Ideas for Show & Tell in the Classroom

by Jana Sosnowski

Show and tell assignments give students of all ages the opportunity to practice public speaking and presentation skills in the classroom. Adaptable for a variety of subjects, show and tell gives students the opportunity to learn about their classmates and to sharpen their own sharing to create a focused topic and presentation.

Autobiographical Project

During preschool and primary grades, show and tell provides an opportunity for young kids to develop comfort speaking in front of a class. A simple project asks students to bring in an object that represents their personality. Additional prompting might ask students to share an object that holds a special memory for them or describes an activity that they do with their family. In a more extensive project, students can bring in several objects or pictures that represent who they are. Young students can present to their classmates in two to three minutes to gain practice speaking in front of the class.

History Project

Students in middle school and above can use the show and tell format to present information about local history projects. In researching their communities, students can take pictures of local historical sites or objects and research the place or item and its role in the development of their communities. The show and tell presentation includes the item, if possible, or a picture of the item and explanation of both its history and its importance. Older students can be asked to develop lengthier presentations.

Book Report

A show and tell presentation can also serve as an option for a book report presentation at multiple grade levels. Younger students can bring in a book and share a favorite image with their classmates. Older students can present a copy of the book along with another item that represents a major theme or idea. Posters including information about the author and basic plot points can also be presented as part of the show and tell assignment.

Letters and Numbers

Preschool and kindergarten students learning to identify letters of the alphabet and number sense can use show and tell to demonstrate understanding of both letters and numbers. For example, in a curriculum that focuses on a letter each week, each student can bring in an object whose name begins with the given letter. An "A" assignment might include sharing an apple or a picture of an arrow. In demonstrating understanding of numbers, students can be asked to bring in a given amount of an object. For example, while studying the number five, students can bring in five pennies or five baseballs.

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

Photo Credits

  • Jessica Isaac/Demand Media