Another Handful of Handy Handout Tips

I’ve recently started using some cool hand-out strategies that I’d like to share with my regular readers. As you know I wrote another post on worksheets which was fairly popular and I guess everyone likes useful tips so here’s a quick post.

  • How to save paper

I am at a risk of making a fool of myself because just all of you have been doing it forever, but a colleague at work hadn’t known so chances are it will be useful to some of you here, too.

The tip is: if you have your handout in a pdf document and there isn’t much text (otherwise it would be too small and difficult to read), print two handouts on one A4 sheet of paper and cut in half for two students. How do you get two same pdfs on one page? Use this wonderful tool: https://www.ilovepdf.com/, specifically its “Merge” function: https://www.ilovepdf.com/merge_pdf. Merge two identical documents, set your print options to print two tabs on one page and there you are. Your boss will thank you and the planet will thank you.

  • How to make badges for students

I recently wanted to include badges for a reflection stage of an Office English class. The idea was that students would reflect on how they did in the lesson and award themselves a badge. At first, I wanted to create badges in Canva but then it struck me how long it would take and I got the idea that the badges can in fact, be symbolic! So all I did was insert a table in my MS Word document with a text and that was it! Very easy to do and very effective. It even got some attention on Twitter:

  • Lay-out in MS Word:

Speaking of tables, the simplest way to insert an image in the document is to insert it in a table, which makes it much easier to manipulate.

  • Textivate:

I’ve been using my recently purchased Premium Textivate subscription daily and I really think it is worth the cost. I can use it for both languages I teach, Czech and English. I love the PRINT function. My favourite exercises to print are:

  • Mixed paragraphs – I use it for short 7-9 sentence stories, jumbled.
  • User-defined gapfill – for Reading exercises, especially now when we’re training for the Czech exam
  • Missing letters 50:50 –  great for spelling and also for Czech endings. I usually go for 1/3 of words as it seems a doable amount.
  • Jumbled sentences – great for word order, especially to train the “second position” in Czech.

All in all, if you use all the above on one short text, you can make a whole lot of useful exercises for your students in no time. Then download the four documents as pdf, merge into one, print two on one page double-sided and you’re ready to go.

  • Don’t panic!

If you notice in class there is a mistake in your worksheet, don’t panic. A worksheet is what it is. A work – sheet. It is used for practice, not to be framed on a wall. Your students will write all over them, fold them in half and stick them among all the other paper from classes. Don’t be careless when writing them, but be reasonable about how much time, effort and polishing you need to do.

6 thoughts on “Another Handful of Handy Handout Tips

  1. Hi Kamila,

    I like the badges idea! Much better this way, I think, for regular classes (as opposed to online). It doesn’t actually take that long to design them in Canva but I see you had six in the tweet, so, yes, this is far quicker yet serves the same purpose.

    I’m also a big fan of Textivate – I have the same subscription you do and love the option of embedding activities in Moodle. Re ilovepdf.com, I only found out about the website last year, from a coworker and was thrilled with all the options. I have a question though: why do you need to use pdfs for handouts? I would always prepare my worksheets in Word (and recently Google Docs) and print directly, so maybe I’m missing something obvious here?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Vedrana,

      Thank you for reading and the comment. Regarding Textivate, I started making sequences for my students as homework. Some love it, but in my Czech class only a third of the students do them. I was actually quite disappointed. They need more practice but if you give it to them, the response is weak. As for the pdf worksheets, the need also came from using Textivate, which downloads as a pdf file and I needed a tool to condense 2 in 1. I still use Word for my worksheets. I use Google Docs for my class updates and attendance. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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