My daughter began college in 2020 when the majority of her classes were still on-line and most extracurricular activities were still shut down. She lived in the dorm, but was definitely not experiencing the typical first year for obvious reasons. When she started talking about “PowerPoint Parties” that her close friends would host, I thought that was another amazing example of how creativity can be born from constraint. They couldn’t go out to many places, so they found a way to entertain themselves inside.
PowerPoint parties are when small groups of people meet and — you guessed it — show PowerPoint presentations. But these are not the “Here is what I learned about Abraham Lincoln” kind of presentations. Sometimes there is a theme for the the party, such as “The Best TV Show Ever” or sometimes participants are just invited to do one on whatever they’re passionate about. One of the favorites that my daughter’s friends have shared is when they pick which Disney character each of their friends would be. It seems that, usually, the purpose of the presentations are to persuade — and to entertain, of course. Sometimes they offer prizes at these parties, but not always. There are also parties where the presentations are timed (usually 3 minutes) or there is some kind dress code that goes with the theme.
I recently saw a TikTok from a teacher (Noelle Cheney) where she let her students have a PowerPoint Party in class (wouldn’t this be a fun class reward?) and here are some of the topics her high school students did: why you should give us a free day every other Friday, why baby trucks (aka compact trucks) are stupid, why the Shrek tetrology is a piece of cinematic brilliance, and why Miss Cheney should get a fish as a class pet.
I like the class pet idea if you work with younger kids. Some others could be: things you like that no one else does, the best board game, which fictional character would make the best president, the best super hero, where your class should go on its next field trip, or even a theme proposed by your students.
PowerPoint parties can be a fun class reward, interspersed as Brain Breaks, used on those chaotic class days right before a holiday, or an introduction to Genius Hour. You could also make them “semi” educational. For example, if your class has just finished a novel you could host a PowerPoint party where they argue which dog each character would be and why.
What are the benefits of PowerPoint Parties? Practicing persuasion, research, technology, and presenting skills, giving students the opportunity to use their creativity, learning more about each other, and bringing some laughter into your classroom!
Do any of you use PowerPoint parties in your classroom? Comment below!
@noellelovessloths This is a genius idea that you can use for several different lessons. 10/10 recommend #powerpointnight #teacherlife #highschool #noellelovessloths ♬ original sound – matt