Monday, October 24, 2011

The Power of PowerPoints

Interested in actively engaging your students?  What about mastering key content standards?  Then, think about opening up your Microsoft Office tab and taking another look at PowerPoint.
Powerpoints provide visual stimulus that students crave.  When used correctly, the presentations bring engagement to difficult to master standards, and they can provide fun to dull concepts.  PowerPoints are worth the time because they will be enjoyed and reused over and over again.

Here are some tips when using pre-made PowerPoints in the classroom:

            Is it BORING?  Does it teach what it needs to? 
            Are there errors in grammar/spelling?
            Is there enough guided practice? 

            Does the presentation go far enough—does it provide tricky
            problems/common student errors and give solutions?

            Make sure the presentation's answers are correct!

Here are some tips for making great PowerPoints for your classroom:

Begin with the essentials:  standard being taught, explanations, examples, guided practice, and independent practice.  The content of the presentation is the key!

                 If you’re using graphic organizers, provide students         
                 visual representations to they know exactly what is expected.

                       Minimal text is best. You don’t want to overpower your students 
                too much on the screen.
                  Stick with Windows fonts.  Increase the font size.  Bigger is better!

Get a clicker!  You want to be able to roam your classroom and see how your students are progressing.  These are available for under $20.00 at your local office supply store.

Don’t use the pre-created text boxes and bullets.  They are set up for business presentations not teaching.  Find the “insert text box” button…and use it!

Use clip art and animations sparingly, and make sure your students can relate to them.

When it comes to video, sounds, and eye popping words, keep it simple!  For instance, the typewriter animation where words come out one letter at a time is cool, once, and then it becomes annoying.

When choosing colors of background and font, use as much contrast as possible, and keep it the same throughout.

Edit, edit, edit! Check your Powerpoint for errors several times before you use it.  You don’t want a student calling you out in class, but, if they do…reward them!

Be thematic. Students gravitate towards thematic Powerpoints.  It makes them cohesive and memorable.

When finished with your lesson, take a moment to write yourself a note on how the presentation went.  List any mistakes and add any needed practice.  As you close, rename your presentation and use the revised date.

Powerpoints aren’t rocket science, and they are easy to do, so go out there and impress your students and yourself!

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  1. I think Power Points are just the bees' knees! There are really so many fantastic ways to integrate them. I wonder why people don't use them more? Thanks for your tips, I'll be using them in the near future!

  2. So glad to hear from a fellow PPTX lover! One of my favorite reasons to use PowerPoint is that you can be right next to that kiddo that needs your help, and not in front of the room. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!
    Sam and Susan


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