My students and I were studying the genre of "How-To" Books. Usually, as part of a similar study, I would have the class create a big book that summarized their knowledge of the genre. This time I decided to have them create a Presentation in Open Office. The end result was very cool!
As with any genre study, we immersed ourselves in "How-To" Books. We read them aloud, we read them in small groups, we read them by ourselves. Next, we brainstormed characteristics or features or attributes (I used all three words to increase vocabulary and to make connections with other academic subjects, particularly Math and Science.) and listed them in small groups. Then we compiled one giant list of features of "How-To" Books. I put the list up in an accessible place in the classroom so that the children could add additional features as they discovered them.
Each child made a list of topics of things that they knew how to do. From that list, each one chose a topic to create their own "How-To" Book. While this writing and revising and conferencing was going on, I had 2 children come to the Linux workstations to learn how to use the template I had created. Earlier I had created a template in Open Office Presentation.
This was saved into "Mrs. W's To-Do" folder that appears on each student's desktop. I walked the first 2 children through the process of using the template and saving it and dragging it to the "Mrs. W's Pass-In" folder. Then these 2 children taught the next 2 children who taught the next 2 until everyone had created their page. The original 2 children were on call as Experts during the process.
The next step had my MAT intern reading everyone's page and then finding 2 - 3 appropriate images for each page and downloading them to a folder. He then worked with each child, walking them through the process of choosing and placing an image.
During snack time one day, I called each child up to choose a background color for their presentation slide. I put all the slides together and showed it to the class. Then I showed them the options for transitions and together they each chose a transition for their slide.
It was a great demonstration of their knowledge of "How-To" Books, it taught them some basic use of Powerpoint-type presentations, and provided a spiffy way to show off during Parent/Teacher Conferences.