My process with creating a presentation using a Presentation Zen design started with HUH?! What does this mean?? mixed with the background noise of my husband watching the NBA All Star Slam Dunk contest and trying to resist the urge to see what all of his yells and excitement was about. Once I removed myself from that situation, I was able to think and begin the oh so fun process of brainstorming. Currently, I work with students and teachers in all things literacy. I even started a blog when that journey was beginning, to document my experiences and learning as well as to share resources that I created for teachers and students with other teachers in the world, so they could do the same at their schools. One day, I will be brave enough to

post the link. Unfortunately, today is not that day. That being said, all that has been on my mind for the past three years is reading and writing. Every workshop I have attended or presented at has been around literacy. Naturally, that’s what I have created my presentation around.

Bumps in the Road

I have a horrible habit of second guessing myself.

  1. I wondered if the presentation I came up with for this assignment was supposed to be filled with content and knowledge gained from this week’s readings.
  2. I had a minor freak out moment and asked my husband to press pause on his Slam Dunk excitement (thanks to League Pass) so that he could listen to me think out loud and work through my freak out with this presentation. I shared with him all of the Presentation Zen ideas presented to us through the work of Garr Reynolds and the six fundamental aptitudes outlined by Daniel Pink in his book A Whole New Mind:
    1. Design
    2. Story
    3. Symphony
    4. Empathy
    5. Play
    6. Meaning
  3. My husband shared his two cents about the importance of presentations and how they have/are changing in the 21st century. He spoke to me about how the idea of having not too much text but adding visuals is what happened in the 20th century with PowerPoints, everyone knows those rules. The biggest difference now is that a presentation can be a source of information– these presentations can be embedded into blogs, turned into webinars, etc. so people in all parts of the world with access to the Internet can take from your presentation– so for that purpose, creating these presentations full of content in a way so that the user of these presentations don’t have to physically be present when you’re presenting can use the information. Okay, that makes sense.
  4. Wait, what?! So what you’re saying is that I should have more content and the visuals support the content? Or am I using visuals to present the content and “deliver it with emotional impact?” Oh. You want me to create TWO presentations-depending on the audience and purpose?!? Dear Husband, ain’t nobody got time for that!
  5. You have given me a lot to think about. You look at and approach creating presentations and content in terms of how you can share this with your immediate audience as well as sharing information beyond the people sitting in the room with you. I am NOT there yet.


For now, I will start with the slides that I created to share with colleagues at one of our professional development days on Graphic Organizers and Reading Comprehension. The slides don’t contain any words, because I wanted to use the pictures in the slides as a visual, to help support the information that I was trying to share with my colleagues through our conversations, and the packet of anchor charts, graphic organizers, and handouts that went along with the presentation. Once my “presentation part” was over, I wanted to give teachers who attended the workshop time to go through picture books and mentor texts to practice what I modeled for them. The idea was that they could take away an idea or teaching strategy that they could easily implement into their classrooms the very next day.

My next steps are to apply that idea of presentation zen to this presentation (and all presentations in the future). I haven’t yet decided on what to work on for my final project, but I will definitely explore the option of changing a past presentation and improving it. I can already see that I need to improve this presentation and credit and even link where I found the images. I need to work on being better at documenting real, authentic work students are doing so I can then include those images into my own presentation. In my presentation specifically for other educators, I should also include a survey so teachers can comment and offer advice on what they liked and if they want anything change, or if I can do something better/differently. I’m trying to work on reflecting and acting upon those reflections!

Matt Haughey speaks about the same ideas as Presentation Zen, and writes his opinions towards people giving presentations who are introverts. I would definitely consider myself an introvert and find it interesting, that no matter your personality, concepts and ideas for good presentations are universal across many areas.