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Interactive Slides Backgrounds


Welcome to the 21st Century K podcast. I'm Hannah at Teach Elementary School and I help other teachers bridge the gap between traditional elementary and 21st century expectations. We're continuing with our series of episodes on tips and tricks for using interactive slides in your classroom, and today we're going to talk about creating background images that make everything else so much easier. Thanks for joining. Welcome back to our series on tips and tricks for using interactive slides in the classroom. The last couple of weeks we've talked about how to share slides Once you get them finished. We've talked about how to link text and images and embed videos in your slides for student use and family use and for your own planning, and this week we're going to get a little more into the nitty-gritty by talking about creating backgrounds for your interactive slides. 

When you think about creating an interactive slide, you probably have lots of ideas in your head or you've seen lots of other people's creations that are so cool. But when you open that Google Slides app and you're staring at a blank white rectangle, it might be overwhelming to know where to begin. So I always start with the background. Like what do I want the background to look like? Do I want it to look like a classroom. Do I want it to look just like organized and cohesive, or do I want it to have a certain aesthetic, with my color scheme or something that goes with the theme that we're learning? What is my intent with the slide deck? That's what I think about when I start to create a background for a new slide. How much text am I going to have? Where are my images going to go? And then what am I going to use this for? A template or a background that you would create for your lesson planning is obviously going to look a whole lot different than something you would create for a student instructional lesson and then also a daily focus slide that you're going to present. So you kind of have to know your purpose before you start building your background. But once you know that, it's time to think about what will go behind the scenes of your slides. And the reason this is important is because you need to make sure that, first of all, any clip art that you're using, that you have purchased, is locked away and hidden away in the background, so that if someone else were to use your clip art or use your slide deck, they couldn't lift the clip art, meaning if you just pile up a bunch of pictures on a slide and share it with someone. They can copy and paste or right click and save any of the things that you've put on that slide, unless you have them secure in the background. 

So I start by choosing a background color or finding a background picture that I want to use as the whole background of my slide, kind of like my, my slate, or if you're thinking about it in terms of like a bulletin board, the paper that goes on the background. So I pick something for that and then I begin to build in the things that I want my students and myself to be able to see but not manipulate. So if it's a Bitmoji classroom that I'm going to use for my daily slide deck, I might add in some images of bookshelves or a computer or a smart board screen or even an inspirational poster or a flag or a school logo. I can add just about anything that I want, as long as I realize what I'm adding will not be part of the manipulation. I can't exactly link any of the things in the background and my students will not be able to tamper with or move any of these things when I'm making a background slide for a lesson plan template. I might create white boxes for where I want things to go so that I can organize my thoughts or what I'm typing. I might add in my name or the subject titles for each column that I'm creating things that aren't going to change over the course of the year. I'll definitely add some kind of cute inspirational clip art and I'll choose a background color, maybe for the whole year or maybe just for each month that will go behind all of those boxes and all of those words that I'm adding on top. 

Now the tip here is to create backgrounds that you can add to another slide deck where you're going to put all the things that need to be manipulated on top, and the trick is saving those slides to insert them in your new slide deck as a background. So there's a couple of ways to do this. I love, love, love PowerPoint, so I create all of my backgrounds offline using PowerPoint on my laptop, because I'm still old school and that's what I love. You could do the same thing in Google Slides, but I prefer PowerPoint. 

If you create them offline in PowerPoint, there's a way to go in and save your slide, your PowerPoint slide, as a JPEG or a PNG image file. So you go to file save and then choose the drop down menu Instead of saving it as a PowerPoint. Go down and choose JPEG. It will ask you if you want to just save the slide you're working on or the entire slide deck. It will create a folder and it will save each of those slides as an image. Once you do that, then you can go on over to Google Slides, open up a slide deck right click or two finger click or insert background whatever your method for getting there is and upload the image from your computer and it will pop it right in the background. So then all of those things are secure. You can be sure that nobody's going to lift the clip art, nobody's going to move anything around or change anything if they get a hold of your slide deck and it is absolutely stuck there in the background. Nothing you do on top is going to change how the background looks. 

Now, google Slides, I think, can be saved this way, but it's a little trickier. So I bypass all of that, and when I create a background on a Google slide deck that I want to save as an image, I just either screenshot and crop down the entire computer screen or I use the snip tool and just snip that screen and save it as its own image, and then I upload it into a new slide deck, the same way I would a JPEG or a PNG that I saved from PowerPoint. Once you do that, then you start adding all those links, all that text, all those images, maybe even something that you might change weekly, like your little bitmoji or the images of covers of books that you're going to link. You can put those right on your little shelf that's in the background. It not only makes it easier to use and less likely that anyone can make changes, but it also makes your slide decks load a lot faster. So the trick is that once all of that heavy graphic is in the background, you don't have to wait for each individual thing to load when you open your slide deck. If you've ever used a slide deck from someone who hasn't secured their background, you'll know that when you pop that slide open, it sometimes takes a while for every little image and every little piece to pop up. And when you get carried away layering stuff like I do, who knows how many things might be in the background. 

This week's tip is create your own personalized backgrounds, save them as images and then pop them into the background of your slide deck so that you can add all the interactive parts and pieces, all the linkable texts and images on top, so that you've secured your clip art, nobody's going to make changes and your slides will load a whole lot faster. Hope this helps. Thanks for listening. Still feeling stuck on creating your own backgrounds? I get it. That white rectangle can be really overwhelming when you sit down to create something new from scratch. That's why I've created a new resource with over 100 pre-designed, coordinated background images that you can copy and paste right into your own slide decks and then add on top to your heart's content. You can find this resource by clicking the link in the show notes. Maybe you're ready to make your own, but you need a little more guidance. I've got you covered too. CLICK HERE to learn more about 21st Century K's Interactive Slides Masterclass!

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