from Educators' eZine
I love MS Word. It’s one of the few programs that has actually changed the way I teach. The following are the top 10 ways I use this powerful software in the classroom.
Note: Word offers excellent help when you need to learn a new skill or review an old skill. And you don’t even have to go to the Help pull-down menu. Instead, simply press the “F1” function key on your keyboard and a search box will appear — along with the friendly “Mr. PaperClip” assistant. Type the appropriate search term into the search box and be prepared to read some easy-to-follow explanations. Soon you will feel like a real computer pro. Oh, and do remember to put Mr. PaperClip to sleep when you’re done. Just right-click him and select “Hide.” He’ll need the rest.
- Compose original work. Brochures, newsletters, illustrated stories, business plans, and editorials: You name it, you can create it with Microsoft Word. Print and publish final drafts or post them to your school’s Web site.
- Insert comments and communicate with your students electronically. During the drafting and revising phases of the writing process, provide feedback to your young authors or colleagues without wasting a drop of ink or a single sheet of paper.
- Check readability. Scan or download an article, save it as a Word document, and then check the Flesch-Kincaid readability level. Make sure it’s appropriate for your kids and/or challenge your students by allowing them to check their own writing. In case you were wondering, this list is appropriate for ninth grade and above.
- Eliminate busywork. Use Mail-Merge, Find and Replace, Send To, the Formatting Paintbrush, AutoSummarize, Style templates, and more to update old documents, consolidate looks, replicate lessons, and better reach target audiences. Save time, energy, and trees; as they say, “work smarter not harder!”
- Trackchanges. As we all know, writing evolves. Show your students how their work changes throughout the writing process. From rough draft to final product, in portfolios or on the wall, see how collaboration and hard work pay off.
- Reformat documents. Change fonts and margins, delete and/or add images and text. Customize documents to better meet individual and group learner needs.
- Support language and mechanics instruction. When working with students, change, save, and protect spelling and grammar options. Give peer editors and authors tools selectively depending on the purpose of the activity.
- Spice up documents by inserting attention-grabbing graphics. Include tables, visual organizers, images, spreadsheets, AutoShapes, animated objects, symbols, and more. Like an advertiser, get your meaning across, whatever it takes.
- Make your documents interactive. Insert hyperlinks to Web sites, multimedia presentations, and other documents, and/or use links to navigate within the original piece.
- Build your own Web page. Save your Word documents as .html files and eliminate the need to buy and learn Web authoring software.