Tag Archives: Prezi

5th Grade Learns to Use Prezi

By this time of the school year, I have worked with the 5th grade classes on creating a Chatterpix and PowerPoint.  To add an additional tool in their digital tool belt, we worked on making Prezis.

When working with the students, I’m not really going for a perfect product.  Rather, I am hoping that they will be experienced enough with the tool, that they will be able to use it on their own.  I do look the creations over and have them edit for grammar, punctuation, etc.  But, if after the allotted time and the group is not completely finished, the project has to stay that way.

Unfortunately, students have to be 13 years old to sign up for their own account (and I haven’t been successful in getting teachers to sign up for their own accounts), so they have to use my account.  I will change my password after this project is over!


Notice that the students are not using their Dell tablets, but the library computers to create their Prezis.  Way easier!


Coordinated with Social Studies Unit of Inquiry

I designed a graphic organizer that reflected what the students were studying in their current Unit of Inquiry so as to build on the prior knowledge of the topic and to reinforce concepts they are learning in the classroom.  They were learning about the U.S. during the 1920’s and 1930’s.  I looked at the Georgia Performance Standards and based the topics on these standards:

SS5H4 The student will describe U.S. involvement in World War I and post-World War I America.

a. Explain how German attacks on U.S. shipping during the war in Europe (1914- 1917) ultimately led the U.S. to join the fight against Germany; include the sinking of the Lusitania and concerns over safety of U.S. ships, U.S. contributions to the war, and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. b. Describe the cultural developments and individual contributions in the 1920s of the Jazz Age (Louis Armstrong), the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes), baseball (Babe Ruth), the automobile (Henry Ford), and the airplane (Charles Lindbergh).

SS5H5 The student will explain how the Great Depression and New Deal affected the lives of millions of Americans.

a. Discuss the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, the Dust Bowl, and soup kitchens. b. Analyze the main features of the New Deal; include the significance of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. c. Discuss important cultural elements of the 1930s; include Duke Ellington, Margaret Mitchell, and Jesse Owens.


I created a Livebinder to curate the websites for the students to use for their research.  They bookmark the website and it reduces the time needed to complete their research.  The do use their tablets for researching.



Final Product

I did not have the students use their 1:1 devices (Dell ProVenue tablets) to create their Prezi as it is too difficult to see what you are doing on the small screen.  Fortunately I have 8 Dell All-in-One computers with large, touch screens! Check out one of their Prezis:




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4th Grades “Explore” Prezi

prezi1prezi2Our fourth grade students are required to learn six explorers according to the current Georgia Performance Standards in Social Studies: SS4H2 The student will describe European exploration in North America. a. Describe the reasons for, obstacles to, and accomplishments of the Spanish, French, and English explorations of John Cabot, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Juan Ponce de León, Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson, and Jacques Cartier.

I designed a project where the students researched an explorer so that they could create a Prezi which would be an advertisement to persuade viewers to join them on their expedition.

Livebinders Guided Research

I gathered resources for each explorer using Livebinders to expedite and streamline the research process.  The students used a graphic organizer I created to guide their research.  By answering the questions, the students would have sufficient information to write their advertisement.  The students conducted their research independently and then worked with a group to create one Prezi per explorer for the class.livebinders


I reviewed the groups individual graphic organizers to ensure that among all of the group they collectively had sufficient (and correct) information to write their advertisement. Students were not familiar with Prezi, but they were very excited when they saw how it worked.  I modeled it briefly and we discussed writing in the first person, as if they were the explorer.  Some go the hang of that quicker than others, but it was good practice.  Before they could add any images, they had to have written all of their text.  I have found that they get so excited about the pictures, that the text falls to the wayside!

Here are a few of their projects:




Images and Giving Credit

I collected images for each explorer ahead of time, saving the image and renaming the image with the sources’ name.  This saves the students time.  I try to get this project done in about 4 library visits, so anything that saves a bit of time is helpful.  I created a folder for each explorer with sufficient images that they could pick and choose.  They had to give credit to the owner of the image (creating a text box in the frame with the image) and they picked up on that right away.

