First Grade

Developing Word Processing Skills

Empowered Learner


Composing at a computer is a unique activity that many students will need time to master. Students have played games and may know some of the keys on the keyboard. Before students actually begin composing, they need to learn about the different keys on the keyboard without focusing on their writing skills and typing. 

Students need to learn how to create spaces between their words, type capital, and lowercase letters, delete text, and save and print a document.

This task card precedes the Word Processing Skills task card. This task card will take several class periods for students to master all the skills. 

Students will:

  • Understand how the keyboard works
  • Be able to use the space bar and delete key.
  • Be able to use the shift and caps lock key. 
  • Be able to find the menu. 
  • Be able to save and print a document. 

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Keyboard: A keyboard is a device used to input text into a computer or other device
  2. Space bar: A space bar is a long key on a typewriter or computer keyboard for making a space between words.
  3. Delete key: The delete key is a key on most computer keyboards which typically is used to delete either the characters before or after the cursor. 
  4. Shift key: The shift key determines whether characters are printed in upper or lower case
  5. Caps lock key: The cap locks key is a button on a computer keyboard that, when pressed, causes all letters to be generated in capitals until deactivated.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • View the ABCYA game Cupstacking Game (Learn how to use the space bar, upper and lower case letters and numbers)
  • View the Keyboarding Zoo Game (Learn how to find letters on the keyboard)
  • View the Keyboarding Zoo Game 2 (Learn how to use upper and lower case, the space bar, add a period to the end of a sentence)
  • To begin with, students should know the following:
    • Use the space bar between words.
    • Know how to add correct punctuation (period, comma, question mark, exclamation mark)
    • Insert and delete text and numbers. 
    • Use the shift and caps locks keys.
    • Identify a menu and select an option from the menu. (open a new document)
    • Save a document and where to save a document.
    • Print a document.
    • Locate and use the scroll bars. 
  • Decide which word processor you will use with the students. (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Office 365)
  • See the Accommodations Page and Charts on the 21things4students website in the Teacher Resources. 
  • The keyboard can be adjusted in the keyboard settings of the computer to accommodate students with disabilities. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. The first graders will most likely have used a keyboard, but only for games. 
  2. Introduce the students to the space bar, the delete key and where the numbers and letters are. 
  3. Have them play the Keyboarding Zoo Game first. 
  4. Then have them play the ABCYA Cupstacking game or the
    Keyboarding Zoo 2 game next. 
  5. After the students are comfortable with the keyboard, show them where the menu is on a word processing document. 
  6. Show them how to save a document. 
  7. Show them how to print a document. 
  8. Show them how to locate and use the scroll bars. 

This will most likely take several lessons for them to play the games and be familiar with the keyboard. After they are, go to Word Processing Skills task card next. 

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Students will need to complete all three games.
  • Students will be open a document, type a sentence or two, save and print the document. 

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Empowered Learner
1a. Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
1c. Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

Word Processor (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Office 365)

ABCYA Cupstacking Game

Keyboarding Zoo Game

Keyboarding Zoo Game 2


The students learn the basics of word processing so they can begin word processing their short stories. 

This task card was created by Melissa White, 21Things Project Manager, REMC Association of Michigan, April 2018. Updated October 2023.