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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources



College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

Speaking and Listening CCRA.SL.5

5. Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

Between the Internet, television, and advertising of all kinds, we’ve become an increasingly visual culture. Since we get so much of our information from looking at various displays, it makes sense to throw visual and multi-media displays into presentations. Not only do these give most of our audience the information they need in a way they’re used to getting it, but they also help those who are “visual learners,” or who absorb information best when they see it instead of merely hearing someone talk about it.

Example 1

Sample Questions for Use in Class

1. How Many Ways to Say It?

Have students read the passages below on various learning styles, and discuss the questions in a small group; then, have each group present its answers to the class as a whole. Students should be encouraged to use alternative ways to present the information that include each type of learning.

Visual learners primarily learn by looking or watching. Reading, viewing images, or watching someone do a task are all ways of learning that appeal to visual learners.

What are some examples of things you can use in a speech that will help visual learners follow your point?

(Possible Answers: graphs, charts, images, PowerPoint slides, writing notes on the board.)

Auditory learners primarily learn by hearing and listening. Lectures, music, and reading aloud are ways of learning that appeal to auditory learners.

What are some examples of things you can use in a speech that will help auditory learners follow your point?

(Possible Answers: speaking out loud, playing music, question and answer sessions with the audience, reading important information or having someone in the group read it.)

Kinesthetic learners primarily learn through movement or “doing things.” Hands-on projects, writing, and games that require participants to move around are all ways of learning that appeal to kinesthetic learners.

What are some examples of things you can use in a speech that will help kinesthetic learners follow your point?

(Possible Answers: games, encouraging the audience to write down notes, having the audience participate in a project by touching sample products or building something while you give instructions.)

Example 2

2. Matching For Fun and Profit

Match each of the following types of presentation aids with the learning style they appeal to. Some questions will have more than one answer.

Learning Styles:

a. visual
b. auditory
c. kinesthetic

Presentation Aids

1. Writing on the blackboard (a; b, if you read aloud what you're writing; c, if you ask a student to do it or ask students to write it down themselves.)

2. PowerPoint or photographic slides (a; b, if you read or speak while you show the slides)

3. Passing around a sample (a; b, if you explain what it is; c)

4. Having the audience get up and move around to practice an activity (all of the above, if done correctly)

Example 3

Assignment 3.

Unless you’re a bit of a geek, it’s likely that your students will know more about digital media in all its myriad formats than you do. Get them thinking about creative ways to enhance their presentations and learn something about what’s out there by using the following activity:

Split students into small groups and give each group a topic. You can have students draw these from a hat, or assign them at random. The topic itself can be nearly anything, since the point is to get students to think about the media available to present it. (You can, of course, use in-class topics that the students should be thinking about anyway.)

Have each group brainstorm five to ten different types of media they could use to present the topic to the class. These might include video clips, PowerPoint slides, photographs, animations, audio recordings of music or sound, computer-generated graphs or charts, interactive media like Web sites or video games, and so on. Then, have each group tell the rest of the class which media it chose for its topic and why. Let the rest of the class discuss the pros and cons of each choice. For instance, a group making a presentation on the Civil War may choose to use photographs, which are readily available, but may also say it wants to use videos from the war itself, which isn’t possible because no video footage of the Civil War exists. (Videos of reenactments, however, are available and may be helpful.)

Example 4

Assignment 4.


1. What is this a map of? Who made it? How can you tell? 

(Possible Answers: This National Weather Service map shows the number of severe thunderstorm warnings in the continental United States by coloring each county depending on how many severe thunderstorm warnings it had during the year.) 

2. Which U.S. counties had the most severe thunderstorm warnings this year? Which had the least? How many did our county have?

(Possible Answers: The maximum, according to the map, was in Osage County, Oklahoma, which had 23 severe thunderstorm warnings in one year. Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas also had a high number of severe thunderstorm warnings. Several counties in the western U.S. had no severe thunderstorm warnings at all. The answer to the last question will depend on where you live.)

3. Say you have to give a presentation and you have to use this map in your presentation. What possible topics could your presentation be on so you could use this map to explain those topics to your audience?

(Possible Answers: Will vary. Many will have to do with weather, but other likely candidates include presentations on places not to live in if you’re scared of thunderstorms, places where your homeowner’s insurance is likely to be more expensive, or places in which you are most likely to be able to catch a tornado to Oz.)

Quiz 1 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. Questions 1-5 refer to the following pie chart, which shows the annual budget of the state of Colorado, broken down to show what percentage of the budget goes to which services.

    Why did the person who made this graph choose to make a pie chart instead of a bar or line graph?

    Correct Answer:

    A pie chart shows the entire budget at once, as well as how much of the budget goes to each government agency.

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - Pie charts are most often used to show an entire thing as well as its parts.

  2. If you wanted to use this chart in a presentation, which of the following would NOT be an effective format to display the chart?

    Correct Answer:

    Text everyone the numbers and have them make their own charts.

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - This would be most incovenenient.

  3. Which of the following presentations would be easier for the audience to understand if it included this chart?

    Correct Answer:

    “How Education Costs More Than Nearly Everything Else the State Pays For”

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - The chart doesn’t contain information that would be relevant to the other topics listed.

  4. Let’s say that you work for Colorado’s Department of Corrections and you have to give a presentation to the state’s budget committee. Which of the following presentations is made MOST effective by including this chart?

