Lesson plan

Polish and Publish

Do your students struggle with basic formatting as they publish their writing? In this lesson, students will be guided through the process of basic formatting such as using fonts, spacing, and other features of electronic publishing.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to use electronic devices to publish their writing. Students will be able to distinguish between various electronic publishing features (such as fonts, spacing, and inserting pictures) and appropriately use these features.

(5 minutes)
  • Display text on an interactive whiteboard in a Google doc or PDF file. Invite students to describe what they notice about the text.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning how to prepare their writing for publishing, using their devices (Chromebooks, laptops, etc.).
(10 minutes)
  • Tell the students that there are several characteristics of publishing their work using a Chromebook or laptop.
  • List the following words on the board: Font, spacing, and pictures.
  • Show students examples of different fonts that can be used to type their final draft. Explain the importance of choosing a font that matches their purpose. For example, if students are publishing a business letter they should not choose an informal script.
  • Draw students’ attention to the word “spacing” on the board. Using an exemplar text, draw students' attention to the amount of spacing. Show the students what the text would look like if they included multiple spaces between words or sentences. This is a common error that students make when publishing their written work electronically.
  • Finally, refer to the process of selecting illustrations or pictures that match the published text. If desired, show the students how to create and insert their own Google drawing.
  • Introduce the publishing checklist from the worksheet, Publishing Checklist and Reflection. Display the checklist on an interactive whiteboard or on chart paper and direct the students’ attention to the different components.
(10 minutes)
  • Using a sample text displayed on an interactive whiteboard, invite students to notice what was done well and what could be changed to make it better.
  • Distribute one or two sticky notes to each student.
  • Invite students to write comments about how the sample text was published, using one of the three categories described in the teacher modeling: Fonts, spacing, and illustrations.
  • Invite students to share how they might change the way the text is displayed in their own publishing work.
(20 minutes)
  • Invite students to work on their own devices, publishing their work and paying careful attention to the following three areas as they type their writing: Font, spacing, and illustrations.
  • After the students have finished typing their work, distribute the Peer Publishing worksheet to each student.
  • Tell the students that they will be participating in a gallery walk in which they walk around the classroom, look at a classmate’s work, and leave a comment for the classmate. Tell the students to write their comments on the peer publishing worksheet on each desk, under the column “Positive Feedback” or “Suggestions.”
  • Allow students to walk around the classroom and look at each other’s work, with enough time for each student to give feedback on the work of two or three students.

Enrichment: Challenge students who are proficient in formatting their work to create a “style guide” for other students on how to publish their work on a device. This style guide could be in the form of a pamphlet, brochure, or other visual that helps express the information that they have learned.

Support: If students are struggling with using technology to publish their work, give the students choices as to how they design their work. For example, show the students two different fonts and ask the students to choose which font is best for that particular piece of writing.

  • Instead of having students use the Peer Publishing worksheet, have students share their documents with one another and then make comments on the side of the documents.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute the Publishing Checklist and Reflection worksheet and ask students to complete the checklist and reflection.
  • Walk around the classroom and spot-check students’ work, looking for areas that need to be retaught.
(10 minutes)
  • Invite students to share the most helpful comments shared with them during the gallery walk.
  • Celebrate student success by inviting students to share their published work. One way to celebrate success is to have a designated “author’s chair” where the author sits and shares his/her work with the class.

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