Friday, February 1, 2008

February 2008: Holly Simon, PowerPoint Superstar


February 2008 America Learns Strategy of the Month
 University of Michigan

This is one PowerPoint presentation you won't sleep through.

Holly Simon is a freshman at the University of Michigan, and is one of the few first-year students that earned the right to participate in the University's America Reads Tutoring Corps program.

Holly SimonHolly developed an incredibly engaging PowerPoint deck for her elementary-aged students. Her interactive system helped her students practice reading sight words, review the present and past tense forms of words, manipulate word chunks and more.

While Holly's strategy is great for its intended purpose, our favorite aspect of this resource is that it's so flexible. If you're familiar with creating PowerPoint presentations, you can edit her file and turn it into a game to help your students practice math skills, study for a vocabulary test, and much, much more.

When you download Holly's file, be sure to run the slideshow and click the various links on that first slide! We hope you'll be able to harness Holly's dedication and creativity for your own students.

The Strategy


Created by: Holly Simon, University of Michigan America Reads Tutoring Corps(America Learns Network member since 2004)
Topics: - Decoding & Sounding Out Words
- Grammar
- Sight & High Frequency Words
- Spelling
Grade Levels: First - Third
Arrangements: One-on-One; Small Group
- This PowerPoint Game (Edit the slides to align the game with your students' needs.)
- Your own laptop computer or a computer on-site that you're able to install files on
- Pencils & paper for each student to write on
*If you do not have PowerPoint, download a free PowerPoint viewer (Windows; Mac).

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Situation: It was my last day with my tutees, and I wanted a fun way to have them all learn together that would use all of the skills I've taught them.

America Learns Note:
Note that while this strategy was originally designed with literacy in mind, it can also be applied to other subjects. Just modify the attached PowerPoint file!

Step 1: I made a Jeopardy-type game using PowerPoint with five categories: Sight Words 1, Sight Words 2, Past & Present Tense, Chunks, and Sound it Out. Each category had five questions.

Holly Simon's PowerPoint Game

The first three categories were populated with multiple choice questions. The students had to choose the correct spelling of either the sight word or the past tense of the word given. When the student clicked the right answer, the screen changed to read "CORRECT!" When the student clicked the incorrect answer, the screen changed to read, "Sorry! Try Again!" first.

- Example: What is the correct spelling of the past tense of laugh? (Provide three wrong answers and one correct answer for the student to click on.)

For the fourth category, called Chunks, the students had to write a word using a specific chunk. If you feel that all of your students are comfortable with the chunk at issue and are comfortable with added competition, you can tell them that you want to see who can write a qualifying word first.

- Example: Be the first to write a word using an "sh" chunk!

Then for the final category, Sound it Out, the students had to say a given word correctly.

- Example: Sound it Out! tablecloth

Step 2: The Rules.

- The Chunks category was the only one they would play together (we gave points to the student who wrote out a word first). For the rest, they would take turns.

- If player 1 got it wrong, then player 2 could try. If player 2 got it wrong, then player 3 could try, etc.

- Whoever got it correct could pick the next category and question number.
Because they are at different reading levels, once one of them answers two questions correctly in a row, it moved on to the next player.

Step 3: Using This PowerPoint File With Your Students.

Rather than creating a PowerPoint file from scratch, just replace the game slides with words your students have been learning to make it more relevant to them. Note that you can also adapt this to help your students review other subject areas as well. So to review multiplication facts, each column could be one number of the multiplication times table and the different slides could ask the students to solve questions for a given table (e.g., for a column labeled "1 x __" a question for $100 could be "1 x 1", a question for $200 could be "1 x 4", etc.).

How Have You Addressed this Issue?

Please share your thoughts about this strategy and any messages you have for Holly by clicking the grey “Comments” link below.