Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The ABCs of Computers

Debra Giambo PhD


ESL students (beginners) identify and construct meaning from terminology utilized when learning how to operate a computer. Following written guidelines students learn basic computer skills, access the Internet, and use email.


The student reads for information to use in performing a task and learning a new task.

The student uses basic computer skills for writing, such as basic word-processing techniques such as keying words, copying, cutting, and pasting; using e-mail; and accessing and using basic educational software for writing.


- Computers with word processing capabilities, and preferably Internet access
- A dummy computer -optional (this could be a computer that has been “retired”)
- Velcro
- Computer ID words (Mouse, CPU etc) laminated with Velcro on the back
- Worksheets (Picture of a CPU, Keyboard, Monitor, and Mouse) - these can be custom made, from the attachment, to suit your needs.
- Felt Board – optional (picture of computer with detachable vocabulary words)
- Poster paper - optional (for illustrations/concept maps)
- Pencils, pens, paper, markers


1. Download worksheets
2. Label computer
3. Search the Internet for the site to which you will direct students.
4. Download software program (if you are going to use one that is not already installed.)
5. Write step-by-step instructions for parts two and three. (A draft is provided in the attachment, but this will most likely vary – depending on the type of computers in your classroom). Use key words, symbols, and possibly diagrams. Note: keep it simple.
6. Optional: Make a felt board (this may be displayed all year for vocabulary reinforcement, and for students who may join the class). The felt board should have a light background. There should be a drawing of the key parts of a computer – that looks like the one in your class, and there should be arrows pointing to the parts of the computer that you want students to identify. There should be detachable vocabulary words – which students can place in the appropriate locations.


Activate student interest by asking inquiring questions related to computers, and encouraging feedback. Suggested questions include:
· What are some places where you might see computers in use? (Write list on board, such as in schools, banks, hospitals, etc.)
· What do you think computers are used for? (Games, Word processing, etc.)
· Have you ever wanted to use a computer, but did not know how?
Tell students it is important to learn computer vocabulary, before actually learning how to use computer software.

Part One
1. Show students a computer (gather around.)

2. Introduce the various parts of the computer. Be sure to show students the power cords and emphasize how the brain (CPU) is connected to all the other parts. Explain that everything works together as a unit. (Just like us!)

3. While doing this, apply Velcro words to the assigned places on the computer (if you have a retired computer you can use it – this will give you more freedom as to where you place the Velcro.)

4. Ask students to say each word (following your model.)

5. Then, ask students to complete the worksheets (label computer parts) – these can be made from the attachment.

6. If you have made a felt board, students can take turns using it. (This part of the activity can be collaborative, and will help reinforce what the students are learning.)

7. Remove Velcro words from the computer.

8. When the students feel they are ready, have them volunteer to label the computer and say the words.

9. Reward students for correctly naming the parts. Tell students that they are now ready to begin learning how to use the computer.

Part Two
1. Show students how to log on. Ensure that you use the vocabulary words (from part one and two.)

2. Provide written directions on how to log on (see attachment for guidelines.) Again, ensure that you use the vocabulary words.

3. Give written directions, in simple steps, on how to access a software program such as “Word”, or “Kidspiration.”

4. Ask students to follow these steps (provide assistance if needed.)

5. Then ask students to either:
--Write a paragraph explaining what they have accomplished – this should incorporate the vocabulary words they have learned.
--Explain to you (orally) what they have learned – using the vocabulary words they have learned.
--Draw a concept map of what they learned (using either poster paper or Kidspiration) demonstrating that they have learned the vocabulary words.

Part Three
If Internet access is available students can now begin to learn how to use the Internet and email.

1. Show students how to access the Internet and email. Ensure that you use the vocabulary words (from sections one, two and three.)

2. Provide written directions of the steps they will need to access email or a search engine (see attachment for guidelines.)

3. Encourage students to use the vocabulary words. (Ask questions that promote their use.)

4. Have students send an email message to the teacher and have them print a page from the selected Website.


1. Identify all of the computer parts on the worksheet (recognize words on worksheet.)
2. Label the computer.
3. Start the computer.
4. Using written instructions, locate software program (e.g. Word, Kidspiration, or another program of your choice.)
5. Students should then either write a paragraph, make a concept map, draw a diagram (or illustration) outlining their accomplishments, or explain to the teacher what they have learned.
6. Send teacher an email.
7. Print a page from specified search engine and submit to teacher.


- Learn how to use Microsoft Word, or other word processing program, to write letters and/or keep a journal
- Learn how to use the Internet as a research tool
- Work with another school – establish a pen pal program using email
Students can be given a topic to research on the Internet, and list the Web sites that they find when doing the assignment.

Web Links

Kidspiration is an excellent tool. It is easy to use and there are lots of pictures (providing a universal language).

This is a child friendly search engine (part of Yahoo).

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