Out of my comfort zone as an Educational Therapist… and into the shoes of a Graphic Design student

As an Educational Therapist, lesson planning and creating our own worksheets from scratch or making adaptions based on existing resources is not uncommon. Doing so allows us to cater to our students’ specific learning needs and interests, with the main goal of maintaining student engagement and optimising their learning experience.

“Ms Em, I like dinosaurs. Can we have dinosaurs on the worksheets next time?”
“I like to draw.”
“I want to do colouring!”

While trying to incorporate these requests in, say, a Grammar worksheet, requires some racking of brains, what was most challenging was finding suitable pictures. It can be a real challenge not only in sourcing for images that are royalty-free, but also editing images with limited or at an amateurish level using only a simple crop tool.

Below was one activity I’ve tried my hands on including images in my Grammar worksheet. After teaching my students the explicit rules on Singular and Plural Possessives (for example, Melody’s dogs, Chris’ drink, Children’s Day or the kittens’ toys), the activity allowed them to change the phrases into the appropriate possessive noun phrases by using the apostrophe correctly. It also included fun and interactive elements where the students were able to draw a flower petal, doodle stripes and colour specific parts of a drawing, for example.

Images adapted from disneyclips.com and pikpng.com

While the students had fun, there were limitations to the activities I could incorporate in my worksheets due to my lack of image editing skills. Note the haphazard cropping on the image of the flower?

Therefore, I signed up for a 2 day graphic designing course – Creating Graphics with Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator – offered by Temasek Polytechnic and thought that it would be a good opportunity to learn some photo editing skills.

During the course, we were introduced to the different technical terms and tools in the photo editing programme. We also practised various activities from removing fine details, such as freckles from a picture of a person, to imposing one image onto another. We also worked with Adobe Illustrator where we learnt and practised creating simple images from scratch.

The skills I’ve acquired will come in useful when I need to edit images to include details for Writing activities in class! With the knowledge gained in the course, it allows me to be more competent at designing and producing creative worksheets.

Emilyn See
Senior Educational Therapist & Curriculum Developer, Associate Fellow (RETA)
Main Literacy Programme, EdTech, Tampines Learning Centre

Learn more about Emilyn!