Have you ever wondered what a daily KidsTek high school class looks like for students? You probably already know that our North High School students learn to use Microsoft Word and Excel, in addition to soft skills like resume-writing, scholarship-searching, and the BBB LIFT Business Ethics curriculum, but how does KidsTek teach students to use those essential programs? To help our supporters better understand what goes on in our classrooms, we’ll look at an example of a typical lesson from the first semester Business Computing curriculum, created and taught by Senior Instructor Emily Tow.
Imagine you’re a junior at North High School. It’s Monday and only the second period of the day, so you’re still shaking off the always insufficient sleep you so reluctantly left to go to school. Coming into your KidsTek Business Computing class, you join the rest of the class in the comfortable chairs and couches by the projection board to start class.
Before you dive into learning new skills in Word, your teacher asks the class to take a thumb poll about their weekends. Your weekend wasn’t bad, but nothing special, so your thumb is held up sideways, but you listen and smile as a few of your classmates share adventures they had—maybe another day you’ll have something fun to share since you feel safe and supported in this classroom community. It’s always nice when your teachers treat you like actual people with lives outside of school and put in the time to foster social-emotional connections with you and your peers.
After a few minutes, your teacher transitions into the lesson for the day. You’ll be learning how to use bookmarks and internal hyperlinks in Word, she says, using them to create a Choose Your Own Adventure story that can be navigated by clicking links that direct to different pages of a Word document. Before she shows you those new Word skills, however, your whole class plays through the teacher’s example together, communally choosing which link to click to find your way out of a mysterious, locked room. By the time your class has navigated to escaping the room, you have a much better understanding of your teacher’s expectations for your assignment and how to set up your Word document.
Projecting her computer screen to the front of the room, your teacher carefully demonstrates adding bookmarks to a Word document and connecting them to internal hyperlinks. She repeats the demo a couple of times, answering questions as she goes and adding extra information like keyboard shortcuts and how you might use various other settings besides those you’re using today. After one last “Any other questions?”, you and your peers get up to go to your individual computers and begin that day’s project.
You get a little confused when you try to add your first bookmark, because even though you’re pretty sure you’re following all the steps, nothing seems to happen after you hit “Add.” You raise your hand and your teacher comes over to help you figure it out. “Oh, bookmarks are a background tool, so you only see them in this menu!” you realize after a minute. “Exactly!” your teacher says, smiling. You work through the project during the remainder of class, asking one or two more questions along the way, and submit the project on your school’s Learning Management platform, Schoology, just a few seconds before the bell rings. After school, you’ll show your little brother the story you created about designing your island on Animal Crossing, helping him click through the hyperlinks and choose his own adventure, too.