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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources

Grades 11-12

Speaking and Listening SL.11-12.5

SL.11-12.5. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

No more dull presentations to endure! Today’s students are techno savvy, and putting this skill to work is the emphasis of this standard. By incorporating links to such media as videos, art, music, and animation, presentations come alive; audience interest is easily captured and listeners remain engaged. (Admit it--your students should be teaching you this one!)

Most students are enthralled by the use of technology. While they may have perfected the skills on how to use the software, this standard asks them to use their skills in an academic way. By doing so, the understanding of diverse listeners is enhanced by including textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements. Oh, and be prepared to be entertained by these types of presentations. They’re usually quite clever!

Here's an idea to get you started:



As you approach a new literature unit, you’ve been given an assignment by your teacher to research the Age of Rationalism (1650-1800). Your main task is to explain how the philosophies and leanings of the Age of Rationalism are still affecting us today. This era, which is noted for its reliance on the use of reason, seems to have little interest for you. Read: BORING. You gloomily head off to the computer lab for research with three of your BFFs. 

To demonstrate your knowledge of this time period, you’ll be making either a PowerPoint presentation or using a Smartboard or Mimio to present information to your classmates. The task includes the use of various digital media, including text, graphics, recordings, videos, and interactive elements. You’re definitely in for that part of the work.

Looking up literature from the Age of Rationalism, you learn that one of the most famous pieces is Gulliver’s Travels. Wasn’t there a movie on that book starring one of your favorite comedians…. Jack Black? Yes, and you find a video clip of the trailer! You’ll want to incorporate that into your PowerPoint. That should keep your classmates rolling in the aisle.

Another famous piece of literature is Candide, a play by Voltaire. You find a video clip on YouTube of a live performance of the overture to this play by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. You learned about him in band. Not exactly your type of music, but hey, your bandies will make the connection. There is another clip of the sounds of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Everyone’s heard the “Spring” piece. In addition, because of the great interest in nature at that time, you find a series of artwork by Francois Boucher, which is steeped in natural elements.

Finding other modern day connections, you learn that this was a time of great scientific invention. You find photographs of the syringe, the microscope, and the air pump. The Law of Gravity, developed by Sir Isaac Newton, still seems to be working well today.

You learn that, at the time, the idea of science driving thought was controversial since society was so used to following religion and philosophy. You decide to have your classmates journal after you’re done presenting. Your question? Does the debate between science and religion still rage on today? That’s sure to create a stir.

The era brought formal gardens, coffeehouses, and spas. Your next journal question for your classmates will be: What strategies do people use today to reduce stress?

You’ll include the basic characteristics of thought during the time period. You’ll put that in bullets, limiting your slides to main ideas: the use of logic and science to explain the universe, an interest in nature to interpret that universe, and the belief in the value and perfection of all human beings. You will elaborate as you deliver your speech. You even design a torture device: a 10-point quiz for your classmates, who will use clickers to record their answers. Kudos to you!

And, that, ahem… is a perfect presentation.

Drill 1

Constructed Response (bullet your answers):

1. Name three types of digital media.
2. What is the purpose of using digital media in a presentation?
3. How does the use of digital media affect an audience?


1. Name three types of digital media.

  • Graphics
  • Videos
  • Recordings

2. What is the purpose of using digital media in a presentation?

  • To enhance the understanding of information
  • To develop a clear line of reasoning
  • To offer a variety of evidence

3. How can the use of digital media affect an audience?

  • Captures the attention of listeners
  • Better engages the audience
  • Offers an opportunity for interaction between audience members and the speaker

Aligned Resources

More standards from Grades 11-12 - Speaking and Listening