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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Using Screen Shots in the Curriculum

This is a computer lesson designed to be taught to teachers. The purpose of this lesson is to give teachers technology skills and tools which they can use to reinforce and enhance their lessons. Did you ever want to show someone on paper the steps that you used to create a document using a computer program? The easiest way is to take a computerized snapshot (aka screen shot) of a selected part of the image on the monitor  depicting various stages, steps, or items revealed in the process.   Such snapshots can be produced by using different utility programs or certain key commands on the Macintosh.

Screen shots can be used to create worksheets, homework, tests or other instructional materials.  When an image on the monitor is composed of multiple objects, many children have a hard time focusing on just a single item.  They can be over-stimulated by the visual complexity of the screen.  By creating screen shots of specific objects, the teacher can isolate specific items upon which the child should focus.   This helps the student to target his or her attention on one thing out of many.

How to Use Screen Shots:  An Anecdote from My Classroom

I found a wonderful program that is offered free of charge on the Internet. It is called Casper's Treasure Hunt. Basically, this program opens to a haunted room in a house with lots of scary music and scary things.  A flashlight appears on the screen.  When you click on the flashlight, a written riddle appears.  The answer to the riddle tells you what object you are to locate.   Use the flashlight to look around the room. As the light shines on various objects, you realize that the object is not what it originally appeared to be.

Because I work with autistic children, I noticed that it was very difficult for some of them to follow just verbal statements telling them upon what objects to focus and locate on the screen.   By taking  a screen shot of each of these target objects, I was able to print out individual pictures of the objects that answered each of the riddles. On the back of each picture, I placed a small Velcro patch.  Once I read the riddle aloud to the student, I would place the picture on a Velcro strip that I had attached alongside the computer screen.  Then I would ask the child to find that particular object.    Because this process requires the student to follow instructions, make a choice, and click on a visual representation of an object, this simple process reinforces not only literacy skills but also reasoning abilities, and eye-hand motor coordination.

The example provided in this lesson is deliberately not complete because I want you to adapt it and complete it to meet your own instructional needs.   Custom design the selection of objects for screen shots to address the needs of your own students.

Lesson One
It is important to share and brainstorm with the colleagues  how one might utilize this tool in a classroom.  The use of screen shots has many applications for instructional integration into lesson, into  supplementary materials, or into evaluation methods.  It can be useful in reinforcing or testing concepts.

For example, I could have made a test sheet to measure the success of the Casper's Treasure Hunt by having the pictures placed vertically on one side of a piece of paper and the corresponding word for the object randomly placed within a list  on the other side of the paper.   The students would then be asked to draw a line from the object to the word that correctly describes it.

An alternative evaluative activity would be to ask students to circle two similar objects out of a series of three screen shots.   For example,  a student might view the following three screen shots: a hat, a dog, and another type of hat.  They would then circle the two hats indicating that they are the similar objects.

B. The Utility Screen Shot Tool

The basic key command for the Macinosh is OPTION, SHIFT and 3. This works on all Macs....On Macs using 8.6 there are more key commands which allow you to select certain areas only. You can find this information in the help section. In order to get to the help section you go up to the menu bar while in the finder and go to help:


Next you need to find the snap shot you just took. By default it is saved on the hard drive as picture X. 

C. Inserting The Image Into A Document

Claris Works or the most recent AppleWorks is a program which is shipped with the Mac. It is capable of word processing, database, spreadsheets and communication. For our purpose here I would either stick to word processing or the drawing program. You can save it exactly as it is which is a Pict file or else change it so it can be used elsewhere such as the web. To change it you would place it in the drawing program then when you save as select gif. 

Snagit for windows
Snapz Pro 2 shareware for Mac
The Casper Treasure Hunt for the MAC
The Casper Treasure Hunt for the PC


The following images were from the Casper Adventure program:


Terri Pakula is a teacher of autistic children at PS 255Q in Queens, NY.

Subject: Technology
Grade Level: Elementary school
E-mail: terrip@teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/

What do you think of my project?  I'd really like to hear your opinion - 
Click here
for a very brief survey.


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