I thought I'd have a go this year at teaching children in Year 5 how to make printable posters in PowerPoint themselves. Now, this might not seem pretty original but I do think there's some value in showing the children how to properly position and align different elements so that they look attractive on the page rather cluttered.
The simple process which I demonstrate to them as they follow along is:
1. Set the size of your poster - PowerPoint automatically creates posters that will print out landscape but you can use the page settings to change the size of the slide to A4 portrait if you wanted to.
2. Insert/apply a picture as the background. Inserting it as the background rather than just a normal image means that it is automatically scaled to fill the slide and can't be accidentally moved about later on. I tend to have this pre-prepared for the children and the trick I use to find them is to search for 'wallpaper' images on Google to find large-enough pictures.
3. Insert a Word Art title at the top of the page, perhaps changing the shape it is in to curved or wavy for effect. I also like to emphasise the importance of choosing a 'readable' font and only using simple colours that complement the likely already 'busy' background.
4. Insert a text box in the bottom left corner of the slide and change its: fill colour, outline colour and outline thickness (to 4.5). Copy/paste or duplicate this text box and place it in the other corner of the slide.
5. Type the information you want into the two text boxes.
6. Insert two pictures and resize them to place them neatly above the two text boxes to illustrate your work. Change their outline colour and outline thickness to match your text boxes. You might also want to apply some photo effects here (e.g. make them greyscale or change the brightness/contrast).
7. Rotate your two images so that they appear at different angles to create a nice effect.
8. Insert one small image and both duplicate and rotate it so that several copies of it are scattered around the slide. This livens up your work by making it look a bit more 'busy' whilst not looking too cluttered as the images are all the same. Clip art often works best for this (e.g. flags of countries).
The two key things to emphasise I've found are to position all the different elements neatly alongside each other and to choose a simple colour scheme of just two/three colours so that the poster is easy to read.
You can view some of the posters the children have made on my school website by clicking here.