K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Related pages

  • Keys to computing the alphabet: This lesson gives the students practice in locating the alphabet on the computer keyboard, using the space bar, printing their product, and finally, using these printed letters to make words.
  • Keys on a keyboard: Kindergarten students learn five keys located on a computer keyboard: the space bar, the enter key, the shift keys, the number keys, and the letter keys. Each key is identified by the teacher and the children are asked to color the key or keys a particular color on their paper keyboard. Students are also asked to locate the letters that spell out their name on their keyboard.
  • Integrating computer use into a Trainable Mentally Disabled Level IV curriculum.: Students involved in the Trainable Mentally Disabled program will use computers to supplement reading and personal information skills being taught as part of the implementation of student's Individual Education Plan. This activity will also allow students to reinforce fine-motor, visual-motor and behavioral skills.

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • use the shift key and the spacebar on the keyboard.
  • learn about text wrap.
  • move the cursor and insert a picture.
  • create, save, open and print a file.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2.5 hours


  • A chart of the alphabet displayed near the computer
  • The word “shift” written on a sentence card and later displayed where it is easily seen by students who are working on the computer.

Technology resources

Any computer with a word processing program and clip art. With this particular age level, I prefer to use KidWorks 2 by Davidson. Because of its graphics, students with minimal reading ability find it easy to create, save, open and print files.

It is also quite helpful to have an AV converter to connect your computer to your television. This allows the image on the computer to be displayed on the television which is helpful during whole group instruction.


Students must know that each letter of the alphabet can be typed in capital or lowercase. Students need to have some exposure to using the computer, the keyboard, the mouse, and the word processing program they will be using.


Day 1

  1. In whole group instruction, ask a student (who writes his/her name beginning with a capital letter but types without using the shift key) to write their name on a piece of paper and then to type their name on the computer. As a class, compare the two names and figure out that on the paper, the first letter of the child’s name is capital but on the computer it is not.
  2. Ask if anyone knows how to create a capital letter on the computer. Then explain the shift key, how it is spelled (show the word “shift” written on a sentence card) and its location on the keyboard.
  3. Demonstrate how to make a capital using the shift key. When I demonstrate making a capital letter, I first have the students use their right pointer finger to press and hold down the palm of their left hand as I press the shift key on the keyboard. Then I explain that I am going to use my other pointer finger to press the letter I want to capitalize. Finally, I release the shift key. This helps students understand that you can press the shift key alone without making something appear on the screen.
  4. Next, tell the students that they are going to have a chance to make their own custom alphabet!
  5. Demonstrate how to open the word processing program and begin to type Aa.
  6. Show the students where to find pictures (that have the picture’s name spelled) and find a picture that begins with a. Press the space bar and repeat the process for the next letter of the alphabet. Remind the students to refer to the chart of the alphabet if they are uncertain of the next letter.
  7. Next, show the students how to save their work and call the file “ABCs” or the child’s name followed by ABCs.
  8. Students now independently begin their work and save at the end of class.

Day 2

  1. In whole group instruction, review the material from the previous class emphasizing the shift key.
  2. Demonstrate opening a saved file and moving the cursor to continue with their work.
  3. Have the students independently continue their work and again save at the end of class.

Day 3

  1. In whole group instruction, review the material from the previous class emphasizing how to open a saved file and move the cursor to continue with their work.
  2. Demonstrate how to print a file.
  3. Have the students independently continue their work, save and print before the end of class.

Note: When students finish early, I suggest they try to add a second picture for each letter. This gives the child further practice with placing the cursor at a specified location. Even if a student does not finish, let the child print and then encourage him/her to finish at home with a pencil.


Look at each child’s printed ABCs.

Supplemental information


I use this lesson in January with my kindergarteners. The lesson can also be use with first graders in the beginning half of the school year.

Note: This lesson can be used without adding a graphic for each letter of the alphabet.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Information and Technology Skills (2010)
      • Kindergarten

        • K.TT.1 Use technology tools and skills to reinforce classroom concepts and activities. K.TT.1.1 Use a variety of technology tools to gather data and information (e.g., Web-based resources, e-books, online communication tools, etc.). K.TT.1.2 Use a variety...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Computer Technology Skills (2005)


  • Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.
    • Objective 2.02: Identify, discuss, and use word processing as a tool to enter letters, numbers and words. Strand - Keyboard Utilization/Word Processing/Desk Top Publishing
    • Objective 2.03: Identify, locate and use special keys (e.g., arrow keys, space bar, Shift, Enter/Return, Backspace, Delete), letters, and numbers on the keyboard. Strand - Keyboard Utilization/Word Processing/Desk Top Publishing