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Alphabet rainbows lesson plan

A photo of a colorful alphabet
A photo of a colorful alphabet
Photo: Twicepix at Flickr

Lesson Plan Title: Alphabet Rainbows

Grade Level: K-2

Curriculum-Framing Questions

Essential Question
How can we make a colorful alphabet rainbow?

Foundation Questions
How can we use computers and spreadsheets to make a rainbow? How can an alphabet rainbow help us with alphabet recognition?

Lesson Summary
Children at this age are very color oriented. Teach students alphabet recognition and upper and lower case letters, through alphabet rainbows.

Subject Area(s)

  • Computers
  • Language Arts

Targeted State Frameworks/Content Standards/Benchmarks
English Language Arts- Standard 1
Technology-Tools, Resources, and Technological Processes: Standard 5

Student Objectives/Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to type and recognize the letters. Students will learn that capital letters are typed with the SHIFT key. Students will learn Excel procedures and language. Students will be able to color the letters in their choice of colors

Step 1: Students are taught to open the Excel program. They are shown the letters across the top of the paper on the screen. They are then shown the numbers down the left side of the paper on the screen. They are asked to notice the rectangles on the paper. They are to notice the arrow and how it moves with the movement of the mouse. They are to find the rectangle with the dark black line around the edge of the rectangle, and told that is the place where the computer is ready to type letters. With the dark black rectangle in the top left rectangle they are instructed to hold down the SHIFT key and at the same time type the letter A. Demonstration is done at the same time on the overhead projector. Then the students are to type the letter “a” again without the SHIFT key to get the lower case a. Then the students are shown the arrow keys and told to press the one that points to the right. (This moves the cursor box to the rectangle (cell) under the letter B. Each student is to continue typing a capital and lower case letter under each of the different letters until they get to Z.

Step 2: When they finish with Z they are instructed to press the HOME key to get back to the beginning. Then they are instructed to place the little arrow on top of the number 2 at the far left side of the monitor and click. They are told to watch the whole row turn black. Then they are to find the letter A with the line under it in the tool bar and click on the tiny triangle to the right of that A. (Demonstrating on the overhead makes this much easier than it reads.) The students are then asked to pick a very bright color and click on the color block. Then they are asked to click on the rectangle under their first "Aa" combination and type the "Aa" again. This will show up in the color they chose for the entire row.
Repeat the process until the students do 10 rows of different color letters. (After the computer recognizes the pattern of the letters being typed the letters will highlight as they type and if they press ENTER it will type the letters correctly for that cell. Students usually pick this up as they go along.). When the students are done, highlight all the column headings so the whole spreadsheet is black and double click on one of the little black lines between the heading letters. (There will be a line with a double headed arrow appear - double click the mouse with that visible.) This "chucks" the columns together for a more colorful effect.

Step 3: Show students how to click on VIEW, then HEADER/FOOTER and have them type their name in one of the sections. Click OK, and OK again and go through the steps to send the paper to the color printer. Depending on the lab set up and how many printers you have you as the teacher may want to print the sheets for the students, and you will want to want to change to landscape and make fit to 1 page in the page setup menu.

Approximate Time Needed
This class exercise usually takes about 3-4 38 minute class periods and saving the spreadsheets on either disk or file on hard drive.

Prerequisite Skills

  • Basic computer knowledge
  • Knowledge of the alphabet
  • Color recognition

Materials and Resources

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Projection System
  • Database/Spreadsheet
  • Paper

Accommodations for Differentiated Instruction

Resource Student
Children with learning disabilities can work in groups on this activity. They also may use hands-on materials to make their alphabet rainbow using colored paper letters or letters from magazines and newspapers.

Non-Native English Speaker
ELL’s can be paired with native English speakers to work on this activity.

Gifted Student
These students can progress from the alphabet to doing words that correspond to colors like color words, fruit/vegetables, or animals that are particular colors.

Student Assessment
During the activity, watch for participation, the correct use of the alphabet, the correct use of the computers, and the student's general knowledge of letters and color recognition. Watch for how many lines are done with the least mistakes. Ask students how they felt during this activity. Why was it fun? Why was it boring? Why was it hard?

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