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Showcasing Nicole Nelson and PowerPoints

"Can kindergartners create their own PowerPoint presentations? Sure they can, as long as you make it fun and bring the technology to their level," Nicole Nelson told Education World. "That is exactly what we did as we set out to create a PowerPoint presentation about what our students are grateful for. It turned out to be an exceptional presentation, and the students had a great time creating it."

Assistant Jayne Weintraub and kindergarten teacher Nicole Nelson included geography in this cross-curricular project.

Nelson and her assistant, Jayne Weintraub, began the project by introducing the concept of gratitude to their children at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tennessee. They shared many stories with that theme, discussed things people are thankful for, and talked about how to show gratitude to others. The students named many things they appreciated, including animals, medicine, family, siblings, and relatives.

"After they decided what they were grateful for, each student used Microsoft Paint to draw a picture representing it," explained Nelson. "For some students, it was their first experience with the program, while others were quite comfortable with it. The drawings proved to be an excellent tool for self-expression; the experience also provided practice with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

"Our next item of business was to record the students' voices as they introduced themselves and stated what they were thankful for. The students' drawings and the recordings of their voices were then combined on PowerPoint slides. This activity proved to be quite entertaining!" Nelson said.

Nelson's kindergartners create art with Microsoft Paint.

When the assignment was complete, the class exchanged its finished presentation with a partner class at Westbrook Elementary School in Glenview, Illinois. The students enjoyed not only sharing their ideas but also learning about the children in another area of the country.

The Thanksgiving PowerPoint project provided the kindergartners with a wide variety of learning experiences and introduced them to a number of activities and technologies that most had never seen. They also experienced true team collaboration as they worked together, practiced a Thanksgiving song, and completed the project as a class.

"Knowing that they each had contributed to the project provided students with a sense of ownership and pride in what they had accomplished," said Nelson. "This has proven to be a project worth repeating year after year."

Photos courtesy of Nicole Nelson.

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If you're a teacher who has completed an interesting or unusual activity with your class -- or if you know of a teacher who has -- please let us know about it. E-mail a brief description of the activity, along with your contact information, to [email protected]

Article by Cara Bafile
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