Eco-Friendly School Center by Slidesgo

Templates and Tools for Designing Presentations

First of all, to all of my teaching friends who have started back to school, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart how much I appreciate all that you do. I hope that this school year will present fewer challenges than last. Many of you probably have mixed feelings about beginning another year, and my wish is that we can all support each other as much as possible. With that in mind, I wanted to publish this post of some tools that can help make things easier.

Last year, I posted this article that is chock full of interactive slide templates designed by myself and others, and are ready for you to copy and download for free.

Though many of you know about the SlidesMania website (which is very supportive of educators), you may not know that the author also has an IconsMania website where you can download free icons also. She also has a Facebook Group and Wakelet collection. And if you really appreciate all that Paula does as a community service to educators, click on the coffee icon in the bottom right corner so you can buy her a mocha or two. I put one of Paula’s recent slides, Funfair Exit Ticket, at the bottom of this post.

Another site I like to visit for free slide designs is SlidesGo. One fun tool that I recently discovered by clicking on the More button at the top is Storyset. On Storyset, you can find customizable illustrations that you can download for free (with attribution), and it’s easy to use the online tools to change colors, select certain features of the illustration to hide, and decide the file type (svg or png). If you really want to explore the rabbit hole of free design options, click on that More button at the top of SlidesGo yourself, and investigate some of the other sites.

SlidesCarnival has been a long time favorite of mine when I need some inspiration, and Canva is another spot where I find them (some options are limited on the free plan, though).

Matt Miller of Ditch that Textbook has Social Media templates ready to go for you. (Be sure to check out his ULTIMATE Google Slides Teacher Resource when you have time for a really deep dive!)

If you want to play around with color on your presentations, I highly recommend the Coolors tool. I recently published this post with some other options, too. It includes a link to a Slides activity where students design their own color palettes – which would be an awesome “Getting To Know You” lesson!

To add some interest to your presentation, you can include animated GIF’s. Or, find free images with Pixabay, Unsplash, All4Ed, Photos4Class, Pexels, or Pics4Learning.

Whenever you can, make your presentations interactive using PearDeck or Nearpod.

Lastly, if you need some reminders of what NOT to do in a presentation, you can chuckle at this Worst Preso Ever that was crowdsourced several years ago. It was always a favorite for my students when we started working on Genius Hour!

Back to School SCAMPER final slide

Back to School S.C.A.M.P.E.R. (Digital Versions)

I am slowly updating a lot of my materials, and I just completed my “Back to School S.C.A.M.P.E.R.” A quick recap of S.C.A.M.P.E.R.:  S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is an acronym used to help one remember some great tools for creative thinking. “Substitute” is the first tool, followed by “Combine”, “Adapt”, “Modify”, “Put to Another Use”, “Eliminate”, and “Rearrange.” I originally created a TPT packet several years ago, after being inspired by Miss Trayers in this post. But I am trying to offer more of my materials for free and digitally.

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. makes a great activity any time of the year, and especially during the first few days of school as you try to learn more about your students and how they think. I would often do the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. prompts on my own while they worked so they could learn a little bit about me as well. They can be used as warm-ups, in centers, and even reward activities.

I have developed a few S.C.A.M.P.E.R. products over the years, and my students love it when I pass out the activity pages.  My more recent updates include Google Slides and Jamboard versions, such as this one for the Winter Holidays and my St. Patrick’s Day set.

There are always several students that wow me with their unique responses.  You can see some student examples from a few years ago here.

I used a template from SlidesGo to make my updated Back to School S.C.A.M.P.E.R., as well as illustrations from Storyset.com.

Here is the link to the Google Slides version of Back to School S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

And here is the link to the Jamboard version.

Speaking of Jamboard, I will be adding this to my Wakelet of Jamboard templates. For more Jamboards that promote creativity, I definitely recommend the ones by Julia Dweck, all of which she has linked here.

Click here for the Slides version.

A Ziploc full of Play-Doh

You’re probably familiar with the Holderness family’s silly music videos.  Here is their latest, just in time for Back-to-School, and perfect for this week’s Phun Phriday post.

Don’t you wish every school supply list included Play-Doh (and Legos)?

Back to School – Designed by Students

How cool is this?!!!! Staples collaborated with students at The Ron Clark Academy to design brand new school supplies.  The pupils went through the Design Process to create products that are useful and appealing.  You can see the students presenting their ideas in the video below.

Here is a link to the full list of student-designed products that can now be found on the shelves and online at Staples.  I am so impressed with the ingenuity of these students, and wish I had some of these items when I was attending school!  If you have a child shopping for the brand new year, consider purchasing one of these great supplies.  And, if you are a teacher, consider the value of allowing students to come up with an idea and see it through to a conclusion where it impacts people in the real world.

Floating Locker Shelves designed by students at the Ron Clark Academy and available at Staples
Floating Locker Shelves designed by students at the Ron Clark Academy and available at Staples

Portable Desk designed by students at The Ron Clark Academy - available for purchase at Staples
Portable Desk designed by students at The Ron Clark Academy – available for purchase at Staples

Superhero S.C.A.M.P.E.R.

I think my compadre over at “Not Just Child’s Play” and I are having some kind of mind meld because she posted about S.C.A.M.P.E.R. as I was already in the throes of preparing this post!  I love her ideas for Back to School scampering, and actually had a similar idea that I included in my own Back to School Packet.

A quick recap of S.C.A.M.P.E.R.:  S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is an acronym used to help one remember some great tools for creative thinking. “Substitute” is the first tool, followed by “Combine”, “Adapt”, “Modify”, “Put to Another Use”, “Eliminate”, and “Rearrange.”

I have developed a few S.C.A.M.P.E.R. products over the years, and my students love it when I pass out the activity pages.  There are always several students that wow me with their unique responses.  You can see some of my previous S.C.A.M.P.E.R. posts with student examples here.

I recently added a S.C.A.M.P.E.R. Through the Seasons packet to my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.  The cost is $8, and includes 7 pages for each of the 4 seasons, plus Back to School – so 35 pages total.  (If you have previously purchased the Summer, Spring, or Winter Holidays packet, then I would recommend buying the Back to School and Autumn packets separately.)

I went a little wild this weekend, and decided it would be fun to create a Superhero packet as well.  The Superhero packet is going to be free until this Thursday, August 15th.  You can download it here.  I have included a sample below.  I used the Superhero Comic Book Maker app ($2.99) by Duck Duck Moose to create the graphics.

These activities are great at a center, as rewards, as challenges for students who have completed other work, and as warm-up activities.  It’s always fun to see the final results!

substitutesuperhero