Want to create digital versions of your own Foldables for use in your classroom or during professional development sessions? The process is so easy! Read on for an illustrated step-by-step tutorial. With a little bit of practice, you can whip up a professional, custom Foldable in less than 5 minutes!
If you want to learn about Foldables, definitely start with the master, Dinah Zike herself! Check out her website and her amazing resources—guaranteed to spark your creative juices about how you can use 3D graphic organizers to help students organize their learning!
My professional journey with Foldables began several years ago when I had the incredible opportunity to attend a Dinah Zike Academy in Comfort, Texas. I cannot recommend this professional development experience enough. In just a few short days I went from knowing next-to-nothing about Foldables and journaling to feeling like an Interactive Notebook pro—fully prepared to take my Foldable learning and apply it in my high school math and science classes that fall. I owe so much of my Foldable work to Dinah and her wonderful team!
The first step to creating a digital Foldable is to sketch it out on paper. Might seem counterintuitive, but this sketch will give you a “feel” for how the Foldable will look, info on how many columns/rows you will need later, and will also help with correctly “double-siding” your Foldable if you choose to tackle that (see my upcoming post on creating double-sided Foldables). Your sketch doesn’t have to be fancy or to-scale—just include your tabs, your labels for those tabs, and at least one anchor tab (for gluing your Foldable down into its final home—a journal, composition book, bound book, etc.).
Here’s a quick sketch of a Foldable we’ll create throughout this post—a Solving Quadratic Equations Foldable for use in Algebra I:
This is a 4-tab Shutterfold Foldable that opens like a pair of shutters on a window.
Not sure where to start with your Foldable design? Check out the samples here to get started!
With your paper sketch complete, you’re ready to create your digital version. I create my Foldables in Microsoft Word. I like the robust suite of editing options provided in Word, as well as the precise design tools that aren’t yet available in GoogleDocs.
Here we go with some step-by-steps…
Open Microsoft Word and create a new, blank document. Click on the Insert ribbon, then select Table. Highlight the size of your desired table. Based on my sketch, I’m going to need a 2 row by 4 column table, so I’ll select that.
Here’s the inserted table, which will act as the “frame” for our Foldable.
This “frame” needs a bit of work to make it into our finished Foldable. We’ll start by selecting the whole table in order to make changes to it. Hover over the upper left corner of your table, making the four-way icon appear.
Left-click on this four-way icon to select the entire table.
Next, hover over and then right-click on the four-way icon to display a context menu. Select Table Properties from near the bottom of this menu.
This will open up the Table Properties menu. On the Table tab, click on Borders and Shading at the bottom.
From here, you can change the border width. A thicker border makes your Foldable much easier to cut out! Click the drop-down menu under Width to change the width from ½ pt to 6 pt. Now your Foldable will have thick borders for easier folding and cutting.
Next, you can resize the widths and heights of your rows and columns to match your needs. Hover over the column/row dividing line, then click and drag to resize the columns and/or rows. Here’s a short GIF overviewing this process:
Worried that your rows aren’t exactly the same size? Highlight both rows, then right click to bring up the context menu. Use the Distribute Rows Evenly option to make your rows the exact same width.
Confession here: I hardly ever resize my columns/rows “by hand” like this… Instead, I enter exact row and column values in the Row and Column tabs in the Table Properties menu. More on this in a follow-up post…!
To create cohesive anchor tabs, we need to merge the two cells in the first column and then merge the two cells in the last column. Start by highlighting the two cells you want to merge. Then, right click on one of the highlighted cells to display the context menu. Click on Merge Cells.
Now, our Foldable looks like this—it has the right shape, thick borders, and two anchor tabs for gluing!
Now we’re ready to enter our content.
The standard for solving quadratic equations in Algebra I (in Texas) states:
A.8A: The student is expected to solve quadratic equations having real solutions by factoring, taking square roots, completing the square, and applying the quadratic formula.
So, we’ll title the four tabs using the wording from this standard.
I think Foldables are much more powerful when they have a relevant image, graphic, or mathematical notation on the corresponding tabs. Here I’ll include a sample quadratic equation that we can use to illustrate each solution method. I used Word’s built-in Equation Editor to enter these equations. Here’s a quick GIF showing how to insert an equation:
And the Foldable now has a relevant equation on each tab:
You could also include images, tables, graphs, geometric figures, etc. on your tabs—something that helps illustrate the big idea for that tab/topic.
One last finishing touch: I like to include the title of my Foldable written along the anchor tabs. Type the title into the anchor tab cell and then select the Text Direction options under the Layout tab in the Table ribbon.
Repeat on the other anchor tab and voila…!
A customized, professional, digital Foldable for use with your learners—designed exactly the way you like it!
What kinds of Foldables will you create using these tips?
What other tips do you have for creating digital Foldables?