Archive for the ‘PowerPoint’ Category

A couple of years ago I used a very short PowerPoint presentation on The Eight Parts of Speech. I made the presentation available to my students so that those who were confused about nouns, verbs, etc. could refer to it. I then decided that an expanded interactive presentation might be more beneficial. I also did not want to be tied to the traditional categories used in grammar.

I have now “completed” the expanded interactive version; however, as you can see from the title of the presentation, after some exploration, I decided to organize the presentation in the old, traditional way. While the categorization is old and traditional, the presentation of the material is not. The presentation is an interactive PowerPoint that allows students to follow their curiostiy by clicking on buttons. The second page of the presentation is “home,” and from there students can click on the part of speech that they would like to learn more about. I have also included an index. The icon for the index is in the upper right hand corner. Buttons in the bottom middle of the pages allow students to go back to the sections within the presentation.

In the future, I plan to expand some of the sections of the presentation. For prepositions of orientation, in particular, I imagine that  photos demonstrating the meanings of the words would be very helpful.


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A few months ago I started a nonlinear PowerPoint presentation on the parts of speech. After a lot of consideration, I decided to stick with the traditional eight parts of speech. I realize that this categorization is not without its disadvantages, but I felt that using the traditional eight would be most efficient for my students. This presentation, however, has turned into a bigger project than I had imagined, and as a result I have decided to post it in small bits. This first post is the one on the noun. It covers count nouns, noncount nouns, infinitives as nouns, and gerunds. The level targets the particular students that I teach. They are at the intermediate level. And here it is…


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This little presentation allows students to categorize the uses of the simple present tense. It also demonstrates how movement in PowerPoint can be used to allow students to actively categorize. To add movement to PowerPoint, use animation.

Categorize the Uses of the Simple Present Tense

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This is a  little presentation that I use to quickly review how to change singular count nouns into plural nouns. It covers

        – spelling rules

       – nouns that are always plural

       – irregular plural nouns

You can start this part of the lesson by asking your class what singular and plural mean, what count nouns and noncount nouns are, and what vowels and consonants are. Then ask them, “How do you change a singular count noun into a plural (count) noun?” Cajole them into giving you a more complex answer than, “Add an s” and you’re off.

The fun thing about this particular presentation is that is demonstrates how you can turn an image into the background for a slide. To do this in PowerPoint, go to Design > Background Styles > Format Background > Picture or Text Fill > Insert from — File > (Browse to choose the file.) > Close.

The link to the presentation is Plural Count Nouns

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Some time ago I made a concentration game using PowerPoint and put the template here on this blog. The template doesn’t have any content, but you are welcome to take it and add your own content. You can download it at: Concentration Template.

From time to time, I check the stats for this blog and not long after creating the Concentration game, I did just that. When I check the stats,  I can see several things: how many hits there have been, the referrers, the links that have been clicked, and the search engine terms people have used. One day, I noticed that someone found this blog by using the terms “cause and effect concentration.” I thought this was a great idea and since one of the rhetorical patterns we work on in my writing class is cause and effect, I have made just such a game.

I use it to do two things:

  1. help students clarify their understanding of what cause means and what effect means
  2. practice writing logical sentences (with correct punctuation) that use the following words and phrases:
    • as a result
    • so
    • since
    • consequently
    • that is why
    • because
    • for this reason

I chose seven words and phrases because this is the number of pairs in the game. I did not use therefore and thus because these words are usually only used when writing about logical conclusions in math and law and would not fit any of the sentences in the game.

The game worked very well. I wrote the above words and phrases on the board and broke the class into teams. I then explained the game and told the class that the teams needed to do two things.

  1. First, they had to match two cards. One card would be a picture that represented a cause and the other would be a picture that represented the effect. They were not allowed to take notes on the location of the cards. This is a concentration game after all!
  2. After matching two cards, one team member would come to the board and use the information on the cards and one of the words on the board to write a sentence of cause and effect. The team could help them, but I would not look at the sentence until it was finished. If the sentence was correct, the team would get a point and another turn. If the sentence was not correct, the next team would have a shot at writing a correct sentence. Once one of the words or phrases on the board was used, I would cross it off to ensure that all of them were used for practice.

