One of my favorite teachers to work with is the French teacher because she's a big library user and always willing to try something new. She was recently in the library to work on French 1's "Country Newsletter Project." In the past, she has used Microsoft Publisher to create a newsletter.
One of my biggest frustrations with Google (aside from the fact that Google Slides does not support voice narration!) is that there is no equivalent of Publisher in Google tools. I wish there was. I've found I could use Google Slides in a variety of ways to imitate Publisher, but this project baffled me at first.
(By the way, did you know that you can make flyers with Google Slides? I use it for a TON of flyers that I make, and I love how easy it is to manipulate text and pictures within it. See "Technology" and my Google Slide tutorial there for more info!)
The teacher wanted to make a "newsletter" that looked like a newspaper, with a three column look. She wanted pictures to be involved as well. I could have used Google Slides, but I decided to experiment with Canva instead.
Canva is a website that allows you to make virtual magazines, flyers, posters, etc. It has a lot of built in clip art you can use for free or has various elements you can pay for. They have a lot of really beautiful layouts and elements that students will find very visually appealing. One thing that's kind of cool about the elements you pay for is that you don't have to pay for them if you don't download the project. So if you were to just have your students turn a link into you on Google Classroom or otherwise, they could use whatever elements in there they want!
However, for this project I was create a template. I could *quite* do everything that this tool could do, but the teacher was happy with the product we created.
Take a look HERE to see the newsletter template I created for her.
Now, onto how exactly we will hand out this template to students in order to edit.
Then, I will tell the in another tab to go to canva.com. There's an option on the front page to sign in using Google. All they have to do is click that and authorize it since they are already logged into Classroom.
After they are logged into BOTH websites, have the students click on the link in Google Classroom to open the template.
Make sure the students go to "File" in the upper left hand corner and then click "Make a copy." This will give them their own copy to work on in a new tab. Then tell them to close the old copy in the new tab.
This is why I ALWAYS make sure I have a backup copy in my Canva account. One student is bound to not to that step and start editing your original document. You can always undo this by clicking the undo button in the upper right hand corner, but it's just a step I like to avoid!
Now the students should have their own copy of the template they can manipulate and make their own!
Experiment with Canva more and you'll see all kinds of great uses for it. It is just another toy that's nice to have up your sleeve when it comes to graphic projects!
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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