I want to utilize Powerpoint in my 9th grade Speech class, but I'm not sure of the best way to teach them how to create a successful Powerpoint. A list of Powerpoint tips would be helpful, or a lesson plan for Powerpoint.
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Power Point is a useful skill. It looks good, but is easy to do. I start by having kids write a draft before they ever sit down at a computer. That reduces the problem of sitting in front of an empty screen. Next, I have them design the slides before beginning any typing. This way, they can see what it will look like while they work on it. It will go faster since they already have a draft.
I have to say that I encourage the use of brief bullet points; I find it acceptable that my students use bullet points as a reminder for themselves as they present - perhaps this is because I teach literature, and they have a lot of content to wade through. I prefer bullet points to cue-cards or learning by heart, as I find it makes for a more natural and relaxed presenter, who is tuned into the same source as the audience.
On a very practical note, I'd say:
1. If you want to use text, use a brief bullet point for major topics only. Chunks of text prohibited!
2. Make content easily visible - for example, use black and white or black and yellow for text, so it's easy to see. Use easy fonts in a large enough type.
3. Make the slides interesting, but not distracting - use pictures and themes, but use little to no animation - the same applies for sounds.
4. Keep the number of slides low - maybe one or two per minute; this helps to prioritize the speaker, not the slides-show.
5. Summarize the key points at the end. This usually helps my kids to work out a good structure for the rest of the slides.
In addition to the presentation tips and suggestions, please don't forget to teach your students how to cite sources. Powerpoint presentations sometimes make it very easy for students to simply cut and paste information without citing their sources.
I would reiterate what the previous posts are saying which is that the key is to minimize text. For middle school students, be careful to emphasize that they must accomplish a task and end up with a usable presentation, or they will simply play and wonder where the time went. Sometimes, I find it useful to pair students so that they can ask each other questions and do one presentation together; however, each student must explain which parts belong to which student so that each is responsible for understanding and producing part of the presentation.
One of my key pointers when getting students to prepare powerpoints is NOT to use bullet points and text. The temptation is to use bullet points and notes to highlight all you want to say as a kind of safety blanket to help you through your presentation. What you want to do is actually use images with very few or no words whatsoever. Nobody wants to sit through a presentation where they could have just read the printed out slides. You need to offer something different.
My ninth grade students learned the basics of PowerPoint presentations in the seventh grade, so I model more options such as the addition of sound and movement as well as emphasizing the importance of consistency in font choice and size and the need for clarity in each slide. I also demonstrate the effects of too many effects in any one slide or too much variety in a presentation.
My AP seniors, on the other hand, are well prepared in the actual production of a PowerPoint preparation, but I find that I have to instruct them not to include too much text per slide. The goals are minimalist text, appropriate graphics and background, occasional movement and sound, and suitable font size and color.
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I have taught my students to create a PowerPoint presentation, and they learned very quickly. You probably have students in your class who already know how to create one, and they can be a valuable asset in helping those students who are not as computer literate. I would suggest you go to the link below if you need a refresher on how to create a presentation and make your own PowerPoint presentation of how to make one. The link is 27 pages long, so I would condense it into fewer, simpler steps in order not to lose students' interest.
I introduced making a PowerPoint presentation by showing the students an example of everything that can be done with it. I used an example of a novel we had read and created a book report for the book using all the options available in PowerPoint. This got their attention because my presentation had movement, music, etc. I then showed them a simple, step-by-step process for creating a basic PowerPoint. They were given a handout of the steps, and we did each step together, all creating the same presentation together the first time. For the second lesson, I allowed the students to create a PowerPoint about themselves, again keeping it simple, but allowing them to experiment with a few more options than they did before.
One thing to remember is that some students will want to learn about all the bells and whistles available in PowerPoint, and some others might be more intimidated and just want to create a basic presentation. I allowed students to follow their inclinations so as not to turn them off. All of them did a great job and truly enjoyed creating a hands-on project.
Let me know if I can be of further help.
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