Students enjoyed the game and had to work hard to make sure their team’s sentences were logical and correct. The whole class appeared to find mistakes in logic particularly interesting.

Please note that  there is one picture that represents surprised and another that represents frightened or terrified. Surprised is intended to match up with the mouse and frightened or terrified is intended to match up with the ghost. Students thought it was funny when I acted out surprised versus frightened and were fine when I explained that I was looking for something very strong for the ghost and not so strong for the mouse.

To open or download the game go to Cause and Effect Concentration Game.

The source for most of the images was My English Images.

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UsesSimplePresentTenseThe simple present tense isn’t really all that simple and it is used a lot in college courses. It is used for facts and facts are found in all types of courses. It is also used for regular occurrences such as cultural customs and would, therefore, occur regularly :)  in an anthropology course. In addition to these two uses, it is used to write about origin and with nonaction verbs.

Understanding these uses is especially important when students are writing and trying to decide what type pf present tense to use, the simple present or the present continuous. One way to help students understand the uses of the simple present tense is to ask them to categorize example sentences according to their uses. A Categorization of the Uses of the Simple Present Tense  is a  PowerPoint Presentation which uses movement to show categorization. 

There are two ways that you could use it. Use it as it is. Sentences pop up and the class (in pairs) decides which use each example sentence fits under. You could also remove the column headings, ask the students to categorize the sentences and then have them come up with the category headings.

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sunshinigSome words in English have a larger meaning than others. The easiest words to learn are the words with the smallest meanings. As meanings get larger, the process of grasping that meaning sometimes becomes more difficult. That is one reason that articles (a, an and the) in English and prepositions are a bit challenging for some English language learners. One way to help students acquire the meanings of prepositions is to break them down into smaller categories like prepositions of location or prepositions of time. These two types of prepositions are good starting points and lots of exposure to them should help students begin to understand their large meanings.

Flashcards are one way to increase the exposure students have to prepositions. I’ve made some flashcards that cover prepositions of location that students can either put on their mobile devices or review using Slideshare. If students have  iPods or cell phones that have photo browsing capability, they can save the cards through the zip file and then put them on their mobile devices in the same way that they put photos on their devices. Alternatively, students can view the flashcards on Slideshare by linking to the address below.

I’d just like to add one more thing about making flashcards for mobile devices. I made these using PowerPoint. I like using PowerPoint because the font is clear and I can easily add some photos to the cards. PowerPoint also allows me to put the “presentation” on Slideshare. To make the cards for mobile devices, I simply save the PowerPoint presentation as jppgs. They end up in a folder. I then zipped that folder, put it on my website and now I have a link that I can give my students and you!  The links are below.

Cards for mobile devices:


 Link to the presentation on Slideshare:


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I took an online class this past semester, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun. One of the things that I learned in the course was how to make PowerPoint pesentations with audio. It was surprisingly easy and I plan to use it for an online course that I will be offering in the fall. I am also thinking about asking my summer term students to use this method for one of their presentations.

The two things that you need are Audacity and Movie Maker. Audacity is software used to make audio recordings. It’s free and very easy to use. If you use Microsoft Office, you probably already have Movie Maker. It might be under entertainment or under Microsoft Office. After you make your presentation, you can upload it to YouTube so that others can access it. You can find a very clear presentation that explains how to do this at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZmOVt_BIAEvideo.

The process of making the presentation for this class was interesting. Along with learning how to use the technology, I also learned some things about what presentation features are appropriate in this format. Since I had never made a presentation of this type, I struggled with how to do it.  After some thought, I decided to approach it as if it were a research “paper” put to PowerPoint. However, later when I viewed my classmates’ projects, I realized that this type of presentation is not really a research paper on PowerPoint. The presentations that I thought were the most successful took a different approach. In my opinion, they were a bit more casual and noticeably shorter. They also tended to display more of the affective features of language. After the course was finished, I went back and edited my presentation to make it more appropriate for the medium that we used. My second draft can be found at 


If you would like to see the original version, click on this link.

If I decide to ask my students to make a presentation of this type, I will experiment with giving them the following guidelines:

  • The presentation should be between five and seven minutes. (I think that this type of format is best if it is not too long.)
  • Use two to five sources. (This is not a research paper.)
  • Use some emotion in your voice. (To be honest, I am not sure about this one. I think that this point would depend on the topic of the presentation.)