    Correct Answer:

    “Corrections Has the Tiniest Piece of the Pie and We’re Tired of It”

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - The chart doesn’t directly support the information in the other topics listed.

  5. Instead of discussing percentages in your presentation, you want to talk to the state budget committee about actual dollar amounts. Which of the following would be the MOST effective visual aid?

    Correct Answer:

    A bar graph showing that in this year’s budget, the Corrections Department got the least amount of money compared to the other departments.

    Answer Explanation:

    (e) - This would make the small dollar amount that Corrections received look even more striking.

  6. Questions 6-10 refer to the following chart:

    Based on this chart, which of the following is MOST likely one of the tasks of the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission?

    Correct Answer:

    Keep track of which nuclear plants are operating, where they are, and how old they are.

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - This information is all provided on the chart, which identifies itself as a product of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

  7. You are making a presentation in order to convince a U.S. city to invest in a nuclear energy plant. This chart would be MOST helpful to support which point?

    Correct Answer:

    “Most of the country’s nuclear plants are more than twenty years old, and will need to be replaced with newer, more efficient plants.”

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - The ages of the plants are provided on the chart, and the data supports the conclusion that older plants may need to be replaced.

  8. You’re the head of a nuclear energy company, and you want to build nuclear plants where no one has ever built them before. Based on the chart, you should build your plants in:

    Correct Answer:


    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - There are no nuclear plants in Wyoming.

  9. Excited by the idea of building your plants where no one has ever built them before, you show this chart to your company’s board of directors. The directors, however, want to build nuclear plants in places where the existing nuclear plants are all older than thirty years. The directors MOST likely want to build plants in:

    Correct Answer:


    Answer Explanation:

    (c) - This state has plants that are between 30-39 years old.

  10. Which of the following visual aids would be MOST helpful in convincing your board of directors that it’s smarter to build nuclear plants where no one has ever built them before?

    Correct Answer:

    A graph showing that people in states with no nuclear plants experience more power outages than people in states with nuclear plants.

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - These people are more likely to need/want/appreciate a new power plant.

Quiz 2 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

For Questions 1-10, assume that you have been assigned to give a presentation on the American writer Ernest Hemingway, who died in 1961.

  1. As part of your Hemingway presentation, your teacher wants you to show how Hemingway fits into the history of American literature. Which of the following visual aids would be MOST helpful to show this?

    Correct Answer:

    A timeline showing when Hemingway’s books were published.

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - Shows how Hemingway “fits in” by showing where his work falls relative to other American writers.

  2. You want to show your audience a piece of Hemingway’s writing that captures his short, clipped style. You plan to put the writing up on an overhead projector. Which of the following pieces would be easiest for your audience to see in this format and will best show Hemingway’s terse writing style?

    Correct Answer:

    A copy of Hemingway’s famous six-word story, “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”

    Answer Explanation:

    (c) - Short, easy to see on an overhead because it’s only six words, and perfectly sums up Hemingway’s clipped style.

  3. During your research, you learn that Hemingway had four wives during his life. Which of the following visuals will make it easiest for your audience to remember how many wives Hemingway had?

    Correct Answer:

    Blown-up photographs of Hemingway with each of his four wives.

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - Since there are only four, the human brain can store them as a group; having Hemingway in the photos also shows how he aged through the years with each wife.

  4. Hemingway worked as an ambulance driver in World War I. Which of the following digital media pieces would be LEAST helpful to your audience in understanding World War I?

    Correct Answer:

    A recording of a 1939 radio broadcast that discusses how Poland was invaded.

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - This occurred during World War II, not World War I.

  5. A friend suggests that you show the audience a screenshot of Hemingway’s Facebook page. Why won’t this idea work?

    Correct Answer:

    Hemingway doesn’t have a Facebook page because he died in 1961, long before Facebook was invented.

  6. Facebook is out, but you still want to show your audience a Web page about Hemingway. Which of the following Web pages would be LEAST useful to your audience?

    Correct Answer:

    A Web page that only contains text about Hemingway.

    Answer Explanation:

    (d) - This will be hardest for your audience to see, much less get any information from.

  7. After the war, Hemingway moved to Paris, and you believe he moved so he could meet interesting people and work on his writing. Which of the following visual aids would BEST support your belief?

    Correct Answer:

    A photograph showing Hemingway sitting in a cafe with other famous writers, writing something on a napkin.

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - This shows him sitting with famous people and working on his writing.

  8. As part of your presentation, you want to prove that Hemingway loved animals. Which of the following photographs are you LEAST likely to show your audience?

    Correct Answer:

    A photograph of Hemingway killing a bull in a bullfight.

    Answer Explanation:

    (a) - Loving to kill animals is not the same thing as loving them.

  9. Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in 1954. Which of the following media pieces is LEAST helpful in illustrating this point?

    Correct Answer:

    A video recording of a Nobel acceptance speech by a writer who praises Hemingway as his source of inspiration.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - Says nothing about Hemingway’s Nobel. *correct answer
    • (e) - Not Hemingway-specific, but Hemingway’s Nobel would still be included, making this a better answer than (a). Thus, (a) is still the LEAST helpful, and is the correct answer to this question.

  10. An hour before you have to give your presentation, you learn that the power is out in the auditorium. You give up all your awesome media EXCEPT:

    Correct Answer:

    A poster showing Hemingway’s family tree.

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - No electricity required!

More standards from College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening - Speaking and Listening