Citing our Sources

The last frame of each Prezi had to include the website addresses of each website that the group used.  We didn’t do MLA or any official format.  At this point I wanted them just to be aware of citing their resources.

Reflection via Flipgrid

These fourth grade students really enjoyed thinking outside the Power Point box, although most of them had only made one or two Power Points before this year. Reflecting on their learning is a big part of the International Baccalaureate program, so I had the student use Flipgrid to record their written reflection.  They love to see and hear themselves!

Check out some of their reflections: https://flipgrid.com/57a659

Students used Flipgrid to record their reflection on the explorer Prezi project and process.

Students used Flipgrid to record their reflection on the explorer Prezi project and process.


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Students use variety of digital tools

Our school is part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and so our 5th grade students participate in a research project that’s called an Exhibition.  This year our Exhibition was scaled way back as our IB coordinator had to take over a 5th grade class when the teacher left in early spring due to medical issues.  The students had chosen the topic, homelessness, and had conducted some research on the topic, but things sort of ground to a halt.

IB PYP Exhibition

After conducting research on a real world topic, students are supposed to take action.  That’s the part we weren’t able to pull off, but I worked with small groups from 3 classes and helped the students figure out ways to present the information they had gathered.   This year I did not have as much time to work with the students in small groups, as I was doing most of it myself.  In past years we had the IB coordinator to help organize and also work with the students, but she was busy being a classroom teacher!  The students used a variety of digital tools and I was finally able to get a new one, Present.me, to work.

Digital Tools: PowerPoint & Windows Movie Maker

One group that I helped did a tried and true format, PowerPoint.  I try and get the students to think beyond PowerPoint as it is important to have more than one tool in your digital tool belt!  Two of the groups used Windows Movie Maker, which they had little or no experience with. Together we put together videos using video clips (filmed using a Flip camera…still love our Flips).

Web-based Tools: Prezi, Flipgrid & Present.me

The other groups used web-based digital tools, two of which were brand new to all of the students.  Two groups used Prezi to present their research, gathering photos from the web and inserting recordings we made.  I taught these students how to create Prezis as 3rd and 4th graders, so most of them had some basic skills with this tool. Prezi is so versatile and the students can fairly easily create a slick presentation.

The two new tools that students used were Flipgrid and Present.me.  I first learned of Flipgrid (http://flipgrid.com/info/) from Andy Plemmon’s blog (http://expectmiraculous.com/) and  I decided it was worth the $65 a year subscription. I used Flipgrid with 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade students earlier this school year, so offered it as an option for the 5th grade students.  The only downside to Flipgrid is that viewers can click on any student’s response in any order, so information cannot be presented in a strictly linear manner.  The students had to rewrite some of their information so that it was not dependent on a previous student’s presentation.

Flipgrid created by 5th grade students

Flipgrid created by 5th grade students


Last year I tried desperately to make Present.me (https://present.me/content/) work.  I could get it to work at home, but something in the school’s web filter was blocking the video from uploading.  But this year, we (teachers and me) got new laptops and EUREKA!  I was able to make Present.me work.  I had used Present.me with two groups of 3rd grade students earlier this year, so I had figured out some things that work when using this tool with groups of students.  Only downside to Present.me is that you are limited to creating 3 presentations a month.

Present.me presentation about homelessness created by 5th grade students

Present.me presentation about homelessness created by 5th grade students


I like sending 5th graders off to middle school with a couple of cool digital tools in their technology tool belts.  So when a teacher next year says they have to make a PowerPoint, I hope they’ll ask, “May we make a Prezi (or a movie or Present.me or a Flipgrid) instead?”

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5th Grade Students & Ebola Projects

Our fifth grade students were studying cells, viruses and contagious diseases in August when school began.  At that time the Ebola outbreak was just getting going and was in the news constantly.  This seemed a perfect opportunity to link current events, a world-wide issue and what they were studying in science.  Oh, and did I say I thought it would be a great chance to combine research, note-taking skills and technology in the library media center?

