Self-Publishing: A How-To For Students and Teachers

» 10 January 2013 » In Guest post, How To, Literacy, Publishing » No Comments

Publishing with PowerPoint is a new book that guides teachers and students through the process of creating and publishing their own books. It’s written by three dear friends and former colleagues – Patricia Martin, MaryAnn McAlpin and Suzanne Meyer. For a few years I had the chance to collaborate with them on some student publishing projects. They’ve continued to hone their skills on broad array of innovative projects. Recently they compiled all they’ve learned into an easy to use guide to using PowerPoint as a book design tool and how to team PPT with the exciting new technology of on-demand printing. Publishing with PowerPoint – available at Amazon

Here’s their guest post detailing the book:

Publishing is an effective tool for getting students engaged and writing. The new book, Publishing with PowerPoint, walks the reader through a process of self-publishing that can be used in any classroom. PowerPoint is an effective book design software – it’s already on your computer and everyone know how to use it. Students find it easy to use PowerPoint templates and position a wide range of text and images on a PPT slide. Powerpoint slides can be quickly grouped and rearranged into book pages. Finally, converting PowerPoint slides into pdfs for publishing can be done with the “Save As” function. Visit Amazon Books / Publishing with PowerPoint to see the use of templates and layouts on the sample pages.

The teacher with a limited budget can print just one copy for the classroom. Parents can order their own copies online.

Publishing with PowerPoint was published through Createspace, an Amazon company, using the process detailed in the book. Once the slides were created, the authors merely converted the slides to PDF’s and sent the result to Createspace. For example, a 32 page, 8.5”X11” color book would cost its authors about $4.00 a copy plus $3.59 shipping and handling. (The shipping and handling costs are calculated at $3.00 per order and $.59 per item). Lulu, another popular on-demand publisher, would price a similar book at $13.42 plus shipping and handling.

The magic of on-demand printing is that the teacher with a limited budget can print just a single copy for the classroom. Both Createspace and Lulu offer options for easy distribution. PTAs or families who want copies can log in and order their own. No need for teachers to take book orders.

The thought of publishing with students might seem daunting - I’ve got too much on my plate as it is! But if you believe in the power of PBL and motivation of writing for an authentic audience, you’ll appreciate this detailed guide book.  It offers an overview of the resources necessary for successful publishing. Readers learn how to use PowerPoint’s built-in tools for template design, layout or page design, creating facing pages, and inserting images. The book is organized to walk the reader through the process, detail-by-detail, in the exact order in which the publishing process happens.

The second half of the book is devoted to content. Teachers will realize that content is actually the initial consideration whether looking at writing process or traits of writing. But, it seemed important to the authors that the book present the techniques of publishing (the new information) before reviewing the writing and organization of content for publishing (the prior learning). Using examples from our publishing experiences, the book includes a wide range of samples representing different grade levels, fiction or non-fiction, single-author or anthology that the teachers can use as models.

The book exemplifies the ease with which students can complete the writing process by publishing their work to a wide audience with tools available in a classroom. Hopefully the book will illustrate to its readers the versatility and creativity that PowerPoint can bring to the self-, or on-demand, publishing process. For the teacher who wants to publish electronically the book is an equally invaluable resource to enable students to produce a quality final product. Formatting pages through PowerPoint and creating pdfs work equally well for that application.

Teachers inexperienced with publishing and limited resources do not have to eliminate student publishing options. Publishing with PowerPoint and the use of economical self-publishing can bring this opportunity to any classroom.

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My TypePad to WordPress Conversion

» 06 July 2011 » In Commentary » 4 Comments


Thinking of migrating from TypePad to WordPress? When I first started blogging back in ’05 I was a bit confused by WordPress, so I opted for TypePad. TypePad has been easy to use, but I’ve enviously watched WordPress evolve into a far superior platform. Here’s how Foliovision smoothly managed my recent move.

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Looking at Student Work: Teacher Led Professional Development

» 11 February 2010 » In How To, Literacy, PD, Strategies, Students, Teachers » 7 Comments

looking work featured

The centerpiece of our sessions is looking at student work. Teachers were asked to bring two assignments with at least two samples of student work for each task to serve as a springboard for collegial discussion. Most importantly, teachers supported each other in school-embedded professional development.

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A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals (Part 1)

» 04 January 2010 » In Commentary, How To, Leadership, Literacy, Reflection, Strategies » 42 Comments


Part I of IV. In an effort to help schools become more reflective learning environments, I’ve developed this “Taxonomy of Reflection.” – modeled on Bloom’s approach. It’s posted in four installments and includes reflective guides for students, teacher and principals.

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Reluctant Reader as Author

» 16 January 2008 » In Guest post, Literacy, Publishing, Strategies » No Comments

reluctant reader featured

Cuyler, a winsome first grader, has published his first book. The experience encouraged him to exclaim, “I’m going to publish more than 1000 books. I have so much more to say.” By providing text that supports him as a reader and validates him as a writer, Cuyler is on the path of literacy. And he is an excited traveler who wants to know “how many days until we go back to that learning lab so I can publish books.”

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Five Reasons Why I Blog

» 05 March 2007 » In Commentary » No Comments


Blogs compensate for my lack of originality. They allow me to easily synthesize content from different sources and present it in a new context. As W. Somserset Maugham said, “…Quotation…is a serviceable substitute for wit.” (See, I borrowed again. ) That why I call my blog Copy / Paste. – and here’s 4 more reasons why I blog.

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Writing the Book on Test Prep

» 15 January 2007 » In Ed Policy, Ed Tech, Publishing, Students » No Comments

I don’t think the answer to improving student achievement is by narrowing the curriculum to devote more time to test prep. As I said in a prior posting.. “as if being a struggling learner is not punishment enough, increasing numbers are pulled out of classes that offer hands-on learning and outlets for their creativity. What […]

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Parents’ Literacy Publishing Project

» 20 December 2006 » In Guest post, Literacy, Publishing » No Comments


I’m very excited by a project designed by a Patricia Martin, a friend and colleague. The project engaged parents as literacy partners with their children. It included opportunities for parents to reflect on their learning and reading experiences with their children. Pat documented the entire project in a book, published using print on demand technology. […]

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Literacy Strategies for the Multi-Ability Classroom: Part III

» 22 February 2006 » In Literacy » 2 Comments

This week I’m beginning a new series of workshops for teachers from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services – a dedicated group of teachers with a strong commitment to helping their students build motivation, positive self image and academic skills. The goal is to share strategies for working with struggling readers […]

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Literacy Strategies for the Multi-Ability Classroom: Part II

» 08 January 2006 » In Literacy, Strategies » No Comments

Teachers responded well to my tri-fold guide for struggling readers: Non-Reader, Word Caller and Turned-Off Reader. See: Literacy Strategies for the Multi-Ability Classroom, Part I To help teachers incorporate literacy strategies in their classrooms, Pat Martin and I went on to develop a series of targeted kits for critical skill development: Tools for the Word […]