Sunday, October 1, 2017

Google Slides for Quick and Dirty Desktop Publishing

I am so OVER using a word processor to quickly create newsletters, Language Experience Approach (LEA) books with literacy students, and multi-page worksheets for my classes. Thanks to Tony Vincent and his Classy Graphics course that I took over the summer, I now turn to Google Drawing for one-page worksheets, handouts or posters. Google Slides can be used in the exact same way when you need a document to have several pages.

To use Google Slides to create a series of worksheets or a booklet, you simply change the page settings to 8.5" x 11" or to whatever your page dimensions need to be. One reason I love using these tools in the Google suite of tools is that I no longer find myself searching through a bunch of (not very intuitive) menus to find the setting I'm looking for. I'm tired of fighting with Word over headers and footers that need to start after the cover and inside front cover, or which need to be different section to section. I'm a smart person who has taken MANY classes, and after twenty years, the software should NOT still be giving me headaches. The interface in the suite of Google tools is easy to learn to use. It's more intuitive than a word processor and makes editing or making small and large changes to layout a breeze.

A few features that I enjoy in Google Slides and Google Drawing include the following:

  • Images stay where I put them. I can easily resize using handles.
  • Double clicking an image allows me to CROP IT IN PLACE! (Be still, my heart.)
  • Columns of text stay where I put them, do not run onto the next page when my back is turned!
  • I don't find myself needing to turn on REVEAL CODES to see why my document's content is 'acting up.'
  • All my creations reside on my Google Drive, available to me from any computer hooked to the internet. No more carrying around a flash drive!
  • I can easily share with my colleagues and with you.
  • By embedding the document in my website, any improvements I make to the original on my Google Drive automatically feed through to the one on my website!!! (This is so time-saving since I am a tweaker.)
This week I used Google Slides to create a variety of activities to enrich an upcoming field trip to Jackson Park / Queen Elizabeth II Gardens that my multilevel seniors class has requested. 

If you teach LINC in Windsor's downtown core (or just want to see a booklet that was created in Google Slides), you can download this activity pack for use with your own class. With Bloom's Taxonomy in mind, I provided at least one activity for each level of this pedagogical hierarchy. This week I will show my students the choices and allow each student to choose the task with which he/she feels most comfortable and which promises to boost his/her engagement and challenge language use the most. All of this ties into the theme of Canada and Canadian history, which got a large number of votes during our recent needs assessment.

How do you use Google Docs, Sites, Drive, Drawing, Slides and other tools in the suite with your classes? If you don't yet, are you tempted to try?


  1. Kelly, this is so useful. I don't have time right now to search and learn new technologies to prep my work, but this sounds really easy and convenient. I am going to use it! Thanks for writing about it and sharing examples....and incorporating Bloom's connections. ��

    1. Maria,
      Thank you for taking time out of your busy grad school schedule to leave me this comment. It means a lot. We miss you! --K

  2. Echoing Maria - so much enticing candy that tugs at me -I could easily play all day....You were smart to use the down time in summer to get really competent...I have a smattering of this, a little of that ( well, quite a lot) to keep myself aware...but knowing that I have other priorities and requirements with my class and that at this stage the ROI on time invested isn't big enough. Frankly I'm waiting for the tech to get uber user friendly....
    Rather like saying I'm going to skip the pen and nib and wait for the Cross fountain pen!!! ( In my day the Shaeffer...) But thanks for sharing your journey..we learn vicariously...

  3. Claudie,
    I'm a tad envious of your proximity to retirement. I really need to learn the fine art of putting my needs for recreation on the front burner, or at least on the middle burner. As it is, I end up donating hours and hours and hours and hours to this profession and calling. I shouldn't be yearning for retirement now. I should learn how to balance my work and life. --K


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