It is important for students to complete projects and presentations throughout the year to enhance both their learning and the learning of their classmates. Projects and presentations can take a lot of class time and can lose the interest of other students as well. To make it more exciting, enjoyable, and worthwhile, you can add more visuals. A topical presentation sounds exactly what it is. It is a topic that a student or students create a project on and present to the class. I usually have the students complete only two topical presentations all year so it doesn't get too repetitive. The key to a topical presentation is that each student has to have a visual aid when presenting. I do not count a Power Point or picture as a visual aid. I encourage students to be as creative as possible.
For example, I have had students hold a debate for an election and have their classmates vote. I have had students write their own lyrics to famous songs (which they sing to the music). Students have created their own songs and raps and performed in class with musical instruments. A visual can be a board game they use to get their classmates interacting in their presentation. Students have created a children's story that they read to the class. I had a group of boys dress like Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. They used pillows and wigs to complete the look. Lastly, I had students give their presentation in a canoe (their topic was Lewis and Clark).
The key is to see how creative your students can become while engaging their classmates. Everyone needs to learn the material and by having a variety of visual aids, it will hopefully help some learn a little easier.
Below is a video created by some of my students. Their topic was the Embargo Act of 1807.
See what you can learn...