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The Secret to Interactive Slideshow Presentations in First Grade

Do you hear the word slideshow and immediately think “ugh”. Me, too. I think of high school and college lectures that still put me to sleep to this day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Interactive slideshows or presentations can be a very effective tool in a first grade, really any elementary, classroom IF they are used in the right way.

The reason they can be so effective is because they allow a student to be introduced to and practice a skill BEFORE they have to apply that skill to a text!

I am 100% guilty of overwhelming my students with TONS of information when I first introduce a skill and I almost always had them applying it to their own text as soon as I introduced a skill. Until now.

Using interactive slideshows forces me to slow down and build a solid foundation. It’s kind of like penciling something into your calendar to MAKE yourself do it! By introducing new skills with a slideshow, it forces me to take it slow.

Another great benefit is that these are highly FLEXIBLE! You can use them in the classroom or easily transition them to distance learning!

Secret #1 Keep it Short

Always remember that your students attention spans are between 5-10 minutes.. .but if we’re being honest, it’s probably closer to five.

My best advice is to keep it short, but make sure you include the following things:

  • What it is
  • How to do it
    • Introduce sentence stems if applicable
  • Examples
    • Model how to provide evidence or reasoning with their answer

Secret #2 Opportunity for Practice

I love to give my students an opportunity to practice the skill with a non-text activity.

For example, if we are talking about problem and solution, I present them with a real life problem and ask them to give me some solutions.

If we are talking about connections, I ask them to find the connection between two objects or tell me the connection they personally have with those two objects.

A few tips for practice:

  • Let students generate their own answers
  • Review your desired responses
  • Use sentence stems like “I think___ because___” or “My connection is ____”

Secret #3 Make it Interactive

This is the key to making slideshows effective. Give your students some type of way to interact. This doesn’t necessarily mean they get up and move control or move part of the slideshow, although you could totally do it that way!

I like to use simple ways for students to interact without having to leave their seat/spot on the rug.

Include some type of activity that allows the students to interact:

  • One or two
  • Thumbs up thumbs down
  • Yes or no cards
  • Turn and talk

It does NOT need to be complicated. Keep it simple!


Secret #4 Convert it into a Station

So a five minute slideshow with an interactive component is GREAT for introducing a skill. But, if you really want them to keep practicing the skill with a non-text activity, consider converting your slideshow into some kind of station activity.

I use my slideshow “practice examples” to create a writing station. My stations include the same examples (plus lots more) and 1-2 recording sheets.

Honestly this station activity can last me 2 weeks up to a month! The kids can use the same recording sheet every day, and just change out the pictures/prompts. 

Secret #5 Repurpose for Intervention

I LOVE to repurpose these slideshows into an intervention activity for my students who might still be struggling with a particular concept after the class has moved on.

I set up my laptop at my small group table and we briefly go over the beginning of the slideshow (the what and how) but what I’m really focusing on is the practice piece!! Because I’m doing it in a small group, we can really talk about what makes an answer correct or spend extra time on explaining our reasoning for choosing an answer.

I’ve found this to be a very effective strategy for my struggling readers because I’m stripping the activity back down to the skill WITHOUT applying it to a text. Sometimes students just really need this extra little boost and then the next day we will apply the skill to a text and they always show improvement!

I especially love that I’m not having to create something new for intervention.

Done for You Slideshows

Absolutely everything you read in this post today can be done for FREE!! But if you are anything like me, you are probably thinking well this is great and everything, but I wish this was already done for me.

Well I have good news for you.. IT IS!!

I’ve bundled my Interactive Slideshows and Digital Writing Stations.

This growing bundle currently includes the following skills:

  • Make an Inference
  • Story Retell
  • Describe a Character
  • Problem and Solution
  • Generate Questions
  • Make a Prediction

It will grow to include:

  • Make a Connection
  • Author’s Purpose
  • Synthesize New Information
  • Main Idea and Detail
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Kristen Sullins

Kristen Sullins

I am a current Elementary Librarian and
Enrichment Teacher, mother of two, follower of Christ and Texas native. In my own classroom, I love to save time by finding unique ways to integrate writing, social studies and science into all parts of my day. I also love all things organization!