Students these days tend to know more about tech than their teachers. The younger generations are all digital natives, growing up with (and pretty much glued to) their devices.
Kids really – and we mean really – enjoy spending time with tech, even in school time. And, some of the best teaching takes this into account.
Teachers across the world are coming up with innovative, tech-based techniques to inspire and motivate their students.
We’ve seen them using platforms like YouTube to teach tricky concepts. Others have shared activities via Twitter. And many of you are using presentation software – like PowerPoint and Google Slides – to bring some extra excitement and interest to your classes.
Often we think of presentations as just a visual aid. We use them to present information in front of an audience.
But PowerPoint and Google Slides have tons of great functionality that can help you create unique, interactive learning experiences for your students that will help them achieve their goals.
They’re especially useful at the moment – in this era of remote teaching and distance learning. A creative interactive presentation can bring a topic to life even when you’re not there in person to inspire and motivate your class.
Read on to discover 17 creative ways you can use presentations in the classroom. These ideas will help you to spark the interest of tech-loving students, from pre-K to the end of elementary school – and teach them a few things too!
(Be sure to check out the free presentation templates for teachers that we recommend. They’ll provide you with the foundation you need to realize each presentation idea.)
- “This or That” Icebreaker
- “Virtual Locker” Icebreaker
- “Would You Rather” Icebreaker
- “What’s on Your Phone” Icebreaker
- “Get to Know You” Icebreaker
- Guess the Word
- Spot the Mistakes
- Interactive “Slide Deck Book”
- Play a game of “Jeopardy!”
- Choose Your Own Path: Adventure Story
- Narrated Storybooks
- Comic Strips
- Magnetic Poetry
- Drag and Drop
- Interactive Bulletin Board
- Digital Yearbook
- Award Diplomas
“This or That” Icebreaker
Need to wake your students up at the start of the school day? This presentation will get your students on their feet, ready to move and ready to learn.
If you’re doing face to face teaching, get your students to stand in the middle of the classroom. Then bring your first slide up on screen showing two different items.
It could be cats and dogs. Tik Tok and Instagram. English and Math. Spring and fall. Cookies and ice cream.
Ask your students to decide which is their favorite of the two things they see on screen. And then make a dash to a corresponding side of the room.
It’s simple. But kids love this kind of energetic activity. And there’s lots of scope to make your presentation even more interesting, by adding words, images, emojis and even music.
“Virtual Locker” Icebreaker
At the start of the school year, it can be nice to learn a little about the kids you’ll be teaching. And for them to share some info about themselves with their classmates too.
You can do this by creating a “virtual locker” – a presentation slide showing a picture of an empty locker.
Send this to the kids digitally so they can complete the task on a device. And then ask them to fill their locker with things that define them. It could be:
- Things they love
- Things they hate
- Their favorite movie
- The song they’re listening to at the moment
- The extra-curricular activities they enjoy
Students can get creative with images, videos and music before presenting their locker to the class.
“Would You Rather” Icebreaker
Another great getting to know you activity! Get organized before a new semester starts and create a presentation with 30 slides, each posing a different question to your kids:
- Would you rather live without music or movies?
- Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
- Would you rather always be dressed up or always wearing pajamas?
With 30 questions, you can do one a day for the first six weeks of school. And your class will get to know more about each other as a result.
“What’s on Your Phone” Icebreaker
Make your students’ smartphone the focus of your icebreaker and you’ll be on to a winner!
Create a slide that shows a picture of an empty mobile phone screen and send it out to the kids so they have a digital version in front of them. Students then work to fill the screen with their favorite apps.
This is another way to get to know your students and for them to share some of their interests and personality with the class.
“Get to Know You” Icebreaker
Use teacher themed presentation templates to create a fun slideshow with a different question on each slide, including:
- How are you feeling today?
- What is your favorite place in the world?
- Who do you most admire?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
You can present a slideshow of questions and ask students to share their answers with the whole class or in small groups.
You could also print off the slides and pin them up around the room. Students then move around the room in small groups, discussing each question together.
Guess the Word
The Guess the Word game is a great way to recap content you’ve already covered in class.
First, pick a mystery word. If your class has recently been learning about 3-D shapes, for instance, the mystery word could be: pyramid.
Show students how many letters the word has with a slide showing dashes or empty squares. Then, give students five clues – one at a time – that will help them to guess the mystery word.
To continue with the previous example, your clues could be:
- This is something you might find in Egypt.
- The Louvre in France is a famous example.
- It’s a shape with five faces.
And so on…
If your students are struggling to guess the word, even after the clues, you can click through to slides that reveal a few letters of the word.
Then repeat the process for another mystery word of your choosing.
Spot the Mistakes
It’s not always easy to spot an incorrectly spelled word. (As per this fun example!) But it’s a skill kids need to learn if they want to spell and write well.
This activity provides an alternative to standard spelling practice. You can incorporate any tricky words you’ve been working on together in class.
Present students with a slide that has lots of spelling mistakes. Then give your students a limited amount of time to spot the typos. If you give them a digital version of the slide, they could even make corrections.
Kids love this one as they get to do a little role reversal and correct your work for a change!
Interactive “Slide Deck Book”
Those heavy, traditional textbooks don’t tend to engage young students. So what can you do when you have lots of important information to convey to your class?
