Tag Archives: word processing

Design a Fan Club Newsletter using Google Docs

Design a Newsletter
This week TechnoKids released a new, innovative computer project in which students express their passion for a topic. In TechnoNewsletter, students make a fan club newsletter with a series of articles designed for a target audience. They learn how to create a professional-looking publication using Google Docs or Microsoft Office.

Integrate Language Arts with Word Processing
The activities in TechnoNewsletter make learning essential word processing skills fun. Students write three articles about their topic including a Top 5 list that shares an insight, Word Search of topic related terminology, and an Opinion piece that argues a viewpoint. In TechnoNewsletter, students:

  1. Design a publication for a target audience
  2. Organize ideas using a planning sheet
  3. Write articles expressing a viewpoint
  4. Reference information sources with footnotes
  5. Revise writing to correct errors
  6. Share a publication in print or electronically

Engage student interest. Design a fan club newsletter. Teach essential word processing skills.

Make Learning Meaningful to Middle and High School Students
TechnoNewsletter integrates into curriculum. Students connect with a fan base of readers that are enthusiastic about a topic. The newsletter could be about a pop culture icon, school club, sports team, historical figure, travel destination, environmental issue, novel study, or scientific discovery.

Teach Valuable Word Processing Skills

Students learn important and advanced word processing skills, including:

  • format text to make it easy to read
  • list ideas using bullets or numbers
  • set line and paragraph spacing
  • copy, paste, and find text
  • crop, adjust color, and text wrap images
  • arrange content using a table and set cell properties
  • organize content using page breaks, page number, headers, and footers
  • adjust page layout
  • reference information sources

Challenging enrichment activities support learning. For example, students can co-author an article or engage in an online discussion.

View Samples for Inspiration

Included with the resources in this project are three sample newsletters. For teachers, the samples provide suggestions for curriculum integration. Students can study the samples to spark their own creative ideas.

  • TechnoStar – a fan club newsletter based on a fictional pop culture character
  • Amelia Earhart – a newsletter with a historical theme
  • Composting – an informative newsletter about an environmental issue

Critical Thinking and Picture Formatting

Your students will apply a picture style because it looks “cool” or fancy. Very little consideration is given to how the shape, border, or effects enhance the message in a publication. It is a good idea to encourage your students to think critically about how the options they select convey information to the viewer.

Today, I was working with a class of Grade 7 students on TechnoWonderland. We are working on Assignment 3 finishing up the poster activity. In case you have been following the blog, you might be thinking, “What! Are you still working on THAT?” Yes, we are. This is our FOURTH class. The first class had the students practice their login procedures and plan their amusement park. The next class had students add text to their poster. The third class was VERY SHORT because the morning assembly ran too late. And today’s class continued with the insertion and formatting of pictures, clip art, and shapes. The plan is to have the poster completed next week. It is important to accept that creating technology-based projects takes time.

UPDATE 3/27/2018: TechnoKids has updated TechnoWonderland for the LATEST version of Microsoft Office.

I studied my students’ screens at the beginning of class to determine their progress. I was once again reminded about how much students like “razzle dazzle“. They want to apply as many effects as possible to their pictures. Let’s face it; it is fun to make a picture glow with a bright green color. When your students are learning a technology skill it is important to celebrate the fact that they can achieve a particular task such as add a border, apply a shadow, or change the shape of an image. However, at some point, your expectation should shift to having students apply formatting techniques that enhance the message.

Picture Styles Group in Microsoft Word

Use commands from the Picture Styles group to format a picture.

At the start of class, I took five minutes for a direct instruction lesson about picture styles and formatting decision making. It was a “click and point” task. In other words, I demonstrated the feature on the screen and then students applied the technique to their own picture.

You may want to do this task with your students. Throughout each step, I explained when the option would be effective and provided examples. Students offered their suggestions on what type of school assignments they could apply these features such as illustrating a story, report writing, designing a title page, or giving a presentation.

This type of activity does not take long to complete and it will help your students critically think about the message pictures convey in their school work. Try it!

Insert Picture STEP ONE: Insert a picture or clip art.
Picture Border STEP TWO: Have your students set the color, weight, and dash style of the border.
Explain that a solid line often frames an image better than a dash style. Demonstrate the difference.
Picture Effects STEP THREE: Have your students apply a shadow, reflection, glow, soft edges, bevel, and 3D rotation. As they experiment with each option demonstrate how to create an attractive image that enhances the message.

  • Shadow, reflection, and bevel are three effects that will make ANY image look great.
  • Glow tends to look the best if printing in color. However, the colors provided are not very flattering. Demonstrate how to pick a custom glow color, by selecting More Glow Colors from the gallery.
  • Soft Edges often creates a disappointing effect. Very few pictures look good with a point size larger than 5 applied. Demonstrate how 25 Point and 50 Point make an image almost invisible.
  • 3D Rotation should be used sparingly. The styles that look the best keep the image upright, whereas often the picture is difficult to view if it is rotated to look as if it is lying down.
Picture Shape STEP FOUR: Office 2007 users can change the shape of a picture EASILY.
Encourage your students to select a shape that enhances the message. For example, place an image of a flag inside a Wave Banner or use an Arrow shape to draw attention to text.
Picture Shape Office 2010 users will need to use the Crop to Shape option from Crop in the Size group.
Encourage your students to select a shape that enhances the message. For example, place an image of a factory inside a Teardrop if making a report about water pollution or acid rain.

Word Processing Skills in the Classroom

It is important to incorporate word processing skills in the classroom.

A balanced technology program combines a range of computer skills such as word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, Internet, database, graphics, and desktop publishing. Of all these, word processing is probably the most extensive and essential for students to master.


Word Processing Skills

Word processing is the composition, editing, and formatting of text. Word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, in addition to working with text also provide tools to  insert pictures, edit photos, draw objects, and produce graphic organizers. The range of options available within word processing programs make them versatile to the user.

It is very likely that your students will be required to use word processing software to complete school assignments. In addition, many of them will need word processing skills later in life when they enter the workplace. For these reasons, it is important to include word processing skills when planning classroom activities.

The great news is that using Microsoft Word can be fun! There are so many products your students can create using word processing software.

  • magazine
  • web page
  • calendar
  • questionnaire
  • resume

When selecting a product you want students to create using a word processing program, it is essential to determine the technology skills that are required. In addition, consider the students’ grade level and previous computer experience prior to selecting a task. Word processing skills can be grouped into basic and advanced levels of difficulty.

Basic Word Processing Skills:

    • add text
    • enter text
    • format text: font, style, size, and color
    • adjust line spacing
    • insert and format WordArt
    • insert and format clip art or picture file
    • modify the text wrap of an object
    • draw and format shapes
    • scale, move, and rotate objects
    • insert a simple page border
    • spell check a document
    • print preview
    • print a document
    • cut, copy, and paste a selection
    • copy formatting from a selection
Advanced Word Processing Skills

  • create graphic organizer
  • insert headers and footers
  • insert date and page numbers
  • adjust character and paragraph spacing
  • format text into columns
  • insert and format tables
  • bookmark a location in a document
  • create hyperlink to bookmarked location
  • group and align objects
  • adjust page setup: margins, section breaks
  • use, modify, and create styles
  • use mail merge to create a form or letter
  • generate mailing labels
  • create a table of contents
  • import chart data into Microsoft Word

Incorporating word processing skills in the classroom can create meaningful learning experiences for your students.