The humble worksheet. Some teachers love them, some teachers dread them, but they crop up in most, if not all, classrooms at least once in a school year. They’re helpful when a CRT has to wrangle your class for you, and they can be useful for introducing new learning skills.
When I say ‘worksheet’ I mean anything where students are required to read information and complete questions and activities, therefore I also include textbooks. Because I’m a Humanities teacher, those history textbooks come to mind immediately. I have to say, I’m not a fan. While the pictures are always amazing, and the hardest thing about using them is dragging 25 copies from the storeroom to your classroom (and then to the next classroom, and then back to the storeroom), I’ve always found they’re reading comprehension exercises more than anything else. That’s why I think making your own worksheets is often better for your students (but if you don’t want to, check out the ones on offer at Platypi Learning Resources – they may be just what you’re after).
For years I made my worksheets in good old Word. And there’s nothing wrong with that – you can create perfectly functional worksheets using your word-processor and, in fact, this Anne Frank worksheet is the perfect example of that. But, I’m a big believer that small changes can make a big difference, and that’s what I’ve found having moved from making worksheets in Word, to making them in PowerPoint.
If Word works fine, why make worksheets in PowerPoint?
That’s a fair enough question. What it comes down to is using the right tool, for the right job, in order to save yourself time and effort.
Word is a word-processor. It’s main job is to make it easy for you and me to type and structure our written work. When you want to get creative in Word, though, it’s less easy. Adding clipart, or any image, to your Word document requires you to fiddle around with text-wrapping. We’ve all been in the situation where you’ve written your text, added in an image and had all your text jump to the next page. Of course you can fix it, but it’s an extra step and one you have to complete each time you insert an image.
PowerPoint, on the other hand, is designed to handle mixed media. Because it’s a presentation tool, it copes easily with adding both text and images to your worksheets. Resizing and positioning text and images is far easier in PowerPoint than Word because you don’t have to worry about text-wrapping.
But how does a PowerPoint become a worksheet?
If you haven’t used PowerPoint to make your worksheets before, you may be wondering how to make them into useable hardcopies. The answer is to convert your presentation into PDF. You can see how simple this is in the clip below.
Not only can you now print your worksheets, but you can also share them electronically with your students if that works best for your (or their) situation.
What if I want to keep using Word?
There’s lots of reasons you might not want to switch to using PowerPoint for your worksheets. If you’re comfortable with a tool and it works for you, why change? There are ways to make it easier for you though. In the clip below you can see how using text wrapping, positioning and the selection pane gives you more ease when adjusting your layout.
I hope this has been a useful post for you, and it’s given you some ideas on how to make you worksheet creation simpler. If you’re looking to simplify it even more, then head over to my store on Teachers Pay Teachers to see if any of those worksheets would fit your needs.