Lesson at a Glance

This supplementary lesson is targeted to classrooms in which students are inexperienced in using word processing software. Students learn about good file saving practices in preparation for typing their first drafts. Students learn to upload their typed documents to the Online Classroom.

Note: This lesson should be implemented at a time that is appropriate for your students. In
some cases, it will make sense to introduce the lesson in Step 4, once students have some
draft material to save.

Prep & Tech

Technology: LCD projector, laptop, Internet access or Writing Editorials CD, student computers with Internet access
Other Materials: Student folders, writers’ notebooks, your Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a) or a draft paragraph written on paper for Teacher Model

Limited Tech Options

This supplementary lesson requires student computers. It is not appropriate for a limited tech
environment. If there are a limited number of computers, try the following options:

  1. Writer’s Work Time: Instead of instructing students to type their drafts in a word processing document individually, instruct them to type with a partner. One student can read the text aloud while the other student types. Students can use the activity as another opportunity for proofreading.


Students will use a word processing program to begin a draft of their editorials for uploading to the Online Classroom.

Focusing Question

How can the computer help you with real world writing?

Mini Lesson (15 min)

Show lesson visuals, Use the Computer.

Explain to students that in the real world, writers use computers to compose pieces that will be
published. Explain that some writers find it useful to write their first drafts on paper, while others start at the computer.

Think aloud about how writing your piece on paper and writing on the computer are different
easier to revise and edit on a computer, and being able to share your thoughts with other peopleprocesses. Explain the benefits of transferring your writing to the computer, including how it is around the city, the country and even around the world.

Remind students about the Writing Matters online publishing tool, explaining the importance of getting their editorials on the computer to get them ready for publishing in the class ezine.

Teacher Model

  1. Model how to use Microsoft Word to input the body of your editorial using the computer/LCD projector.
  2. Model how to save your document and title it using a date in the title. Show students where you want them to save their documents. Some suggestions include in the “My Documents” or on the “Desktop.” Advise students who need additional help to view DD’s e-Tutorial: File Saving, found in Step 4 of the Online Classroom.
  3. Show students how to resave their drafts after each paragraph they type.
  4. If your students already know the basics, use this time to demonstrate the spelling and grammar check. Advise students who need additional help to view DD’s e-Tutorial: Spelling and Grammar Check, found in Step 6 of the Online Classroom.
  5. If your students are ready for more advanced word processing skills, advise them to view DD’s e-Tutorial: Cutting and Pasting, found in Step 5 of the Online Classroom.
  6. Demonstrate how to save your own work to Step 4 in the Online Classroom to the assignment called Submit Your First Draft Editorial.

Preparing for Writer’s Work Time

Ask students to:

  1. Open Microsoft Word documents.
  2. Save their documents in the specified location with appropriate titles and dates.
  3. Begin typing their editorials and periodically save their documents.
  4. Once they have completed typing their body paragraphs, go to Step 4 in the Online Classroom to submit their documents to the assignment, Submit Your First Draft Editorial.

Writer’s Work Time (20 min)

Students work individually to begin typing materials for the editorial drafts in Microsoft Word documents. They begin by naming and saving their documents. When there are five minutes remaining in Writer’s Work Time, students should resave their documents on their computers. If the lesson takes place once students are working on their first drafts, they should submit and store them in Step 4 of the Online Classroom. Circulate among the students, encouraging them to type carefully and save often.

Individual conferences: Check in with students to see whether their typing is accurate. Make sure
that they are using standard writing conventions and reading over their work.

Differentiated Instruction Strategies

  1. Difficulty typing? Instruct students who have difficulty using Microsoft Word to read and listen to DD’s e-Tutorial: Spelling and Grammar Check, found in Step 6 of the Online Classroom, to better understand the functions of Microsoft Word.
  2. Struggling to write? Encourage students who have been working together to write their editorials to continue collaborating on typing. These students can work in pairs. One student can read his or her Editorial Organizer (Handout 3.1a) to the other student while he or she types. If there are three students in a guided writing group, instruct the third student to check for typing mistakes on the computer screen.
  3. Ready for more? Instruct students who complete the typing assignment early to use the thesaurus function to begin to revise their writing. These students may also help other students by reading their editorials aloud, sentence by sentence, to facilitate typing. Students may also visit the Study Center for additional activities such as Opinion Space and Persuade Me.

Sharing and Lesson Summary (10 min)

Reconvene the class. Review how to submit work to the Online Classroom and ask for questions related to this process. Discuss with students what they learned about their writing while typing their editorials on the computer.


Check the writing that students submitted in the Online Classroom. Assess where they are in the drafting process and determine whether or not their computer skills might be slowing down their ability to get their material into a document. Depending on how far students are in the drafting process, you may or may not need to spend additional time on typing.

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