The overhead projector is standard fare in most classrooms, and
a large step up from the chalkboard. You can face the class instead
of turning your back to write on a board. Veteran teachers may seem
to have eyes in the backs of their heads, but this was a necessary
mutation before overheads were common.
All kinds of organizers look good on overheads. Need samples? Try
Organizers from the Activities Bank provided by Schools of California
Online Resources for Education (SCORE).
- What looks good on an overhead?
- What technology do you have to produce it?
- Will you be adding to it during class?
If it's text you want students to be able to read, a larger than
normal font (like 16 or 24) will show up well. And set the page
orientation in your software and printer to landscape rather than
portrait. Landscape fits much better on an overhead projector. Using
a larger font oriented to landscape will limit you to about 12 lines
of text per transparency, but it will be readable.
In an ideal world, every teacher would have the means to create
fabulous presentations for the classroom while lounging around at
home. We would knock out a dazzling lesson on the computer, then
upload the files to the school to be waiting when we walked into
the classroom. Maybe we'd even send in the order to copy the documents
for every student. But in the real world, you have to make the most
of what you have.
Keep a set of transparency pens handy for adding ideas and color to
your transparency while you use it in class. Place a clean, clear
transparency over the one you are using so you don't smudge your original.
You can clean off most transparencies with a damp paper towel for
re-use. While you're at it, clean the dust off the bed of the overhead
and wipe the lens.
- Inkjet printers produce excellent overheads. Just purchase
the right transparencies, and use them sparingly. (They can run
fifty cents or more each.) Most ink jet printers have a setting
for transparencies, and the color transfers well.
- More likely, you'll have access to a xerox copier. Again, it's
important to use the right kind of transparency, or the machine
will jam. Black lines and text reproduce well, but forget the
color in most schools.
- Some may still be using thermofax technology. Ask a veteran
how the machine works. These can be temperamental, and large open
fonts work best.
- If you do have presentation software, like Powerpoint, use
it to produce your overheads. You can add color graphics and a
color background if you have access to a color printer.