Design With Me: How to Design Fun & Engaging Teaching Resources for Your Digital Classroom

Have you been curious about how to make your own classroom resources for students? Beyond the simple Google Docs and copy/paste method, I mean? In my new video series, Design With Me, I go through the exact steps I take to design my popular teaching resources. 

First, be sure that you follow Markers and Minions on Facebook to keep up with my design tips and videos! Click the “like” button below ?

A few basics to get started: 

? You can design using Powerpoint or Google Slides. I have a pretty strong preference for Powerpoint. Here’s why: 

  1. First of all, it’s what I learned on, and I’m a bit stuck in my ways. 🙂
  2. I haven’t found anything better—there are tons of features available to you on PP that aren’t available anywhere else. For example, I can use fun custom fonts with PP that I can’t use in Slides. 
  3. It converts very easily to Google Slides, so you can create your designs and then convert to a cloud-based document. 

That being said, if you don’t have Powerpoint or just prefer the Google Suite, this process will be basically the same with just a few differences here and there. 

? Part of the goal is to create cute resources, yes, but making it easy, consistent, and intuitive for students and parents is the most important goal here!

Ready to dive into the basics of digital resource creation?

For Design With Me Episode 01, I show you how to create a basic Word Sort activity. If you’ve never created classroom resources like this before, you definitely need to start with this video, and be ready to pause and work alongside me! 

Step One: Set up your slideshow templates.

I suggest creating two new templates: 8.5×11 and 11×8.5. 

Slideshows default to 16:9 presentation size, which isn’t printer friendly. Even if you don’t intend to do much printing, trust me, this will save you a lot of headaches! Save these two template sizes so you can easily create printer-friendly portrait or landscape style documents. 

Step Two: Get to know your design elements. 

My video goes into step-by-step detail for this, but here is a quick summary of the elements you’ll be using to design digital resources for your classroom: 

Text Boxes 
Custom Fonts **not usable in Google Slides
Tables 
Shapes 
Icons **go to Insert → Icons, or go to Add-ons in Google Slides and search “flat icons”

Pro Tip: If you want your students to type on the document, use Tables, not Text Boxes!!! Trust me on this (and check out this post for the reason why). 

Step Three: Learn some design hacks!

Get familiar with some of my favorite digital resource design hacks!

Don’t eyeball it! 

Center your text in the box or table, then go to Arrange → Align or Distribute → Align Center. You can align horizontally and vertically!

Stock up on custom fonts when you can!

If you like fun fonts, stock up during TpT’s site-wide sales. You can also find tons of free options out there, or of course, use the default fonts for simplicity. Totally up to you! 🙂 

Planning to convert your Powerpoint to Google Slides? 

If you plan to convert this to Google Slides, you need to change the color of the table to be a white fill. Otherwise it won’t show up correctly. I usually add a solid line for the border of my tables, usually about 3 pt. font. 

Want students to drag and drop shapes, words, or other elements onto your document? 

You can add floating elements out to the side. For this word sort, I created a rectangle shape with a text box inside to type the word. Then, I duplicated the rectangle, and I added the relevant words to each box. 

Make your elements sticky, not slippery!

What exactly do I mean by that? Well, if you leave your elements as a shape + text box, a student can easily click the text box and drag it away from the shape. They don’t stick together!

The solution: take a screenshot of each element that needs to stick together, or right-click to save it as a PNG, and add it to your resource document. Now it’s an image, not a slippery text box/shape combo!

Be cautious if you’re designing to sell!

If you plan to offer your products on TpT or somewhere else, you have to purchase all the elements you use! I design in Powerpoint, which I own a commercial license for. I buy custom fonts, clipart, etc. You can get in some trouble if you use free resources, even the icons and such that come with Google, and then sell your products commercially. 

Step Four: Show off!

Share your beautiful creations! I love seeing all the resources you create—one great place to share is in the Markers and Minions Facebook Community

Be sure to like my Facebook page for all the Design With Me videos and more!

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