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Use a Computer or Whiteboard for the Morning Message

By Laurie Patsalides

Let's help primary students develop keyboarding skills and some basic word processing skills during the morning meeting. Find ideas for using a computer or whiteboard to teach students to type the morning message (also known as the daily news) on the computer.

Importance of Daily Practice

As students are becoming tech savvy at a younger age, it is important to give them instructional practice using a keyboard and basic word processing skills.

All that is needed to do this activity is a regular computer hooked up to a projector screen or a whiteboard. Students will enjoy being a part of creating the morning message regardless of whether it is printed or typed, so be sure to vary the instruction to allow for printing practice too. Likewise, this is a great activity for students with computer assisted technology to participate.

The Morning Message Typed

Using a computer to type the morning message is the same as writing it on chart paper. The morning message contains a salutation and closing, date, and usually a special activity. Teachers use the morning meeting to develop skills the students are practicing in other areas. For example, Kindergarten students may be practicing upper or lower case letters, punctuation, beginning or ending sounds, or sight words on the morning message. Tailor the computer activity in the same way as a written morning message.

When using a computer to create the Kindergarten morning message, the skills that are taught will vary depending on the ability level of the students. In the beginning of the school year, students will be learning the difference between upper and lowercase letters, and concepts of print which are skills that can be taught with computer integration. Later in the school year, students will be able to type sentences and words for the morning message if they are given consistent practice.

Morning Meeting Typing Activity

Type the morning message on the computer, omitting capital letters and periods. Have students sit where they can see the computer monitor. Tell the students that you have left out some capital letters and periods and they will help to type them*. Read the message. An example of missing capital letters and periods is as follows:

_ood _orning (Correct Answer: Good Morning!)

_oday is _onday, _ebruary, 14, 2012 (Correct answer: Today is Monday, February 14, 2012.)

_e will go to gym today (Correct answer: We will go to gym today.)

Just as in a written morning message, call one student at a time to the keyboard to type in the correct letter. For Kindergarteners this serves as a dual purpose, they learn the capital letter, where it is on the keyboard and are practicing some basic word processing skills.

Depending on the time of school year, or grade, students can either be taught to use the caps lock key to type in capital letters, or to hold the shift key and type the letter. Next students find where the period goes and type it.

Add Fun Activities

Just as in a typical morning meeting when the teacher plans a fun activity, the same can be done to teach keyboarding and word processing skills. Teach the students to type the alphabet ( which can be done for upper or lowercase letters), by typing in the alphabet and omitting some letters. This will also help them to learn that the alphabet has an order.Computer Keyboard 

For example: A B C _ E F G _ I J K _ _ N _ P Q and so on.

*Warm up by giving the students a computer keyboard poster and saying the ABC's as you touch the letters.

Small Group Instruction

These activities can also be modified for small group instruction. It is the perfect opportunity for the teacher aide in the classroom to take a small group. The lesson may be easier to manage (for all of the students to see and participate) in a small group setting. The great part about using the computer in small groups is that you can differentiate instruction based on knowledge and/or computer skill level.

These activities are planned by Laurie Patsalides, based on classroom experience.

Computer keyboard image courtesy of Huge Pedia