Using Prezi in the Early Elementary Classroom

8 Mar

Prezi StoryI have fallen in love with using Prezi with the Interactive White Board (IWB) when working with students in early elementary. I thought I’d share a few of my ideas and see if  I could get your help to generate a few more.

In first and second grade, I’ve been using…

1. Prezi for telling stories

Students love to watch the movement of the Prezi and they can’t wait to turn the digital pages by taking turns clicking the next button. Because the text and pictures are so big, it’s the ultimate “big book”. Every student can see every word and every illustration or image on every page.

Prezi stories allow for unique possibilities too. I wrote a story for the kids called “Jerome’s Dirty Floors”. It’s about a mechanical engineer named Jerome who wants to create a robot to clean his floors since he doesn’t have any time. He looks for inspiration in objects all around him. He imagines a robot vacuum that is remote control operated like his son’s toy. He imagines one that runs on tracks like the train on which he commutes. Eventually he observes the bumper cars at a park and decides they are the perfect inspiration for a robot vacuum. The story ends there, but the Prezi continues. The next screen has a few questions to check for comprehension. We discuss and share answers. Then, a question for fun, “Do you think a robot vacuum cleaner could really exist?” Consistently, students mostly vote “no” with their down-turned thumbs. You can imagine the smiles and “oohs” and “ahs” when we hit next on the Prezi and an iRobot Roomba video starts to play.

2. Prezi for watching YouTube videos.

Prezi is a great way to share YouTube videos with young students. Once the video is embedded in the Prezi, there is no side screen chatter, advertising, or user content to distract them. It completely removes the potential for anything inappropriate or unexpected to pop up on the screen.

If I plan on using any videos with the first or second grade I just stick the URL in a private Prezi and Ta-da! I have a clean white screen with a video in the middle. (It’s handy that I can find them to use again easily as well!)

3. Prezi for simple assessments.

A fun way to review a concept or check for comprehension is to create a simple assessment in Prezi. Insert a question, then have the students use thumbs up or down to vote, or do a quick pair-share. Then, let a student push the next arrow to zoom across the screen and check if their responses are correct.

To see if my younger students were starting to understand the function of a motor, I created a quick Prezi called “Does it have a motor?” I embedded five or six YouTube videos featuring quick clips of everyday objects in motion: a drill, a bowling ball, a fan, a kitchen mixer, a bicycle… Underneath each video it said, “Does this ____  have a motor?”

We played each video and observed the object in motion. Then students voted yes or no with thumbs. Then, we clicked the next button to reveal the answer. After the first two videos, the answer screen would also include a follow-up question or two. “What does the motor do on this object? How does using a motor in this object help people?” It was a fun review for the kids and an easy way for me to gauge whether or not the lessons we’d been working on were sticking or not.

I’d love to hear how you are using Prezi with your younger students! Please share in the form of a comment or send me a quick tweet!

27 Responses to “Using Prezi in the Early Elementary Classroom”

  1. Terri April 4, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    My third graders are making Prezis on early explorers such as Coronado, Columbus, De Soto etc.

  2. Denise July 3, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    I’m new to Prezi, so thanks for sharing. I like how you embedded video into the Prezi to assess your students’ understanding of motors.

    • missgreer July 4, 2011 at 3:03 am #

      Thanks Denise. As you figure out some fun ways to use Prezi with the younger kids, please let me know!

  3. Andi Sibley October 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    wow this looks like fun! I am going to try it!

    • missgreer October 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks Andi! Glad you found the blog. Hope you are well.

  4. dmo801 October 23, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    I just had a neat idea – what about for assessment you make multiple choice questions (after whatever you want to check their knowledge on) and then zoom in on the right answer…. fun!

    • missgreer October 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      That’s a great idea and it gave me an idea new idea. How about “choose your own adventure” style stories? Thanks for sharing!

  5. Radnai Zoltán November 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Hi Stephanie,
    this is Zoli Radnai, Community Manager at Prezi. This is a great post about Prezi in education. We are about to unveil a new community site, Prezi U, which will be a hub for all things Education and Prezi. Prezi U will include articles, an educational prezi Library, and community forums– covering diverse subjects for both K-12 and University readers, as well as topics in educational technology and pedagogy for modern learning styles.

    We would be happy to re-post your blog for our community and offer you a contributor role. Let me know what you think!


