documentation,  how to,  panels,  Project Approach,  reggio emilia

How to Create a Documentation Panel Using Power Point

I create all of my documentation panels using Microsoft Power Point, this might seem kind of strange, but I’ve found that it gives me the most freedom when moving and manipulating photos and text. I’m going to walk you through how I do it – and I don’t do tutorials because I always miss a photo or an important step, so it must be pretty easy if I’m doing the tutorial!

I hope that my screenshots will make it easy for you to follow along, the first two steps are the most important, and the ones that I tend to forget, so if you can get these, the rest will be easy!

1. Open Power Point and re-size your slide so that it is the same size as the paper that you want to print the panel on. To do this go to the Design tab and select Page Setup

2. Set the size of your slide by changing the measurements.  In most cases it will be 8.5”x11” but you may also choose to create a legal size or larger panel, depending on your printer’s capabilities.  

3. Move the Title Box to the top of the page and type a title for your panel.

4. Move the Subtitle Box off the page, you’ll come back to it later.

5. Insert photos by going to the Insert tab and selecting Picture.

6. Move and re-size your photos until they fit the way that you want them to.  

7. Move the Subtitle Box where you would like to place the text on the page and re-size it if necessary. 

8. Type your text – this can be a description of the photos, a transcript of a conversation between students that corresponds with the photos, or a summary of what the children discovered throughout the investigation or experience pictured. 

9. Add another text box.  Go to the Insert tab and select Text Box, then draw the text box where you want it.

10. Type the standards or early learning guidelines that are aligned with this activity, experience, or investigation.

11. Add another text box and place in a corner of the page.  Type in the date.

12.Print your panel.

See, I told you it was pretty easy.  Now, what you’re going to put on the panel, that’s all up to you, but I do have a couple of tips;
  • Use photos that really show the children learning – can you see the look on their face, or what their hands are doing? Those photos tell the story.
  • Don’t feel pressure to include a photo of every child in your class, over time you will create many panels with many photos of many children, you will include them all over time.  A panel is for those “Aha! Moments” and every child does not have the same enlightening moments at the same time, or during the same activity. 
  • Instead of simply describing the activity (that is what your lesson plans are for), write about how the children responded to the materials, the things that they said to each other, and the questions or exclamations that you heard throughout the experience.  You could also write about the things that they said after the investigation was over. 
  • If you don’t want to spend a ton of time moving and sizing photos, you can use my Documentation Panel Templates, there are 8 templates with space for photos, titles, and text.
For more documentation ideas check out these posts

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