In our study of literary terms, I gave my grade 8 students each a term to investigate and create a visual that would represent their term. We spoke about expectations, examined the rubric and brainstormed ideas and possible methods to represent their term, including acting, drawing, dioramas, technology such as Voice Thread, videos, etc. The word PowerPoint was mentioned, but I emphasized that it could only be used as a “container” to present digital creations and not as a place to post words. For the presentation, the student was to give a brief oral definition of the term and then show and describe their visual.
Students used physical and digital resources to research their terms and began work on their visuals. They had some class time, but most of the visual was to be completed on their own.
Presentation day arrived – I had a few stellar examples that showed true effort and creativity. However, I also had a whole load of “PowerPointlessness” presentations where students had plastered slides with their definition and then gathered a collection of internet images. Creativity was sadly lacking. I hadn't been aware that so many students were defaulting to this route. As the teacher, I should have been more involved in the creative process and not just the research. I should have shown a few powerful examples to encourage them.
It was a great chance to reflect on how creativity can be represented and how to encourage students to “work outside the box” and take risks.