Word Processing Activities


Shaped Writing

Shaped writing activities give the children the opportunity to think carefully about the choice of words and to be concise. Using a word processor for the initial drafting and the presentation enhances such work, making experimentation easier and producing visually accurate final results that all children can achieve.

Explain to the children that in shaped writing the words represent an object or concept, both in what they say and in how they appear. The writing can be prose or poetry. Show the children the examples such as those below.

Example of Shaped Writing

A
MER
RYCHR
ISTMAST
OEVERYONE
AMERRYCHRIS
TMASTOEVERYON
EANDAHAPPYNEWYE
AR
EV
ER
YO
NE

HAT
HAT#HAT
FA
H     CE     H
DAARMBODYARMAD
N   BODY   N
BODY
BODY
BODY
BODY
L  L
#  #
E  E
#  #
FOOTG GFOOT

This
is an oak
tree. Many years
ago they were grown in
huge forests so that there
would be enough wood
to build ships for
the Royal Navy
in
the
days
when
Ships
were
built
from
wood.

What to do

Encourage the children in their groups to brainstorm themes for writing. Almost any topic can be covered, It could be one that is currently being covered in class, or one stimulated by outside interests and leisure activities. Ask the children to choose one theme and discuss ways of projecting it in shaped writing. With some thought and ingenuity, most shapes are possible.

The shapes can even be filled in with extra characters such as # or a $, as in the body of the example above. A word processor that offer different sizes of type opens up even more possibilities, For instance, a piece of writing about the growth of a plant could be printed in gradually increasing letter sizes.