I spend a lot of my time helping teachers with lesson planning and whenever we come to the point of creating a handout or worksheet for students and I open up PowerPoint on my computer, the teacher inevitably looks at me like I’ve forgotten what we were trying to do. Once I get started, though, he or she is nodding alongside me, saying, “This is really cool. I can’t believe I never thought of this.”
After being told many times that I should offer a professional development on using PowerPoint to create classroom documents, I gave it a try at the end of the school year. I realized as I was preparing the presentation that the ideas would make great blog posts, so here is a little background information, and then I’ll post a couple of screencasts to illustrate the process.
Like most of the teachers I work with, one participant at the presentation was a little skeptical and asked why I used PowerPoint instead of Word to create documents. I gave a rambling answer about manipulating text and images and making professional looking documents, all of which is true, but thinking back on it, I have a much better answer: TIME. Using PowerPoint saves time.
As I’ll demonstrate in these videos, with PowerPoint, what you see is what you get. There’s no wasted time tabbing and spacing to align text, only to have it all get shifted around out of alignment when I realize I need to add another word. And in PowerPoint, a page is a page is a page–when I send something to the printer, I’m not surprised by finding the bottom of page one at the top of page two. I can create everything I need on my screen and move it all exactly where I want it to be, so I don’t have to take a pair of scissors and tape to the copy machine to cut and paste pieces of the worksheet together.
I could go on and on, but thinking of the time I’ve spent fighting with Word is just more time I’m wasting. Instead, let’s put that all behind us and get started with setting up PowerPoint to print standard-size documents:
Now, I know that doesn’t seem like much, but believe me, it will start to revolutionize the way you create documents for your classroom. To give you a little more inspiration, here’s another video showing how I use shapes to create a basic graphic organizer on my worksheets:
Please post any questions you have in the comments below and I’ll try to address them in my next video while demonstrating some of the amazing time-and-sanity-saving uses of tables.