My EFL Love Affair with PowerPoint

When planning lessons I always ask myself if it’s necessary to bombard the learner with mstack-of-papersultiple worksheets.

Too much paper can cause:

A) the adult learner to feel like they’re at school.

B) a fluffy little jungle creature to lose its treetop home.

Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic. There’s no harm in using a couple of worksheets in your lessons, but why not consider an alternative way of delivering that information?

Enter, PowerPoint. Substituting a paper-based exercise for a slideshow activity can give your lesson a boost and recapture the learners’ attention.

Here are a few of the ways I use PowerPoint in the classroom.


Images

At its simplest, PowerPoint is a fantastic way to display images for discussion, especially if like me you don’t have access to a colour printer.

For example, to stimulate conversation about technological advancements over the past decade, I show a slideshow where photographs of different gadgets and devices appear. Learners identify the different technologies then rank them in order of usefulness, discussing the pros and cons as they go.

Comparatives/ superlatives

Photographs are also handy when practising a grammar point. I made a very simple slideshow for comparatives and superlatives. Each slide contains photographs on a different theme (foods, animals, countries). Learners then have to form sentences comparing the images.

RESOURCE: comparing photos PowerPoint


Grammar Quiz

Distance your students from test territory by presenting a grammar exercise on PowerPoint. Once the learner has answered the questions animate the answer to appear.

Bad day lesson plan

Level: Elementary/ pre-intermediate

Aim: In this interactive lesson, learners practise the past simple and its negative form.

RESOURCE: bad day PowerPoint

1. A photograph shows a happy woman who had a good day. Elicit reasons from the learners, ensuring that they are using the past simple correctly. For example ‘She won the lottery’.

If yours are not a creative bunch move on to the gap-fill exercise. Learners have to find the correct verb to fit the gap. If they struggle finding a verb click to give them some options.

2. A second photograph shows a woman who had a bad day. As before, elicit some reasons, ensuring the learners use ‘didn’t + verb infinitive’ correctly. Continue with a similar gap-fill exercise.

3. Ask the learners if they had a good or bad day yesterday and why.

Make / do / take

These verbs cause a lot of confusion for our learners here in France, I suppose because their verb ‘faire’ does the job of both make and do.

Here is a little quiz I made to practise make/do/take. I designed this for elementary/ pre-intermediate groups but have found that it can also work well as revision for higher levels.

Different photographs are displayed (e.g. make the bed, do the shopping, take a shower) and the learner must describe the action using the correct verb. For a double dose of grammar fun, incorporate the tense you are currently working on. Maybe these actions happened yesterday, or are happening right now, or are going to happen at the weekend.

RESOURCE: make do take PowerPoint quiz


 Idiomatic Expressions

Teaching idioms is tricky. Unless you have very advanced students, the chances are your learners won’t be familiar with the expressions you want to look at. This could easily lead to a dull situation with the teacher dictating the answers in scholarly fashion.

I think my idioms quiz is one way to get around this. During  a lesson on project management I introduce related expressions through the use of images. For example, I show a cartoon of a jogger and the sentence ‘it’s__________ smoothly’. I tell the learner to say what they see in the image to find the answer. If they need an extra clue, another click displays multiple choice options.

At the end of the quiz I ask learners to relate these idioms to their own experiences. How is their project going? Have they encountered any major hurdles? Have they ever hit a brick wall with a project?

RESOURCE: project idioms PowerPoint


I hope you like the ideas in this post. I’d love to know how you use PowerPoint in the classroom. You can leave me a comment by clicking the link at the top of the post.

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