'Prezi'nt Images About Social Studies

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SWBAT describe a connection between ideas in an informational text.

Big Idea

Use Prezi to create a graphic organizer and organize images.


  • What's Government by Nancy Harris
  •  Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: imaging, informational text, main ideas, details, headings, illustrations, captions, diagrams, list, bold words
  • Set up the whiteboard
  • One iPad to demonstrate with a projector or each student with their own iPad
  • 'U.S. Government questions' powerpoint (optional activity-see reflection)


This was a great book to use because it tied into our Social Studies unit. The pictures and informational text features provide lots of information and gave the kids lots of good ideas to put into a Prezi. 

Prezi is REALLY easy and super fun to use, but spend some time playing with it before the lesson and see how it focuses on the different bubbles as a presentation.  Here are 2 examples (they're only screenshots - they don't move around like real prezis) that I created about Abraham Lincoln and a book that we were reading in about 5 minutes. Creating the presentations works a little different on a laptop than an iPad, so familiarize yourself with the technology that you'll be using - the iPad version is MUCH easier for the kids and has limited options, so I recommend using those, either as a group or individually.

In this lesson, the kids have had some practice creating prezis. Take a look at the last lesson, Prezi'nt the Ideas As You Imagine the Concepts, where they learned how to do this. On the iPads, they are familiar with how to create the Prezis, but still need support organizing. Ultimately, my goal was to help them understand the ideas can be organized and presented in a unique way.

** "Imaging" is the term that my district uses for "visualizing". In order to stay true to the district expectations, I'll continue to use this verbage. Visualizing is a critical skill for 2nd graders because they need to 'go deeper' in the text. By visualizing as they read, they are creating and tweaking images in their minds as they actively read. This kind of 'close reading', forming images using text, verifying and changing those images, and ultimately comparing their images to the author, creates critical readers and deepens comprehension.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Common starting point

  • "We have used the imaging strategy a lot with informational text. It helps us to be 'active readers' and organize information so we can understand and remember better."
  • "We'll be finding main ideas and details in our text today. Look over the informational text features that I have on the board (heading, illustrations, caption, diagram, list, bold words) Do you remember what they are?"  (Take a moment and review what the features are and how they help us.)

Discussion and Examples

20 minutes

Introduce the task

  • "I brought this informational text because it has ideas about the Social Studies topic we are discussing. There are LOTS of ideas, so it would really help if you use imagery to  organize the information."
  • "We'll read through the book first and think about the organization so we can decide what kind of Prezi to use. When we use imaging with informational text, we need to understand the whole process before we visualize.  I'll read the whole book - listen for the steps of the process."  Here's how I explained why we read the book first.
  • Then I read the book to the class and discuss how to organize the ideas. I ask the students what informational text features show the main ideas (headings) and what show the details (diagrams, captions, bold words).



  • Open Prezi and log in. Click on 'New prezi' in the top left corner.
  • "We'll be describing the Executive Branch of the government. What template would make sense? Look back at the text, - there's a main idea-heading and then a list, bold words, a diagram and captions. I'm going to use the large circle-the main idea surrounded by small circles template-details. I can add extra circle if I need to." 
  • "I'll pick a circle template from the bottom with 2 text boxes and then put 'Executive Branch' in the middle circle. Let's go back to the text and add a description - 'makes sure the laws are followed'."  This is how I modeled creating this part of the Prezi.
  • "In the circles around that, I'll add the words in the bold print - I know that bold words let me know those are important words. I can take pictures and add those to the circles." 
  • "Then I'll type on the frames below - look back at the text - what can I add?  'Cabinet' and I'll take a picture. 'Department' is a word in the diagram so I'll add that. 'Secretary' is also a bold word so I'll add that. Here's the explanation for adding details to Prezi.


Guided Practice

  • "Let's work on one together."
  • "What Prezi template should we use for 'legislative branch'?"  Choose one as a group.
  • "What do we type in the middle circle? - Right, legislative branch is the heading so that's the main idea. I'll add a description in the other text box - look back at the text... it says 'makes laws'. "
  • "Who can give me some details? What text features show you these details? (diagram, pictures, captions, illustrations)  I'll take a picture for each detail."
  • "What should I type for the circle? check the text."  This was our discussion about this Prezi.

Students' Turn

20 minutes
Explain the Task
  • "Now it's your turn to create a Prezi that organizes the last branch of government."
  • "I'll read the last section again to refresh your memory and then you need to make an organizer. Think about what the main idea is and that the details are."
  • Some students needed help choosing an organizer that matched. This is how I prompted them (see reflection also).
  • Some of the Prezi organizers had a place for a 'main title'. This is what I told the students about adding a title to the Prezi.


Students work


As students organize their ideas, they are seeing connections between the concepts in the text. They first have to consider how to organize the ideas (choose a prezi), then they have to find the main idea and identify the details. This examination of connections between ideas in a text and the ability to decribe those connections (RI.2.3) encourages them to delve deeper in the text and examine ideas.

Organize and Connect Your Ideas

15 minutes

Reflect on your work

  • "Let's take a look at some questions to see how well you understand the information now that it's organized." Show the U.S. Government Questions powerpoint.  Take ideas- "Did it help to organize the information?  Would you have known the answers without organizing them on the Prezi?"
  • "Do you think you could use this kind of organization for other subjects?"
  • "Who would like to come up and share their Prezis?"


My goal in this discussion about using the prezis or visual organization with other subjects is really to spark a discussion about visually organizing information. The crux of the Common Core is that students interact with the text to better comprehend and this particular standard asks them to connect and organize concepts. Although students at this age are not independent with this skill, it's a great time to start applying it in a variety of ways with a variety of media (electronic and pen/paper). Reflecting on how this visual organization helps them (though discussion or pre/post tests) helps them to see the importance of 'close reading' - reading, thinking, going back to the text to read and verify again, and applying background knowledge to create a way to better understand the text.


Student projects

Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Students with academic challenges may need help spelling words and choosing/remembering details about the topic. You may want to sit with them to create the Prezi while the other students work independently.

Students with higher language may be able to add details that they know about the branches. That would be extra information that they could share.