Standard Lesson

Creating Better Presentation Slides through Glance Media and Billboard Design

9 - 12
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five 50-minute sessions plus additional time for creation of slides
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Through study and application of basic design principles, students learn how to make effective slides to accompany speeches and presentations.  This lesson introduces students to "glance media" theory and illustrates its concepts by looking at a series of billboards. Students then demonstrate their learning by creating slides to accompany an existing historical speech.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

The NCTE Position Statement on Multimodal Literacies states that the "[i]ntegration of multiple modes of communication and expression can enhance or transform the meaning of the work beyond illustration or decoration," an observation that takes on special meaning in the realm of producing slides to accompany presentations or speeches. Despite the fact that even "[f]rom an early age, students are very sophisticated readers and producers of multimodal work" they may not apply this sophistication to school-based assignments, resulting in PowerPoints that are too text-heavy or reliant on inappropriate images. This lesson provides students with a theoretical framework to help them "understand how [multimodal works such as presentation slides] make meaning, how they are based on conventions, and how they are created for and respond to specific communities or audiences."

Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology





  • This lesson assumes that students have had some prior experience with creation of presentation slides through software such as PowerPoint.  If students need additional support, share the Creating a PowerPoint Slide handout or information from the PowerPoint in the Classroom Website.

  • Make copies of necessary handouts.

  • Secure access to Internet-connected computers and presentation software such as PowerPoint or Keynote.

  • Preview the online article Learning Slide Design from an IKEA Billboard.  Because this article is a blog entry, ensure that your school's Web filter allows students to access the article.  If not, make copies of the article content to share in a one-use setting.  If students will be reading the article online, arrange for students to have access to Internet-connected computers in the first session.

  • Determine the best way for students to engage with the reading.  Some students can read the article independently.  You might allow others to read the article out loud in pairs or offer a read-aloud for students who would benefit from extra support.  Doing a read-aloud also provides an opportunity for you to discuss some of the structural and organizational features of the article with students.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • understand and apply the concept of glance media through the study of slide design concepts.

  • analyze the rhetorical devices in an existing speech and represent them effectively through design.

  • articulate their choices in combining images and words, making reference to design principles as part of the reflection process.

Session One

  1. Begin the lesson by asking students to think of some billboards they have seen recently. As students brainstorm, make a list of these on the board or overhead projector.  If you have access to an internet-connected computer with overhead projector, you can present some example billboards from an online image search ahead of time.

  2. Next, ask students about the common purpose of these billboards. Guide them toward the understanding that billboards need to be able to get a clear and specific message across in a very short period of time, regardless of their specific purpose (whether, for example, it is to advertise a product or company, to share a public service announcement, or so forth).

  3. Then ask students to consider the purpose of PowerPoint slides in a presentation or speech.  As students start to see the overlapping purposes for billboards and presentation slides, ask them to consider how billboards are designed to achieve their purpose.  Refer back to the online images as available and record student responses about the use of visual and textual elements on billboards. 

  4. Continue the discussion by having students consider the design of most presentation slides they have seen or used.  They will likely note that most PowerPoints tend to be too text-heavy, with a list of several bulleted points.  Guide students to understand that presenters tend to over-rely on PowerPoint slides by reading from or minimally elaborating on them. Inform students that during this lesson they will see ways that presentation slides can be used to help the audience understand rather than merely to help the presenter remember the speech or presentation.

  5. Introduce the online article Learning Slide Design from an IKEA Billboard that discusses the similarities between billboards and presentation slides.  Prepare students for the reading by distributing the Learning Slide Design from Billboards Guided Reading Questions and previewing key content on which they should focus.

  6. Using the method you determined based on student needs, group students and give them time to read the article and respond to the questions. Circulate among students, answering questions and assisting students as necessary.

Session Two

  1. Deepen students' understanding of the eight lessons covered in the Learning Slide Design from an IKEA Billboard article by first going over students' responses to the Guided Reading Questions and clarifying any questions they may have. Use the Learning Slide Design from Billboards Teachers Guide as necessary.

  2. Then use the Eight Lessons in Slide Design PowerPoint (adapted from the online article) to review each of the article's main lessons.  Discuss how the example slides utilize the lessons as well as other ways students might make use of the lesson ideas in their own slides.

