Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's not REALLY in the standards, but...

I think students need to be taught about bold, italic, and other formatting styles.

Tangent: I don't know if you remember - back when HTML was still fairly new - back even before some absolute farking MORON came up with the <blink> tag - we were told that for some reason it was soooo much better to use <em> and <strong> than to use <i> and <b> because the latter were physical tags, but the former were STYLE tags. And I'm like... but look, if I want to make text bold, then that's what I want it to look like. Screw whatever you have set in your style palette. Hmf!

I doubt I was alone in having that reaction. Hee - I bet that's where CSS came from! XD Anyway. I still don't understand why the difference EVER mattered. Tangent over, I think.

So while the standards don't directly spell it out, I think before I get completely into the research unit, my students have GOT to be able to recognize formatting. I mean, when I tell them that they should underline the titles of major works on their notecards because it can be difficult to recognize handwritten italics, and they go "huh?" and I point to their handouts and say "see the letters that look like they're leaning to the side?" and they go "huh?" again... oo boy.

I've never had trouble with them not recognizing underlining (thank GOD) but I just... I wouldn't've believed I'd've had students who did not see any difference between bold and regular text. Not being able to pick out text in italics is bad enough, but bold?! Come ON.

So, let's see. What do they NEED to know? Obviously, bold and italic. I think also paragraph spacing - single, space and a half (which I think I will have to explain that "1.5" means the same thing), and double spacing. They usually already know about point size. Maybe alignment, too - centered is pretty self-explanatory, but justification is something not all of them have encountered.

Am I leaving anything vital out?


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