Not Just For Presentations

In a stack of papers called Instruction.

  • Jan
  • 31
  • 2011

Wait, wait, wait… Why didn’t anyone tell me that I can use PowerPoint simply to present a writing prompt? Daily agendas in PowerPoint? Sure, why not? I feel like such a huge idiot since it’s nearly a decade and a half into my career and I only now started to think of PowerPoint for this. Here’s the run down:

What I Used To Do

Type the question into Word. Now make it font size 48. No, 56. No, 72. Naw, 64. Yeah, 64. Adjust the margins. .25″ should work. OK, make the font bigger. Size 72 works now! Go to View>>Full Screen. Make the window taller. Taller. Tall–Nope! Too tall. That looks good. Plug in projector, aspect ratio changes, so go through all that again. Font, bigger. Margins, smaller. Window, taller. Wait, make the font bold. Ouch! Sling it down to size 68. Nice!

What I Do Now

Drop the text into PowerPoint. Command+T to adjust the font size, color, and family. Plug in projector. View>>Slide Show. Done.

So What?

When you want to get big chunks of text on the screen, PowerPoint works much better than using a gigantic font size and presenting it through Word. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (no, no, of course not!). This is such a stupidly simply revelation to me that I can’t help but simply open and close my mouth repeatedly, unsure what to say to justify all this, yet at the same time hoping there’s at least one other teacher out there like me who just didn’t think to use PowerPoint this way. C’mon, ‘fess up.

True, this is death by PowerPoint and if I were giving a presentation you’d be well within your right to bludgeon me on the spot, take away my blogging credentials, and send me to the eighth circle of Hell. There are no images here; this is text on the screen. But, you see, I want text on the screen in this case. I want to show a writing technique. I want to show standardized test items. I want to show CAHSEE writing prompts. I want to go through a reading passage. The students need to be able to see it, but they don’t necessarily need a copy of it. Or maybe I want the questions students are working on in groups posted at the front of the room. Maybe we need directions for the latest presentation on the screen, in addition to or instead of them being on a handout.

I’m sure there’s other stuff that can be done here. I just wanted to share the observation that PowerPoint can be used any time you want to show pages of anything. Have two images you want to flip back and forth between? Instead of two windows that you click on, sometimes landing on your desktop instead, throwing off the rhythm of your discussion as you fumble for the right window, slap the images into PowerPoint and just arrow up or arrow down. Get those images positioned right and the contrast is improved by alignment of similarities or differences. Imagine Hocus Focus in PowerPoint. I’d get those differences nailed in, like, 30 seconds!


I will be doing more of this.

1 comment

1. madrone says:

[3/25/2011 - 3:21 pm]

I started keeping my bell work and writing prompts in powerpoint this year, too. It’s brilliant. If I a student is out for several days, you can print the outline view of the specific slides to give them a quick make-up handout.

I just found your blog and am really enjoying it.