Computer Skills Curriculum
Word Processing Lesson Plan

Title: Whale of a Tale

Other Curriculum Objectives that can be addressed by this lesson plan
English Language Arts: 1.3, 2.1, 3.1; Computer Skills: (Gr. 5) 3.1; Information Skills 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2; Science Skills: (Gr. 5) 2.4, 2.9

Grade: 5

Competency 3.1: Use a word processing program to publish a report that contains centering, tabs, and more than one paragraph.

Measure 3.1.1: Use a word processing program to type, edit, and publish a report on mammals. Center the title of the report.

Materials Needed: Print and video resources about whales; electronic encyclopedia (optional; computer with word processing software and printer; chart paper, blackboard, overhead and transparencies or computer with LCD palette and overhead; Whales Research Guide worksheet (included); Voyage of the Mimi (optional).

Time: One to three, 45 minute sessions in media center; two to three, 30 minute sessions in computer lab; one to three, 30 minute classroom sessions.




    With the Media Professional:

  • Review lesson plans and divide teaching responsibilities.
  • Determine what resources are available and establish timelines.
  • Secure other resources as necessary.

    Teacher Preparation:

  • Assign students a whale or let them choose one, based on resources available.
  • Provide a format for students to use for notetaking. (See attached sample.)
  • Provide time for at least two activities/follow-up activities that require report writings so that one may be used for the measure. As an alternative, have students save a draft of the whale report. Use one copy for guided practice in editing, use of tabs, and centering. Use the other copy for independent practice and final publishing.


  1. Tell students that they will be researching whales.
  2. Introduce the research guide on whales sheet to the students, using a computer and LCD palette or transparencies. Discuss the kinds of information they should collect.
  3. Pass out the research guide on whales and explain that the guide will be used for taking notes. Students should write the name of their assigned whale on the research guide. (You may wish to distribute this sheet in the classroom and provide extra time for students to ask questions.)
  4. Help students use accessing skills to gather their information, with the media professional and teacher working cooperatively to assist students.
  5. Compose a computer draft of the report containing more than one paragraph on the computer, using tabs and centering.
  6. Provide opportunities for peer and teacher editing of the draft.
  7. Provide opportunities for final publishing and sharing of reports in class.

    Follow-up/Enrichment Activities:

  1. View selected segments of Voyage of the Mimi to learn more about whales. Write a brief summary using the computer. Include a summary which should be centered and use tabs to indent the paragraphs.
  2. Develop a report on migration patterns of whales, using a computer. Use tabs to indent paragraphs and center the title.
  3. Chart migration patterns of different kinds of whales. Use computer software to create part or all of the chart.
  4. Develop a chart on uses of whale by-products.
  5. Examine the environmental impact of whaling.
  6. Create video-taped public service messages for the protection of whales and other endangered species.
  7. Collect information about other endangered species using telecommunications and on-line bulletin boards. Use a word processing program and a computer to publish a flyer, summarizing findings on other endangered species. Use centering and tabs when necessary.
  8. Compare whales to dolphins and porpoises and use the computer to write and publish a brief report. Center the title and use tabs to indent the paragraphs.


Provide students with time to key in their reports using a word processing program. Require students to center the title of their reports and to indent paragraphs using tabs. Provide opportunities for peer and teacher editing. Have students print a final copy of their reports for display.