Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Simple satisfactions

Let me just say that there is great personal satisfaction when I discover something new-to-me, something I can use, something I knew must exist but hadn't found yet.

Until last spring, I always used WordPerfect word processing. I learned on it in the beginning and was comfortable with the fit. It did all I needed at the time and I knew how to use it quickly and easily.

Then this past spring, the copier at work stopped receiving anything in WordPerfect from me over our wireless network. To continue my love affair with being able to send a copy of a test or quiz to the copier to print 25 copies without me having to physically go there and wait (and end up being the the workroom with some faculty that love teacher lounges, if you catch my innuendo), I made myself learn to use Word. While Word is not hard, it was, and still is, frustrating at times.

One thing I missed in Word was all the symbols to insert and use as bullets that I had in WordPerfect. Since I like to change small things up in small ways, I missed all those symbols. I could not understand why, oh why, Word didn't have all those neat symbols.

But today, by accident, I found them. And, oh, boy!, are there symbols! I found an apple, a world, eyeglasses, a cat, hand with pencil, and many other designs. Perfect!

So, if you happen to be in the same bullet-less situation I was in, in Word simply go to "insert," then "symbol." At that page, click "more symbols." Whatever font you are using often determines the different symbols (this is what I did not know). Lots of symbols are in Webdings and Wingdings.

I also get such satisfaction in using different, catchy fonts for handouts and tests. Oh yeah, and another trick I've learned is to put a watermark on the pages of a reading packet. At the beginning of most new books, I make up a reading packet which includes vocabulary, comprehension questions, and activities for each chapter. To spice it up, besides the font, I insert line drawings I find from the book or time period. (For Pilgrim's Progress, I found a great line drawing of Pilgrim with his burden. My kindred-spirit fellow teachers ooh-ed and ah-ed over this.) The more artsy students love to color-pencil these lightly. Others just like the enhancement.

Satisfaction in the simplest things. Keeps me smiling outwardly and saying yippie inwardly.

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