I have to say I really enjoyed this final project! Having worked through the various stages of Course 3, it was empowering to take one of my own presentations (which was an obvious candidate for some serious overhaul) and now, feel I have one which I feel I can, and will use that is actually meaningful,  relevant and one I can speak with true belief on. Weirdly, I find that my own presentation has made me ‘buy’ into what I was meant to be already a believer of if that make any sense? It seems the impact of visual literacy and design is very powerful indeed.

My Back to School Night Presentation that we currently use to inform parents about our the Elementary Grade 5 program was crying out for some serious attention. My previous presentation has a lot of ‘white space’, it has several images on one slide, and I feel generally came across as ‘busy’   Second time round, I feel I have done a better job of taking on advice from Garr Reynold’s ideas on Presentation Zen.  Advice from my Coetail Instructor Chrissy Hellyer was to take the plunge and put the whole image on a slide, to not be tempted to ‘squish it’.  Additionally I have tried hard to keep only keywords on each slide. As I watch through the final product, I do believe the pictures are more meaningful and engaging whilst ensuring the main messages are clearly portrayed therefore more beneficial to them. Whilst I have many slides, the key is that they act as a prompt in reminding me what it is I need to share with the parents, with no need to refer to notes/read from slides should mean that I can present confidently and effectively. I have also created a handout for parents to take home. This contains information that was up on my previous presentation for the parents to refer back too. It was interesting to see how many of my colleagues have recognised the need to modify the same presentation as I. My ELL colleague Disha has done a wonderful job of upgrading her presentation Likewise Jason Krugler modified his with equal success.

The hardest aspect of this project was knowing when to stop, and be content with the changes. In one of my previous posts “Present and Engaged” I discussed some of the points raised in Presentation Zen An Overview by Matt Helmke. He refers to the author Garr Reynolds advice on what to do next, when you believe you have completed the presentation. Which was to go back and to edit. Then go back again, edit some more, then again. And again. So that is what I have been doing for the last couple of days. And now I need to stop! However, I know that when the time comes to roll this out to the parents, I am sure I will have a few more ‘tweaking’ moments. This I see as only a good thing. I will be keen to ensure the presentation is current.

My final thoughts again come from both Coetail Instructor Chrissy Hellyer and Matt Helmke. Both spoke of how the presentation was there to support me, because for what I had to say, there was no replacement. This short 25 minutes window is my opportunity to reach out and ensure parents leave the room with a feeling that their child is; in safe hands, that he or she will be given a variety of opportunities to learn through different experiences, and that they as parents are informed of the vital components that will help their child achieve greater success as they navigate the path of 5th grade. Finally they will leave knowing that as their child learns they will witness them enjoy their learning, and be guided as they do so in a bid to be the responsible, productive and ethical world citizens our school believes in. For that reason, as I speak to the audience using both visuals and words,  I do need to be ‘completely there, to tell my story and keep my audience engaged” (Garr Reynolds). I am keen to try it out.

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  1. Profile photo of Dema Dabat Dema Dabat says:


    I enjoyed reading about your final project. I also choose to recreate my back to school night presentation. Looking through your new presentation I really like the simplicity, the colors, and most of all the pictures. Your presentations shows your learning from the course and I think it will be much easier to use next year. I like how you have your students picture in your presentation. I think I would like to add one onto mine. I also liked how you split all our subjects onto different slides. Right now mine are all on one slide but I may change it and have them each on a separate slide.
    I think your presentation looks great!

    • Hey there – sorry i did not see this sooner! Fingers crossed we both have a more positive impact and effect in our presentations this yr, I can’t believe that they wont! Will check in with u come the big day!

  2. Profile photo of Jeff Utecht Jeff Utecht says:

    Love the new one so much better! The focus is on you not the slide which is where it should be. Great visuals too! Can’t wait to hear how the parents respond.

    • Cheryl Harrington says:

      Thanks Jeff, I will keep u posted! I will say I approach all my presentations so different now. The words ‘white space’, limit your text and visual and make it big just scream in my ear as I create them! So thankful for this learning curve!


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