Sunday, October 14, 2012

Technology Tutorial: Making Binder Covers & Spines

Reader, Brianne, sent left me a comment on the last post, asking if I could post a tutorial on how to create the binder covers. Of course!

I now create everything in PowerPoint {thanks to Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files}. I had no idea you could create full page printables with PP, but I learned that I could from Kristen. I used to use Word, but PP is so much easier.

Step 1: Open PowerPoint and delete the text boxes so you have a blank slide.

Step 2: Select the "Design" tab and then "Page Setup". A box will pop up and you'll need to change the following settings:
  • Slides sized for: Letter Paper (8.5x11 in.)
  • Orientation >> Slides: Portrait
You can select any size you want for your page under this setting. So if you have a different binder size, this is where you can customize it to fit your needs.

Step 3: Still under the "Design" tab, select "Background Styles" >> "Format Background". A box will pop up. Make sure you're on the "Fill" selection screen. Select the "Picture or Texture Fill" circle. Click "Insert from File..." and find the background clip art you want to use. If the background looks funny, try checking the "Tile picture as texture" box. Close the box.
The backgrounds I used are from Mel Stampz. They're free to download and use, as long as you're not using them to create files that you're going to profit from.

Step 4: Select the "Insert" tab. Click on "Shapes" and select the rectangle shape. Draw the box on your slide to whatever size you want. It doesn't need to be perfectly centered. We'll fix that in a minute.

Step 5: Click on your box to select it, then click the "Format" tab. Change the shape fill to white, the shape outline to white or no outline, and add a shadow under "Shape Effects" if you wish. To center the box on the slide, click on Align {on the right side, under the "Format" tab}. Select center and middle.

Step 6: Right click on the box and select "Edit Text". Type in whatever you want on the page. You can change the color/size/font/etc.

Step 7: If you want your text outlined in white, select the "Format" tab while the text is selected {highlighted} and then click "Text Outline". You can also add a shadow under "Text Effects". Font by Kimberly Geswein - KG Be Still & Know.

Step 8: When printing, click on the "Full Page Slides" drop down and make sure "Scale to Fit Page" and "High Quality" are selected. If these two are not selected before printing, your page will have a large white border around it and any shadowing will not print out.

If you're looking to create several binder covers, you can simply create one, then right click on the slide preview at the left and select "Duplicate Slide". Now all you have to do is change the background design and the text.

For the spines, it's pretty much the same directions, but I'll show you the differences.

Keep the page turned landscape, but change the page size to 8.5x11 in. Draw a rectangle shape. When selected, click the "Format" tab and make sure the dimensions {on the right side} are 0.9" high and 10" wide. {0.9" high fits a 1 inch binder spine perfectly. Whatever size you're using, choose 0.1" less than the size for the height.} Align >> center. While still selected, click the drop down menu "Shape Fill" and select "Picture..."

Again, find and choose the background clip art you want. Right click on the image and select "Format Picture..."

Select "Fill" from the choices on the right of the pop up box. Check the "Tile picture as texture" box. I also changed the "Transparency" to 50% so the text is easier to read once you type on top of it. Close the box.

Right click on the box again, and select "Edit Text". Type in whatever you want on it. Again, you can change the font/size/colors/shadows/outlines/etc. the way I showed you above.

When printing, select the high quality and scale to fit page options. I print my spines on card stock so they're easier to insert into the side of the binder.

I hope this tutorial was useful for you!

Any questions?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Year So Far... Back to School Night 2012

This year has been a whirlwind of craziness already. I think I may finally be somewhat settled into my new schedule, commute, school, students, etc. I spend 35 minutes commuting each way. I'm at school an hour and a half early and usually force myself to leave at 4 p.m. each day {when my contracted hours end}.

I'm enjoying my new school and students, but boy-oh-boy do I have a tough class this year - behaviorally and academically. We're working through it - slowly, but surely. I have a teaching assistant who bounces back and forth between the other 4th grade and my class. We have 53 kids in 4th grade. I absolutely love my teaching partner. He's absolutely amazing and we work so well together. We're rotating in the afternoon. I teach science and art. He teaches P.E./health and social studies. It's so much fun to have 53 students who all feel like mine.

It's been difficult starting in a brand new school. It's nice to have a brand new building, supplies, etc. But I am literally starting from scratch with our language arts and math programs. Last year, I could go to other grade level teachers and ask for resources and ideas/suggestions. This year, I am the "experienced" teacher on my grade level. This is my partner's first year. You'd never know though - he's really great in the classroom. We're figuring everything out together.

While Office Depot had their pocket folders on sale for a penny, I purchased 30 to use for BTS Night. I labeled each folder and placed all parent info inside. I placed a folder on each desk so when families came in, they could take their folder with them. I also created a true or false guessing game for students to take. I found the idea somewhere online last year, but couldn't find the source to credit it in this post {I didn't pin it}. If this was your idea, please leave me a comment so I can credit you!

I got the idea for the folders & parent contact info sheet from Amanda @ Mrs. Terhune's First Grade.
The documents I included are:
  • An introduction letter to parents from me
  • Mrs. Ford's FAQs
  • My classroom disclosure
  • Student supply list
  • Volunteer survey
  • Getting To Know Your Child survey {from Cara @ The First Grade Parade}
  • Parent contact information sheet

My donation tree was inspired by Mrs. Santana @ The Learning Tree. I created a sign to put by the tree, asking parents to donate, if they could.

More coming later...I still have a bunch to share! =]