Elementary students, as well as pre-service teachers, often are familiar with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich lesson. The activity is simple: Explain (or write) the steps for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The trick is to keep each step simple, make sure you cover every step, and be specific! "Put the peanut butter on the bread" might lead someone to put an unopened jar of peanut butter on top of an unopened loaf of bread.
The same rules apply to creating effective technology handouts: Keep it simple, cover every step, and be specific. Also, be sure to consider the skills, developmental level, and reading level of your students. A high school senior can be told "Open Word" without being told to "double-click the big, blue W." A second grader cannot.
In a 5th or 6th grade class, for example, instead of writing, "Go to the two bookmarked Web sites and find five facts on dolphins," you might want to write the following:
- Open Internet Explorer (double-click the big, blue E on your
- Click the word Favorites at the top of the screen.
- Click the Dolphin Sites folder and choose "Dolphin Research
- Click "Learn about Marine Mammals" on the left side of the window.
- Click the "Acoustics" link. A new file will open.
- Read the first page of the Acoustics file and write two facts
you didn't know about how dolphins make sounds.
Next: Seeing is believing.