Using Word to Understand Primary Documents - Tech Learning

Using Word to Understand Primary Documents

Tip: Teach students the power that computers can give them for asking and answering important questions. There is a great deal of primary data online that can be easily used for inquiry-based lessons. There are many sources of primary documents that students can easily copy and paste and then manipulate to
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Teach students the power that computers can give them for asking and answering important questions. There is a great deal of primary data online that can be easily used for inquiry-based lessons.

There are many sources of primary documents that students can easily copy and paste and then manipulate to learn more. One example is:

  1. Go to American Folklore and select a story to use for this activity.
  2. Copy the story.
  3. Paste the text into a blank Word Processing Document.
  4. Once you have the digital text it is possible to do all types of manipulation of the text that can deepen learning.
  • Use the highlight function to highlight important ideas in the document.
  • Highlight different types of ideas using different colors.
  • Use the Primary document as a source for students to go backwards and create an outline.
  • Double or triple space the document and print it providing students with space to write their own comments and questions between the lines.
  • Use the "find" feature to search the document for specific words of interest. Highlight those words or change the text to a different color to help it to stand out.
  • Students highlight words that they do not understand and use the Insert Comment feature to put in the definition. When the cursor is rolled over the highlighted text the comment will appear with the definition that the student wrote.
  1. The easiest way to do this is to choose VIEW>TOOLBARS>REVIEWING. The toolbar which will appear below the standard toolbar allows a user to add comments and track changes.
  2. Highlight the text where you want the note to appear and click on the icon with the plus sign (or choose INSERT>COMMENT)
  3. In the window at the bottom of the screen type in your comment and click "close". Now when you hold your mouse over the word that is highlighted a comment will appear.

This can also be used for students who have a kinesthetic approach to learning who are struggling with reading. A teacher can highlight, copy and paste text from a story OR even type it into a Word Processing document. The text can be highlighted and the text enlarged or put into a different font.

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