Research Begins: Note-taking, Foldables & Reference Sources

I designed a foldable for students to use while reading and taking notes.  I created this foldable with space for different  reference sources, including a dictionary, an atlas, an encyclopedia, a newspaper, a thesaurus and websites.

foldable graphic organizer

Foldable graphic organizer

I wanted the students to utilize all of the sources, which I now realize was too ambitious within our limited library time.  They did research during two library visits (for a total of about 40 minutes) and this wasn’t enough time.  I looked at their notes after these two sessions and chose a small group from each class to work further on the project. I chose the students who had the best or most complete notes on Ebola and worked with these 5 groups. I worked with each small group one more time researching filling in any gaps so that they would have a more complete understanding of the disease.

Concluding Research and Summarizing

I worked with students during their lunch period, so as to protect instructional time in their classroom.  It took forever to complete the projects as I only had about 20 minutes each time to work with the group.  In one week I worked with each group one or two times as I rotated through the classes.

Once they had completed their research, the students decided what information they wanted to include in their presentation.  I wrote their notes on chart paper and then typed it up for each group.   I made sure that we noted where each fact had come from so they could complete a bibliography to include in each project.  They worked with this compiled list.  I cut the notes into individual strips of paper and had each group organize the information for their presentation.  They glued the strips on a  paper and this became their outline.

summary of notes

Summary of students’ notes organized for an outline for the presentation.

Images & Credit to Source

To save time and move the project along, I found about twenty images and copied them into a folder along with the information on the source of each photo.  Again, I stressed to them that we must include this information  in the presentation.  I let them choose as many photos as they wanted that went along their outline of facts.

Enter Technology and a Few Glitches

I had the students choose from a couple of formats, including Prezi, Photostory and Flipsnack.  As I practiced with Flipsnack some more I started having some issues with it, so we eliminated that from the lineup.  Then I had problems with recording in Photostory.  The recording volume in Photostory was so low that you couldn’t hear it.  I switched computers, microphones, and laptops (one using XP and one with Windows 8) and never could figure out why the volumes were so low, so I transferred the photos of the two groups who had chose Photostory into Windows Movie Maker. Whew….this was supposed to be the fun part!

Success, finally!

I finished with the last two groups this past week (in the midst of the Scholastic Book Fair, but that’s a whole other stress-filled event).  The students were happy with their finished products and now have expertise that they can share with their classmates who did not get to work on these projects.  Anything to break out of the PowerPoint mold!  I told the 5th grade students that didn’t want them to move up to middle school only knowing how to use one digital tool.


The students have come away with practice in note-taking, a review of reference courses, increased digital storytelling skills and a heightened interest in the Ebola outbreak.  I figured that when the outbreak was getting started in August that it would be a story that would get larger and involve more countries  as time went on.  Students come up to me all the time now and say they saw something on the news about Ebola.  We even have a location connection with the story here in Albany, GA as the son of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, is a physician at our local hospital.  We saw him on the ABC World News early in the crisis.  Students were very interested in that and wanted to contact him and let him know what we were doing (and I will be emailing him a couple of our presentations).

Here are two of the projects!


Link to one of the Prezis:





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Creating a Prezi about Wangari Maathai with 3rd Graders

This week we are completing the instruction activity begun last week, which incorporates science standards, ELA standards (summarizing), and technology standards (creating a Prezi). The 3rd grade classes last week practiced summarizing what they had read about Wangari Muta Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist, politician, and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Two students reading a Britannica Student Encyclopedia article about Wangari Maathai.

Students rereading an encyclopedia article from Britannica Student about Wangari Maathai and writing a sentence on an index card along with 5 summarizing words

I copied their index cards (see blog entry from October 20th) and gave them to the teachers so that they could help the students edit their sentences.

