When I work with my younger kids (1st and 2nd graders) we do something called “mini directions”. I’m discovering that the kids really only get exposed to Microsoft Word in the lab with their regular classroom teachers. So whenever we start a new program (like Finale, Publisher or Powerpoint) there is often a steep learning curve.
To help relieve the stress of a long string of directions we use “mini directions”. We start out at our “smart seats” which is everyone gathered as a group on the floor looking at the Smartboard. I give string of directions that’s 3 or 4 things or “clicks” long. Then the students break off in pairs to go to a computer and complete them. They get 3 minutes to complete the set of directions then we come back together to hear the next set. We keep track of the 3 minutes using the timer function on the Smartboard. It seems to work and the kids really like the short list format. I have fewer kids who go into melt down because they can’t remember what to do. Also having a partner in the work means that there is always at least one other person nearby who can help when things get rough.
I try to use this “mini direction” format for no more than half the class time. Then the students get the second half of class to be creative with the new skills they have learned.