Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Presentations- Taking the time to do it right!

Now that state testing is finally complete, I want to shift the focus in my classroom to presentation skills and making "academically professional" products.  Students at the elementary level simply haven't been taught to create digital posters, iMovies, or presentation slides.  The result is often a cluttered, plagiarized mess.

The first "academically professional" product I set out to teach my students to create was a presentation.  We tied this in with our science adaptations unit.  In our research on animal and plant adaptations, my students found many unique and interesting adaptions that they were wanted to share, so a presentation seemed like the perfect product.

We started by learning what makes a good slide.  I showed a great Youtube video by Tim Bedley.  This video worked well because it was geared toward kids and it had non-examples that really illustrated what makes a good slide.  As we watched, I made an anchor chart with all the tips so my students had a visual reminder as they worked.

I was a little nervous when I let my students start making their presentations in Keynote, because in the past the slides they created were a mess.  (But, I had never taught them how to make a slide.)  Thankfully though,  I was utterly amazed with their presentations.  Their slides ended up looking neat and professional.  They were not cluttered with stickers and emojis.  They limited the number of pictures they put on each slide, and even more, they ensured that the pictures enhanced the presentation.  I couldn't have been prouder!

Their presentations were amazing too.  I could tell that my students had a strong grasp on the content.  They were able to tell me about the adaptations to the detail I required.  Most faced the audience instead of their iPad and took questions from the audience.  

This day did not go without a hitch however.  As you can see in my pictures, Apple TV was acting up and we couldn't use AirPlay to show the slides.  Luckily the technologist had a HDMI hook-up and we used a cable to hook the iPad to the TV.  Unfortunately, this necessitated having the podium at the front of the room, which meant many of my students were glued to the podium...

All-in-all, this presentation took 2 days.  That includes research, creating in Keynote, presenting, and reflecting on the experience.  But honestly, it was worth it.  I am planning to move this lesson to the first of the year in the future.  I can only imagine all the opportunities my students missed because they were not able to create a presentation, which cause me not to assign them.  In the next few days, I am going to use the same research to show them how to create an academically professional iMovie.  I am so excited!

Ideas for using in your classroom:

  • Give the students a specific academic focus.  For adaptations, I wanted them to be able to tell me the structure and the function of the adaptation.  This allowed the students to know what I was looking for when grading, and it helped them to stay on focus.
  • Reflect, reflect, reflect.  A lot happened in these two days.  The students were able to learn about their own abilities, as well as see the work of others.  The reflections gave them a chance to think about how they did and what they can do next time to be even better.
  • Go over the terms: PowerPoint, presentation, Keynote, and slides.  The video said PowerPoint even though we used Keynote.  Students should know that these terms all refer to the same process.
  • Discuss digital citizenship before you start the project.  Remind kids that images should be copyright-free and they should attribute them to the source.  Also discuss plagiarism and not stealing someone else's words.

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