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concentrationjpgPreviously I wrote about nonlinear PowerPoint presentations and some of the creative, interactive things you can do with them. Recently I learned how to use triggers and with my newly gained skill I made a concentration game. I used it on Thursday with my grammar class and it was really fun. For my first experiment with concentration, I divided the class into teams and then explained the game. For this version of the game, they simply had to match possessive adjectives with possessive pronouns. They really liked it and at the end, asked if they could play another round. We didn’t have enough time, but I promised them that we would play another version of the game in the future.

My use of this game on Thursday was pretty basic, but used in other contexts is gives students the opportunity to categorize. They could, for example, match examples with categories. My big picture for this game really involves a marathon review at the end of my writing class. I plan to divide the class into groups and assign each group the responsibility for reviewing one section of the course (time order, space order, persuasive, comparison, contrast, cause and effect, and summary) with the class, using a game format. As an example, I will show them a concentration game that I’ve made to review the things to consider when writing a paragraph that gives instructions. Their responsibility will be to decide which features they will review and make a game which does this. During review week, one of the members of each of the groups will act as quiz master. It’s too much to ask them to create a game so, along with the concentration template that I’ve made, I will make several other game templates available to them. Jeff Ertzberger’s site has lots of great game templates that look like they would be fun and some of them don’t require the students to make any modifications.

If you would like to use this game, please feel free to download the Concentration Template. It was made using Word 2007 and I apologize for not being able to make it available in 2003, but too many of the features were lost. You will need to add your content. Move the brown cards to the side and type in your content where there is currently a question mark.

April 23, 2009 Note: If you downloaded the Concentration Template before April 23, 2009 there is a small glitch with card one. If you download it again after this date, the problem should be fixed. Thank you Toula!

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copy-of-lampIn my writing class on Friday we continued to work on paragraphs organized according to space order. Prior to Friday, students worked on prepositions of location and topic sentences for paragraphs that describe a place. To practice space order, we used a non-linear PowerPoint presentation that I made using some pictures of my apartment. (If you’d like to see an earlier post on how to make this type of presentation, go to Non-linear PowerPoint Presentation.) I’ve been tweaking this actvity for a while. The trickiest part was to find a way for the students to see enough of the apartment, and at the same time maintain a sense of where in the space the items were located. In the end, I laid out small photos on a drawing of the space. The small photos then link to larger ones so that the class can see more detail. We start with just the map and then look at the map with the little photos on it. I then click the little photos one by one so the students can see things in more detail. Each time I return to the map before students view the next picture. Later when the class is writing, I leave the map with the pictures on the screen. Each picture and place is numbered, so if they have any questions or would like to see something again, they can easily refer to the number.

To begin, we reviewed a couple of  things that are useful when writing a paragraph using space order: First, the paragraph needs a topic sentence with a main idea. Then, the writers need to decide on a starting point for the paragraph and describe things in relationship to that point, using prepositions of location. I also reminded students to not only write about the location of things in the space but to include some interesting detail. I was really pleased when they mentioned that this detail could include examples, feelings, or explanation. Next, the students sat in pairs and we viewed the photos. With each photo, I added some detail. For example, I mentioned that when people come over after dark, we turn on the little lamp in the hallway by the front door because it makes the entrance feel cozy and welcoming. I also told them that some mornings while I eat breakfast, I look at the picture of the colorful four vases and think of my three colorful sisters.

After viewing the photos, students worked with their partners to write their paragraphs. I felt that they were very successful at collaborating and when one pair had difficulty coming up with a topic sentence, the other pairs shared their ideas with them. This practice also gave me a chance to move around the room and talk to all of the pairs about their work and remind them of a little grammar including how the first time you write about an indefinite singular count noun you use “a” and after that you use “the.” We also noticed that it is a good idea to use a variety of grammatical patterns instead of using the same pattern again and again. They tended to depend on “you can see” and “you can find.” We talked about some alternatives including “there is” or occasionally starting a sentence with the item being described.  If you’d like to see the photos we used for this practice, click here: An Apartment.

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