  3. Ask students to practice applying some of these principles by allowing students to choose an existing speech to illustrate with slides.  This assignment works well with traditionally taught speeches such as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, "I Have a Dream,"   Patrick Henry's "Speech in the Virginia Convention," Chief Joseph's "I Will Fight No More Forever," or John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address.  Another option would be to allow students to select their own historical speech to read, research, and illustrate.  In this case, provide students access to this online collection of the top 100 speeches of the 20th century.

  4. After students have been assigned, or have selected and printed, a speech for presentation, scaffold the design process for students by sharing the Glance Media Speech Analysis Guide. Sharing examples and definitions of literary terms as necessary, use the handout to review figurative language, metaphor, analogy, and symbolism, as instances of these devices are often good places to start for slide design. If you choose, use the ReadWriteThink slide show to provide a review of literary elements.

  5. Students should complete the Speech Analysis Guide for the next session.

Session Three

  1. Discuss questions students have from their completed Speech Analysis Guides

  2. Take the opportunity to solicit examples of imagery from various student speeches and discuss ways students can illustrate particular lines or key ideas. 

  3. Continue to refer students back to the ideas from the online article.  Review the ways in which figurative language makes "word pictures," helping students see how they can use these figurative phrases to come up with visuals for their speech.  For example, if students were analyzing King's "I Have a Dream" speech for presentation, they could make use of his extended metaphor of coming to Washington to "cash a check," perhaps with a visual of a voided check to drive home the point that America went back on its promise to African Americans.  Here you can emphasize the "Make it visual" lesson from the article.  

  4. This is also a good time to discuss the importance of the overall tone and feel of the speech.  A serious speech should not be illustrated with silly images, even if the picture relates to the content of the speech.

  5. Collect and review this assignment to make sure students have a good grasp of the speech they are planning to present.

Session Four

  1. Return the Speech Analysis Guides collected in the previous session, along with any appropriate feedback for students.

  2. Inform students that they are now prepared to create a presentation to accompany the speech they analyzed.

  3. Provide students access to sites such as the Public Domain Image Gallery and Creative Commons Images to help them find appropriate images for their presentations. Summarize the key principles from the NCTE Position Statement on Fair Use for Media Literacy Education to make sure students are using images appropriately in their presentations.

  4. At an appropriate time after students have had some experience applying the design principles, facilitate a conversation with students about how their presentations will be evaluated, using the Slide Design Evaluation Rubric as an organizer.

  5. Have students start by individually brainstorming the rubric descriptions that would distinguish excellent and satisfactory work from work that needs improvement. Remind them to refer to the eight lessons as they work individually.

  6. Then have students pair up and compare their ideas before bringing the entire class together to create the final rubric you will use to evaluate their work.

  7. Compile the class results into a final rubric. Give students copies of this rubric to self assess before they present their speeches and slides.

  8. The amount of time in and out of class students will need to create their presentations will vary depending on the speeches chosen and the learning readiness of the students. Add additional sessions for slide creation as necessary.

  9. After students have created their slide presentations, have them provide reflection and explanation for each slide in the notes field.  In this annotation, students should discuss what main point is being made at that point in the speech and how the combination of text, images, and spacing serve to communicate or emphasize that message from the speech. Students should also make specific reference to how the principles from the Learning Slide Design from an IKEA Billboard online article are influencing their work.  If necessary, students should revise their slide to match the message at that moment in the speech.

Session Five

  1. Students should share their presentations with the class in this session. As each student presents, have the rest of the class provide feedback to their peers using a completed Slide Design Evaluation Rubric.

  2. If possible, give students time to make revisions based on feedback from their peers prior to submitting the completed presentation for evaluation.


  • After students become comfortable with application of design principles based on glance media theory, they can apply the principles to an original speech or topical presentation.

  • Enrich the multimodal aspect of the assignment by asking students to record their speech or presentation as a soundtrack, incorporating appropriate sound effects and music to enhance the message.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Use the completed Slide Design Evaluation Rubric to provide feedback to students.

  • Ask students to reflect on how their presentation differs as a result of the instruction in the lesson. Have students create an alternate version of one of their slides to illustrate how they might have completed the task before.


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