PowerPoint project was enlightening

January 26, 2012|Lisa Prejean

There were three choices:

  •  Describe a person you know.
  •  Describe the best way to spend a Saturday.
  •  Describe a room.

The directions were simple. Write a paragraph on one of these topics. Construct a topic sentence that tells your reader what the paragraph will contain. Develop your paragraph with details. End your paragraph with a solid concluding sentence.

Most people think that writing five to seven sentences is an easy task.

However, it's not as simple as it seems, especially when those sentences are being turned in to a teacher.

My students approached this task in the typical way: "You want it when?"

They rose to the occasion, and the work they did was very good.

I enjoyed reading about the people in their lives, the rooms that are special to them and the things they like to do.

According to my students, the best ways to spend a Saturday include sleeping in, spending time with family and friends, watching movies and playing video games.

If I would write about the best way to spend a Saturday, my ideas would be somewhat similar. Start the day without an alarm clock and surround myself with family and friends. What could be better than that?

Let's face it — everyone needs a break, some time to rest, after a week of work.

How we accomplish that varies, depending on our interests and abilities.

Yet Saturdays for most people tend to become catch-up days.

Long-term projects that we can't get to during the week get pushed to the weekend.

Such was the case for my daughter last Saturday. She needed to do a PowerPoint presentation for history class. She had most of the research done prior to Saturday, which was very good.

There was only one problem. She had never used PowerPoint before. I was the only one in our family who knew how to use this software. PowerPoint allows a presenter to share information in a slide show format. All that is needed is a computer and a projector.

To create a presentation in PowerPoint, it helps if the presenter has experience in layout and design. However, starting from scratch is not an easy task. I saw the day unfolding before us, and I have to admit that my attitude about this project was not good. I tried not to let it show.

First, I taught my daughter the basics of the software — how to create a slide, how to import a photo, how to insert text, how to change colors.

We did the first two slides together. Then I told her I was available if she had questions, but other than that, she was on her own. This was her project.

About 13 hours and 27 slides later, she looked up from the computer screen and told me she was done. The whites of her eyes were huge. It was the most intense gamer look I've seen in my house.

She admitted that preparing the presentation was hard work but that she enjoyed it.

My attitude changed.

It was an intense day, but she felt a sense of accomplishment. Plus, she learned how to do something new.

I think she enjoyed choosing the colors, selecting the photos and writing the text.

The best way to spend a Saturday? I'm not sure if she would say that, but there was an element of pleasure to the day.

The project was done.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send email to her at

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