As a technology teacher for students in grades 6, one of my goals each year to help students become proficient using a word processing program. We happen to use Microsoft Word in our district, but these skills can be used with Pages on a Mac, Word Perfect, or any other word processing app or program. While word processors are great for writing essays and creating publications, there are fun things kids can do as well! Each semester, I present the "Train Challenge." Students are given the task to draw a scene that includes a background, color, and characters. The main part of the scene must be a train that is carrying passengers. The challenge is that they must do all of their drawing using shapes available on the shape palette only. No pictures and no clipart. My students rise to the challenge every time and really enjoy this task. At the end we have a showcase and every student gets to show off their drawing using a projector and Smart board. Try this out with your students. It's a great way to show them the fun side of word processors and they learn some great skills along the way!
Step 1: Open MS Word. Choose the Window symbol and Save As to a flash drive or into student folders on a server.
Step 2: Choose layout and margins. Set the margins to narrow or "0.5" for top, bottom, left, and right.
Step 3: Still in the layout ribbon, change the orientation to landscape.
Step 4: On the insert ribbon, choose shape. Under basic shapes, choose a rectangle.
Step 5: Draw out two rectangles on the page. Start one in the upper left corner, pull across the whole page, and stop about half way down. This will become the sky. Start the second rectangle slightly overlapping the first, and pull down to the bottom right corner. This will become the ground.
Step 6: Select the rectangle that will become the ground. Right click and choose format shape. Choose fill, solid, and the ground color you would like to use. Click okay. Repeat this for the rectangle representing the sky. Another choice is to fill these shapes with either a pattern or gradient fill.
Step 7: Using insert and shape, begin to create your image. By right clicking on a shape and choosing copy and then paste, features such as wheels can be duplicated in the exact same size.
Step 8: As the image begins to take shape, it will be useful to group shapes together into one object. This makes moving entire portions of the picture, such as the train, easier. Simply click on one shape in the object, then holding down the shift key, click and select the remaining shapes. After all have been selected, right click, choose grouping, and group. You can now move the entire object if needed.
Step 9: To remove the colored border around each shape (such as the blue border around the wheels), right click on a shape, choose format shape, line, and no line. This makes the border transparent so it cannot be seen.
Step 10: Continue inserting and choosing shapes to complete your picture. Of course, don't limit yourself to just drawing a train. The possibilities are as endless as your student's imaginations.