Sunday, February 19, 2017

Have Students Create Educational "Motivational Posters" with Google Drawings

We are all familiar with motivational posters. They typically have a black background, one large image at the top, then a word or short phrase in large type below it, and finally a short inspirational sentence at the bottom. These motivational posters have been around for decades, and most likely can still be found in the classrooms, libraries, and offices of your schools.

However, beyond just providing some encouragement to students, motivational posters can actually be used as a fun and educational activity. With some simple technology tools, students can create and share their own motivational posters. These creations can be used to show students learning and understanding of any concept being taught in your subject.

See below for some free templates, directions on how students can create the posters, and ideas for how this activity can be used in your class.

Ideas for Use

Students could create motivational-style posters for many educational activities. Some ideas include:

  • Vocabulary terms for any subject
  • Content area concepts
  • Characters from a story
  • People from history
  • Events from history
  • Foreign language terms
  • Actual motivational posters

Free "Motivational Poster" Templates

For this particular activity, Google Drawings is an excellent match. Drawings makes it easy to find and add an image, edit the text, change colors, and finally download or share the creations.

To make this even easier, I have created two free templates you and your students can use. Simply click on the links below to get your own editable copies of these templates.

1) Horizontal "Motivational Poster" Template - Google Drawing link

2) Vertical "Motivational Poster" Template - Google Drawing link

Tutorial Video (8 minutes)

Below is a short tutorial video on how to use the templates to create motivational posters.


After you have made a copy of the template, you can edit the poster as follows:

1) Main Text

  • First, you will want to type in the main word the poster will address.
  • Simply double-click on the textbox that has "MAIN WORD" and edit the text as needed.
  • For stylistic purposes, you may want to put a space in between each letter to stretch out the word a biy.
  • If needed, you can change the font size or font face as normal.

2) Sentence Text

  • Below the main text of your poster is a spot for the sentence that goes along with the main text.
  • Just like before, simply double-click on the textbox and change "Your sentence about the main word." to the sentence you want.

3) Image

Next you will want to replace the template image with a picture of your choosing.
  • Click on the image and then click the "Replace image" button in the top toolbar.

You can now select the image in one of several ways:

  • Upload - Upload an image that you have saved on your computer
  • Take a snapshot - Use your webcam to take a picture
  • By URL - Paste in the web address to an image
  • Your albums - Choose a picture from your Google Photos albums
  • Google Drive - Pick an image saved on your Google Drive
  • Search - Use Google to search for an image

  • The image you choose will be automatically resized and cropped to fit into the space from the original image.
  • If you need to make any adjustments to the cropping or resizing, simply double-click on the image.
  • You can now click and drag in the center of the image to move it.
  • Or you can click and drag the corners to resize as needed.
  • Click off of the image when done.

4) Colors

Based on the image you have chosen, you may want to change the color scheme for the poster. Traditionally for a motivational poster, you would change the border color of the image and the text color of your main word.

  • To change the border color of the image, click on the image, then use the "Line color" tool in the top menu bar.
  • To change the text color of your main word, select the text, then use the "Text color" button in the top menu bar.

Sharing the Final Product

When all done creating your motivational poster you can share it in several ways.

  • As normal, it can be shared using the "Share" button to give access to specific people or to anyone with the link.
  • The poster can be downloaded as a PDF or image by clicking "File" then "Download as" then "PDF" or "JPG" or "PNG".
  • The Google Drawing can be inserted directly into a Google Sites to embed it as a live Drawing.
  • The image can be printed by clicking "File" and "Print".


Below are a few samples of what students might create with the educational "Motivational Posters" activity:

And if you get really creative, you can insert animated GIFs for your image so the picture moves when viewed as a Google Document. Click the link below to see an animated motivational poster about Twitter:


Motivational posters can encourage people in real life, and they can also serve as a motivational learning activity for students. If you have your students create some posters, please consider adding a comment below to share how it went, what the activity was, and maybe some samples of what the students created.

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. Another great idea! Thanks Eric!

  2. Thanks for the templates and directions. I love this idea!


  4. Really cool idea! Love it! Now, if only we could lock items? We should petition... ;-)

  5. Need stock photos? This is what I share with our staff... about 6-7,000 free to use, high quality images.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I am going to try this!