Organizing a Paragraph

When the students returned to the library media center this week, each one had a copy of their sentence in their hand.  We talked about what a topic sentence is and what it should do for the reader.  I asked if anyone thought they had a good opening sentence and we proceeded to put all of their sentences in order to form a paragraph.  Some sentences were very similar and we combined them.

Creating a Prezi

I showed them a completed Prezi and then we created one together.  I went through the steps of choosing a template and entering their first sentence.  I have a projector and a large screen so that the students could follow along.  After the first frame the students started checking out books and I instructed the students to come over and watch me after they had checked out. I had students watching over my shoulder and I had them tell me what to click and what steps to do next.

Students watching library media specialist enter their sentences into Prezi

Students watched me enter their sentences into the class Prezi about Maathai.

I had collected photos of Maathai using Creative Commons and saved them to a folder.  I told the students about why we were using these photos and the rights that authors and photographers have.

The 3rd grade students will be creating their own Prezis later this year, so this was their first introduction to this technology.

Here is link to one of the Prezis: Wangari Muta Maathai Mrs. Orme’s 3rd Grade

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Summarizing Activity: Wangari Muta Maathai

Sometimes you have one of those inspiration moments.   I was wondering what to do with the 3rd grade classes following a week of running the Scholastic Book Fair.  If you haven’t done a book fair, let me tell you, it leaves you drained and uninspired.

I had read the book, Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya to 2nd grade classes who are studying about people who make a difference in their communities.  Being a IB/PYP school I try to broaden the idea to a global scale and had thought of Maathai, an environmentalist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize for peace.

The 3rd grades are in a unit covering the Georgia Performance Standard in Science:

S3L2. Students will recognize the effects of pollution and humans on the environment.
a. Explain the effects of pollution (such as littering) to the habitats of plants and
b. Identify ways to protect the environment.
• Conservation of resources
• Recycling of materials

I thought I would be able to use this book by Donna Jo Napoli to show them how one woman made a huge impact on the Kenyan environment.

Utilizing Encyclopedia

Mama Miti book next to desktop displaying Encyclopedia Britannica article on Maathai

The book I read to the class and the online encyclopedia article on Maathai that we read together.

I read the book to the class and then pulled up Encyclopedia Britannica Student via our Galileo Kids online database.  There was a short article on Maathai that was appropriate for 3rd graders to read.  I projected it onto the screen and the students took turns reading it aloud.  We stopped if necessary to clarify a word or to emphasize a point.  I gave each student a lined index card and directed them to a desktop or laptop which already had the article pulled up.  Some chose to work with a partner, while others wanted to work alone.


I wanted them to  summarize what they had heard while I read the book and what we had read together in the encyclopedia article.  They were to write one complete sentence in their own words which would tell an important fact about Dr. Maathai.  I then asked for 5 words that described Maathai.  I modeled this by using their teacher as an example.  I asked for one word that would tell a stranger something important about their teacher.  The first word supplied was teacher.  I called on 4 other students until we came up with 5 words or phrases that would describe important features or characteristics of their teacher.

Index card with summarizing sentence and 5 descriptive words or phrases.

Each student summarized our readings about Maathai by writing one complete sentence and then a list of 5 descriptive words or phrases.

Tagxedo Word Cloud

After the class left, I then typed all of the words into the word cloud creator, Tagxedo.  This website allows you to create a word cloud in a shape.  I chose a tree shape and created the word cloud which I emailed to the teacher so that the students could discuss in class which words or phrases were used most often to describe Maathai (the words that appear larger).

Wangari Orme Tagxedo word cloud summarizing

This Tagxedo word cloud was created using the 5 words written by each student in the 3rd grade class, who were learning to summarize readings.

Follow Up Activity

I wanted to do more with this information literacy instruction, so I spoke with the 3rd grade teachers and we decided that we could use the sentences written by the students as content to create a Prezi.  The teachers wanted their students to create a Prezi for their next unit,  so this would be a good practice for them.  We’ll be doing that next week and I’ll blog about it.  Stayed tuned!

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