Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Teaching PowerPoint to 5th Graders

As a part of their Library/Media Skills instruction, fifth graders are learning how to do PowerPoint presentations. Each student is researching the life and work of a scientist and preparing a PowerPoint to illustrate their report about the scientist. I am trying to emphasize that a PowerPoint doesn't stand alone but is a visual aid to enhance their presentation.

We have made sample PowerPoints to learn the basic skills (like adding a slide, doing slide transitions, inserting clip art, and moving and resizing pictures and text). We have done the research (using ELM databases) to find out about each scientist. We have taken notes to answer questions about our scientists. Now we need to turn our notes into an effective and attractive PowerPoint.

Over the years I have seen many unfortunate examples of terrifically bad PowerPoints. Clearly, I am not alone. Check out this site to see Joyce Valenza's examples. I liked the garage-band enhanced version of the PowerPoint. I'm not expecting that sort of quality but I'm hoping not to see orange text on a green backgound or text that is completely unreadable because the backgound picture chosen by the student is so busy that no color font would successfully stand out from the background.

Wish me luck!

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