    • missgreer November 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      Hi Zoli,
      You are welcome to repost the blog and I’d be happy to contribute to Prezi U. Let me know how I can get involved. Thanks!

      • Radnai Zoltán November 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

        Thanks for your response. Could we possibly continue this chat in email? I’d like to send you a pre-beta link to PreziU 🙂

      • Radnai Zoltán November 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

        sorry: my email address is zoltan_dot_radnai_at_prezi_dot_com

  6. superkidz3 November 24, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    Dear Julie,

    I have found prezi a great tool for my students to create their own simple presentations. I have taught them a little about the program and let them loose…they usually surprise with amazing presentations. I have also started to use it too teach concepts and will plan to help them develop their own student centered activities around creating their own learning journeys!

    Mr. Kozak

    P.s. This is our blog address and you can see what my grade 3/4s have been doing!

  7. Angela November 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm #


    Great ideas on how to use Prezi with Elementary Students. I am the tech teacher in my school and love Prezi. I need to use it with my students more.


  8. Natacha Edmondson (@NatachaBCE) June 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    How about a Prezi Webquest? I’m a student teacher and I had a great time putting together this project with my group last semester. I hope to use it in my future elementary classroom.

  9. L September 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    So out of curiosity, how are teachers getting around the issue that Prezi’s TOU state that children under 13 cannot have an account? It seems like in one case the teacher has the Prezi account that students interact with. But others are mentioning having their early elementary students make their own, on what I’m assuming are their own accounts. Is this somehow circumvented in the Prezi Edu edition? From Prezi: “Adults Only. The Prezi Service is intended for adults only. You must be 18 years old – or, if the age of majority in your state or province is greater than 18 years, such age of majority in your state or province – or have obtained the consent of your parent or guardian to use the Prezi Service. In accordance with U.S. Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), Prezi will never knowingly solicit, nor will it accept, personally identifiable information from users known to be under thirteen (13) years of age.” If you’re requesting parent permission, how are you keeping proof of that info or going about requesting it? It still seems like circumventing the rules since Prezi is not intended for people under 18. Are parents setting up the account with their own emails? If a child signs up for an account using their own email, Prezi is technically violating COPPA (though they are not aware of it since they state specifically that it’s not for people under 18, which is the second part of that statement.) I just want to use this correctly as it seems like a good tool, but in our district there’s a lot of concern about reading and following web tools’ TOU.

    • missgreer September 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Hi Lesley,
      In my case, I did not have the students create Prezis or give them student accounts. I created the Prezis and the students interacted with them. I’m not sure how other teachers are handling the under 13 clause.

    • Matthew Gudenius May 10, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

      Thank you! I was just about to post the same thing.

      it is SHOCKING to me how many teacher do NOT read “Terms of Use” or “Terms of Service” on sites before using them.

      Hey all you teachers bragging about letting your kids use Prezi:

      Congratulations on breaking the law, and teaching your kids it is okay to violate terms of use. Way to go!

      (PS. Even if you are using a teacher account, it is not okay to let the kids use it. It says you must be 18 years old to USE the service. At all. Not to create an account. It’s not okay even with a teacher account, unless there is signed parental consent.)

      • missgreer May 11, 2013 at 2:34 am #

        Hi Matthew,
        Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and comment. I try to do my best to follow terms of service as closely as I can, though it is challenging at times. Teachers often share amazing work they have done with their students using different cloud based sites and it’s sometimes difficult not to want to just jump in with out first looking into terms or assessing the risks.

  10. Sheena October 14, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    These are some wonderful ideas. How exciting it is to be able to combine two different technologies and use them to better your classroom and engage your students. I love your “Big Book” idea. I’ve always wanted big books, but they are so inconvenient to keep. With Prezi you could have an endless collection without the clutter. I also love your Youtube idea and the fact that you down have to deal with possibly inappropriate ads. Might I suggest using Prezi and a game, such as Jeopardy or Family Feud.

  11. Dena Richardson November 30, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I know about Prezi but I have never used it. The ideas you shared were great. It has inspired me to try Prezi. I look forward to creating something and sharing it with my students.

  12. Wendy Smith November 30, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    Dear Julie,

    I liked the ideas on how to use PREZI with my Primary (Elementary) students. However, I am not very IT savy so therefore I have a colleague for my mentor. She will guide me through the necessary steps. I’m excited and the BIg BOOK idea sounds wonderful!

    Thank you! You have opened my eyes to new beginnings on the computer!


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