When I first started teaching computer class in grades Kindergarten (five year old students) to eight (14 year old students), I really didn't use much word processing.
My First Year
I clearly remember one of my fifth grade boys literally crying and asking why I couldn't type a small paragraph for him. His mom did all his typing. He came back recently for a visit. He's now in his second year in high school. He remembers too.
As we were talking, my fourth grade students were busily typing a paragraph in Word. They had just learn to use the Tab key to set up a "proper heading" on their paper.
My Seventh Year
I was speaking with the current fifth grade teacher. We were talking about the grades for computer class. I do many different projects, but I always take a look at their word processing skills when pulling together their grades. As a whole, the class had great grades the first marking period. I was reflecting on the difference. I think it is because I have been starting word processing lessons earlier and earlier with the students. As of five years ago, I began to include more word processing lessons as early as Kindergarten. These are the first students who have really benefited.
My Goal for 2008-2009
Last year, my goal was to gather most of my Kid Pix lessons on my wiki. I still have a few more to include as I add new things to the program each year and tweak and improve old lessons. This year, my goal is to gather most of my Word lessons on the same wiki. It's nothing particularly Earth shattering, but I'm becoming quite happy with the results.
I added a lesson for the second grade this year about fonts. I even wrote a poem for them to highlight and adjust. Seven years ago, I saw this type of lesson as something a middle school student should start to learn. As I continue to rethink my work, second grade seems more appropriate. I haven't presented the lesson yet, I still want to make something interactive for my Activboard. When I have the slides complete, I'll post more thoughts.
Forks, Brittany. "Crawfy is word processing." Kilobyte Couture's photostream. 28 Nov 2008. 22 Jan 2007.