When I find a good template online, it makes me want to jump for joy. Templates save us time. They give us ideas and get us started. And when we find a good one, students benefit.
Do you ever wish you could create your own templates? When you do …
It may not be as hard — or as time-consuming — as you think.
Plus, you can use Google tools that you’re already familiar with to create them.
With a good template, you can create …
Sketch it out on a sheet of paper. Make a bulleted list. For many people, identifying their goals and the basics first makes things easier. If you can imagine your template in your mind, you can skip this step.
Here’s why Google Slides reigns for most templates:
If you really, really need to use Google Docs, create your document and jump down to STEP 7 below.
Google Slides defaults to a 16:9 ratio for its slides — the standard for most LCD projectors.
But wait — your students likely won’t be projecting your template to a projector, right?
In that case, let’s make the page whatever size we want! Some things to consider:
Resize your slides using File > Page setup.
To change the dimensions of your slides in Google Slides, go to File > Page setup.
The title. The instructions. Images. An outline/frame around where student responses will go.
Anything that students won’t write on and manipulate. That’s where we start.
Whether you’re doing a one-page template or a multi-page template, design everything students won’t change first.
TIP: If you like the idea above of creating an outline/frame around what students will type or add …
Use shapes to show students where to put items or where to write.
Once you’ve created everything your students won’t change, it’s time to make it all immovable. Locking everything into the background will prevent students from moving things — accidentally or intentionally!
This saves your slide as an image file. Think about it. You can’t move anything around on a single image file! This is what locks it into place.
Now, you need to insert this image of your slide as the slide background. Here’s how I suggest doing it …
If you have multiple pages, you can do this same process for each slide in your template. (Note: When you download slides as images, it will continue to save with the same filename but with a number. Keep an eye on how it generates new file names and you’ll figure out which one is which.)
Here’s an example of a page where I locked items in place as the background image.
On the STUDENT template, you should have all of your slides with the new backgrounds.
Now it’s time to add the parts that the students will interact with. This could be text boxes. It could be shapes and images you want them to drag into place.
You have two places to put the parts students will change/write on …
With this template, I left lots of icons for students to use in the workspace. I kept the slide blank so students could create in it.
There are several ways to do this!
With Google Classroom …
Make a copy of a file for each student by clicking “Make a copy for each student” in the attachment drop-down in Google Classroom.
With another learning management system (LMS) like Canvas, Schoology or Blackboard …
To force students to make their own copy of your template to use, change the word “edit” and everything after it to “copy”.
With no learning management system (LMS) …
Now, your students should have access to your template — AND they should get their own copy of it!
Here’s some more good news …
You can reuse your template for other lessons! This is great for making new templates that are similar to the one you just made.
Just go to File > Make a copy to copy your template. Then you can remix it to use it for other lessons instead of creating a brand new template from scratch!
We even have a “Templates” page on our website with TONS of ready to use resources for you! Our Google Slides and Google Drawings templates get your students to work quickly. Make a copy. Adjust as necessary. Assign to your students. Yep, that easy. Check them all out at ditchthattextbook.com/resources/templates.
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