you teach, have them type the rule for the corrections they made.
4. Read to find the parts of speech.
Example: Have sentences, paragraphs, or stories typed in on a template. Have the students change the color of all the nouns to red, verbs to blue, adverbs to yellow, etc. If you don't have a color printer, use bold, underline, and italic styles instead of the colors.
5. Compare and contrast the types of sentences.
Example: Have a story typed on a template. Have the children color code the sentences according to color codes for imperative, declarative, interrogative, and exclamatory sentences. Once again, use the bold, underline, and italic styles if you don't have color printers.
6. Have students create a dialog for a center activity.
Example: Have the class create a dialog, then during center time, have the students place quotation marks where they belong. You could have them color them to stand out and even type in the rule for using the quotation marks as they did.
7. Sequence the itinerary for trips.
Example: Prepare an agenda for an imaginary voyage to one of the planets, foreign countries, or states you are studying. You could even take an imaginary trip through the body system you are studying and explain the paths taken throughout that system.
8. Create poems after a poetry unit.
Example: Create poetry and draw or insert clipart to match what the child has created. Highlight and color the rhyming words.
9. Scrambled stories
Example: For more proficient students, use the cut and paste feature by having a scrambled story on a template. Invite the students to cut and paste the story into the correct sequence.
10. Document journeys on simulation software.
Example: Put two computers together. Have one child work on Oregon Trail, Yukon Trail, Pilgrim Quest, or one of the other pieces of simulation software. Have the other child keep a log on the word processor to record the decisions made on the way to their destination.
11. Draw or utilize map clipart to check for understanding of geography.
Example: Insert one of the many maps from ClarisWorks and have the students label the countries that have been studied. * Tip: Insert the maps in the draw mode. Then, click on the "A" in the tools panel and type in the name of the country or continent. If you work in the draw mode, you can move the labels from one spot to the other.
12. Rewrite the rules for your subject area.
Example: Have the students write their rules for finding answers to different types of math problems. (How to find the GCF or LCM; steps for averaging, steps for division)
13. Explain the life cycles of different animals.
Example: Analyze and explain the stages of the life cycle of a butterfly, frog, or any other animal you are studying.
14. Write descriptive paragraphs.
Example: After a discussion of an author's writing style, an historical battle, a tornado, or checks and balances system of our government, have the students write a description of what was learned. This is a great way to check for understanding.
15. Compare and contrast whatever has been learned.
Example: Prepare a comparison of the differences between the political parties in an upcoming election, the differences and similarities between the weather in the arid and humid areas of the United States, the composition of the animal and plant cells. You will be able to easily see the level of understanding after reading these.
16. Prepare character sketches.
Example: Have the students write descriptions of the main characters in their books. Be sure to have them compare the characters about whom they are reading to themselves to ensure they are using some higher order thinking skills.
17. Write a campaign speech.
Example: Imagine what it would be like to run for the office of their choice and then write a speech to persuade the voters to cast their vote for them.
18. Write an entry for the want ad section of the newspaper.
Example: After a study of careers, have the students write a want ad describing the job they want. Then, have them write a resume that would make them a prime candidate for the job they described.
19. Create menus.
Example: Prepare a menu for the day or week using the proper proportions of nutrients according to the food pyramid.
20. Apply for a patent.
Example: Write an application for a patent for the new invention that your students invent. Of course, your students should either build, draw, or construct the invention to extend their learning.