Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ode to Microsoft Word

Don't know if it's just in Virginia, but every class I go into seems to use the 4-square graphic organizer template for writing down the main idea and four supporting ideas.  It looks like a 2 x 2 grid with a little square in the center for placing the starting, main idea.  Very often teachers tell me that their students write so illegibly in the template that they can't even read their own writing.

Hmmm.  We can suggest Inspiration software for helping students with this problem, plus many other educational software products.  Hmmm.  What can the students use at home to visually outline their ideas?

Enter our humble Microsoft Word program, which has been sitting there trying to get noticed while we thought about other software we'd have to locate at school or--gasp--purchase with shrinking funds.  Open a new document, insert a 2 x 2 Table, make the four squares of the table really big, insert a text box in the middle for the main idea and you're done.  Now, the text box might cover up some words in the bottom right square, but you can play with that and figure it all out.  If you show the student how to figure it out, too, then they can do this at home.

If you have some quick, easy ideas for helping students show what they know, please send them along.

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