Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cheering for Creativity!

Have you ever gotten tired of seeing the same thing over and over and over again? Have you ever thought to yourself, "I can't listen to or watch another presentation today because they are all identical?" I have been there with you!

In years past our second graders have made Keynote presentations on what they have learned about a famous american they have studied. Our state standards require students to learn about certain historical figures, scientists and inventors. Second grade approached this by tying it into non-fiction reading and writing through research on these individuals. Students were then asked to create Keynote presentations on their findings.

Sounds great, right?

Sure, it was at the beginning when it was all fresh and new. We had created a slideshow template for the students to follow. So, all the text was in the same spot. All the pictures were in the same spot. It was the same presentation over and over and over again but just about different people. There was zero creativity in putting together their presentations.

This year I have read and thought about 21st Century Learning Skills and how to bring them to the forefront of what we are doing as teachers. One of these skills is creativity. So, I approached the second grade team with an idea. Why don't we let students have some choice in where the pictures and text go on their slides? Why don't we let them explore different layouts, font styles and font sizes?

At first they were hesitant because there wasn't a comfort in having the template laid out where the students just plugged in their information. Students would have to learn how to select an appropriate slide layout or create their own. I asked them to go on this journey with their students and it would be a learning adventure together.

We just started working on these before "the big snow" hit us so we haven't gotten very far. But...I have been super impressed with how quickly the students picked up on how to select a slide layout, change sizing of text and pictures and changing the size of text. Students that picked up on these skills quickly jumped up and helped others naturally. It was awesome to watch it all get started!

Now I can't wait to get back to work with these students and watch them create their presentations to showcase their knowledge of their famous americans.

Stay tuned for final results!


  1. Can't wait to hear more about it. We are going to use iMovie with my first graders as they digitally publish their stories. It will be the first time that the technology teacher and I have ever used iMovie with first graders. I'm excited about the possibilities! I've learned in my short time of working with these young learners that they can do anything as long as I scaffold their learning and give them the chance.

  2. Creativity and Choice: two components when combined allow students to personalize their projects. Yeah, You!