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#2319. Writing and Creating with Power Point

Computer, level: all
Posted Fri Jul 20 03:40:06 PDT 2001 by A. B. Malchiodi Albedi (webmaster@autumnstar.com).
Jesse Bethel High School, Vallejo, California, USA
Materials Required: Computers, Power Point, Paper, Pencils, etc.
Activity Time: 3-6 weeks
Concepts Taught: Copyright Law,

Assignment: Create a Power Point "How To..." Manual with a minimum of 15 slides and a maximum of 20 slides. Slides must be animated and the 75 percent of the graphics must be original. If speakers are active on the computers, sound clips should be required. If microphones are available and sound recording possible, students can create their own sound clips to be included.
Objective: Teach the students how to use Power Point creatively to organize and present original ideas. In the process students should learn about copyright law to protect the creative work of artists. Students will have developed a real appreciation for the hard work that copyright law is designed to protect as well as the value of giving due credit for artistic works.
Materials Needed: 1 Computer per student, MS Power Point (or Apple works Presentation Program if you have MACs), Standard Paint program included with most PCs, blank paper, writing implements
Time Needed: 3 weeks to 6 weeks depending upon resources such as class time (traditional vs. block schedules), internet access (to download free or link ware graphics, sound files, etc.) for each computer, teacher ability to demonstrate to the entire class application program features versus one-on-one demonstration. In the absence of a s-video hook up or other means for classroom demonstration, teach 3-6 students one-on-one asking each to then show 3 more students what they just learned. In time, you will reach each student.

Step 1: After explaining to the students about Power Point and offering at least one good example that makes full use of the features available, tell the students that they must prepare a draft copy on paper of their 15-20 slide "how-to" manual. Their "how-to" manual can be serious (How To Prepare A Punjabi Style Chicken Curry, How To Care Baby sit A Three Year Old on a Saturday Afternoon) or it can be approached with a bit of humor (How To Know When You're On A Bad Date, How To Dance Survive And Enjoy A Wedding Reception With Lots of Adults). But all presentations should be in good taste and appropriate.

Step 2: Go over the individual rough drafts with students help them establish a rational framework and sequence for their project. Revise, revise, and revise the text as often as needed. The topic chosen must work within the limitations of the 15 to 20 slides. The text is more important at this stage than the drawing abilities of your students. If the basic premise of the "how-to" manual is good, the student can work on his/her graphics until you can firm up the details of the text content for each slide. A poorly planned presentation will have students returning to "the drawing board" again and again, wasting much time and producing a poor quality presentation.

Step 3: Let the students work on their own Power Point projects. They can confer with each other and offer assistance but not make drawings for each other students. Each must develop his/her own graphic talent. Assure students that the most primitive or naive, original graphics are frequently far more interesting and appealing than more polished clip art and graphics, Templates and clip art quickly bore presentation audiences. Do not let students work on this at home.

Student should understand that this is a major project and that it will be graded accordingly.
Elements (weighted?) to be graded must be modified accordingly by each teacher but should include the following:

1) Language Usage (Mechanics, Grammar, etc.)
2) Overall Organization
3) Originality of Topic and Contents
4) Originality of Graphics
5) Quality of Slide Transitions (both within and between slides)
6) Use of Sound (if applicable)
7) When applicable, appropriate credits to sources for content, graphics and sound.

Consider having a school wide or even district-wide "Power Awards Night" (like an Oscars or Emmy's Night) if you have the facilities to host such a ceremony. The competition between students and schools with judges, prizes, ticket sales, etc., can inspire your students to be wonderfully creativity and experience a truly healthy form of competition. The awards ceremony is the time to not only get the parents and community to take notice but to make strong the supporting ties for education with parents and your local business community.

Enjoy-- your students will amaze you and themselves with hidden talents come to light.
Anita Malchiodi Albedi (July 2001)
http://www.autumnstar.com/Anita/index.html
Teacher and Webmaster
Jesse Bethel High School
http://www.jessebethel.net/index.html
Vallejo, California