Generally, education is moving away from paper and locomoting to digital. This post is going to be about the reverse: Turning the digital into paper.

Digital provides endless possibilities for student creation. While I encourage many forms of online publication–it’s the easiest way to spread student work–they still get most excited about the old-fashioned form:

The hard copy.

A few of our hard copy publications

Each year, we publish a class literary journal for college composition. Each student chooses one of their favorite essays and does the following:

  • Edits the essay again for grammatical and style issues
  • Selects copyright free images to accompany their writing, OR creates their own images
  • Copies their writing into a template in Google Slides

There are some good online templates, such as Lucidpress. However, Google Slides is a quick and easy way to create a hard copy book AND an app that students are already familiar with.

Here’s how I do it.

  1. I create a Google Slides file and adjust the slides to be 8.5 x 11 inches.  I create several slides with  several templates.
  2. I distribute the file to students through Google Classroom and MAKE A SEPARATE COPY for each student.
  3. When students are finished pasting their essay & images, I open each file and copy/paste each student’s essay slides.*
  4. Download the file as a PDF
  5. Choose a publication company. I use MagCloud.

* You could certainly distribute the file as a shared file for the class. This will save the work of copy/pasting their slides into your master file.  I do this often for other activities. For this assignment, though, I wanted to avoid confusion of students creating slides, accidentally deleting others’ slides, not copy/pasting templates before use, etc.

On the last day of school, my seniors found their literary journals through a BreakoutEDU game. It was cool, but what was cooler: they spent the rest of the period signing each other’s pages, like the real authors they are.

Students selected from copyright free images or their own photography to pair with their writing.

Another publication of their found poetry collages. I took a photo of each collage, copied them into Google slides, and downloaded into a PNG. Very little time required!

You can also mix student art projects or other curricular projects into the book. Also notice the author profile in the bottom right. Students have the choice to write their own or partner up and write a classmate’s.