- First, find a template.
- Then, find inspiring content related to your topic on the web.
- Finally, write your own easy to understand text.
- Add in images and videos.
- And present it all in a topic slide deck book.
Students can access your book online, read about the topic, and enjoy interactive explanations. They can also click links to get more information.
Here’s a great example of just what can be done with a slide deck book.
A lot of work goes into creating something like this. But if you’re able to reuse your presentation year after year, it may be a time investment well worth making.
Play a game of “Jeopardy!”
Surprise your students with some gameshow fun!
Start with the Slides Carnival Jeopardy template and edit to include your own clues.
The presentation is interactive; all you need to do is click on a category and dollar amount and you’ll be taken straight to the relevant clue slide.
You can use the game to review content you’ve covered that day or over the whole semester. It’s an entertaining (but still very educational) way to round off a topic.
Choose Your Own Path: Adventure Story
If you happen to be an 80s child, you’ll probably remember those books. The ones where you could make decisions to affect what happened in the story…
If you think Sam should open the spooky front door, go to page 22. If you think Sam should peek in at the window, go to page 28.
They were lots of fun and made us feel like we were part of the story.
Making the process of reading more interactive is a sure-fire way to spark kids’ imaginations and interest. And this interactivity is really easy to achieve with a slideshow.
First, create your own story, using the slides of your presentation for pages. Then add hyperlinks that link through to other slides within the presentation when clicked.
(We love this amazing adventure story example, created by Eric Curts.)
This allows you to create a nonlinear slideshow (or in our case, story). And it means students can have a say in what happens next.
Reading aloud is super important for your students’ literacy.
When you read a story to your class, you model fluent reading. When students can see the words on the page as you read them, they also learn how sounds, words and sentences fit together.
So why not use a presentation to create your own narrated storybook? Listening to the story makes for a perfect homework assignment or remote learning task.
(Here’s another great example from Eric Curts.)
Creating your own story means you can focus on a particular subject or aspect of language. You can also include engaging images, colors and fonts to bring your story to life.
Following your example (or Eric’s!), you could even challenge your students to create a storybook of their own.
Struggling to engage the whole class with creative writing tasks?
Comic strips combine literacy and art. They’re fun. And they can really encourage even hard-to-motivate students to do some writing.
So where should you start? First, ask students to create their own characters using Bitmoji.
Then – using a mixture of images, text and maybe even some animation – give their creativity free rein to create the kind of comic strip they’d like to read themselves.
Taking its idea from the original refrigerator magnet game, this activity challenges students to write poetry, sentences or stories with a limited selection of words.
(Here’s a wonderful winter-themed example, created by Kasey Bell.)
Set up a slide and create words using the Word Art tool. This makes it easier for students to drag and drop words. And makes it less likely that words will be changed or edited by mistake.
Drag and Drop
Classroom presentations can make any subject interactive.
Present your students with an incomplete slide. It could be an unlabelled diagram. Or a collection of items in the wrong order.
(Check out Joe Sisco’s amazing example, all based around the water cycle.)
Lock the slide background so kids don’t edit it by mistake. And then let students drag and drop icons, textboxes or images to complete the slide.
It’s a great way to test their understanding of a topic.
Interactive Bulletin Board
Every class needs a place to put important announcements and class updates. They usually go up on a real life bulletin board. But there’s something to be said for an easy-to-access digital version too.
A shared presentation can be used to create an interactive bulletin board that kids and parents can look at any time they like.
You can design it to look like a regular bulletin board. Then use the presentation to:
- Remind kids of field trips.
- To share homework tasks.
- Or just dish out some praise for a successful week at school.
Everyone loves looking back over a school year, remembering the many happy times you’ve shared together as a class.
Why not create your own digital yearbook using presentation slides? It can be a collaborative project that runs for the whole year, with both educators and students designing slides to contribute.
Be sure to include photos, videos, favorite quotes and anything else that helps to tell the story of your year as a class.
At the end of the year, share the presentation with students and parents. It can be viewed digitally or printed out.
It’s a great way to show everyone what you’ve been doing and how much kids have enjoyed their year at school. You’ll find great vertical templates, ideas and tips on how to do it at Slidesyearbook.com.
At the end of a school year, you’ll probably want to do something to celebrate your students and everything they have achieved in their current class.
Presentations can be used to create digital awards for all of your students.
Choose a design with beautiful borders, colors and fonts. And then decide what you want your awards to be: Always Smiling, Problem Solver, Amazing Artist, Curious Cat, Math Whizz, etc.
Your students will love getting recognition for their hard work and abilities. Print out the slides too and they’ll have something to take home to show their families.
Share Your Ideas…
We hope these ideas and education presentation templates have given you some inspiration for fun and creative classroom activities. (Remember to check out all our free PowerPoint templates for teachers if you’re ready to get started!)
This is very much the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using interactive presentations in the classroom. There is so much more you can do. Which means so many new ways to interest and motivate your students.
If you want to find more ideas, make these pages your first port of call:
And we’d love to hear your ideas too!
If you’ve used presentations to create fun and engaging activities for your students, feel free to share them in the comments below. All tweets, blogs and material links welcome.