Four Slide Sales Pitch: Final Entries

The judges will now spend the better part of a day deliberating within a smoke-filled room. We’ll get back to you Monday morning (Pacific Standard Time, again) but until then, feel free to issue your own top three or perhaps your own analysis of the ambitions and successes of the candidates.

The work is good. Enjoy the work. The three of us certainly have.

Alice Mercer

Diane Cordell

Dave Stacey

Colette Cassinelli

John Pederson

Marcie Hull

Chris Duke

Ethan Bodner

Nancy Bosch

Glenn Moses

Carolyn Foote

Kevin Hodgson

Graham Wegner

Paul Williams

Tracy Rosen

Jeffrey Pierce

Gail Desler

Ms. H.

Paulo Ho

Neil Winton

Mindy Jurus

And the judges’ slides.

Christian Long

Scott McLeod

Dan Meyer

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Dan — Good call putting all the submissions into one visual field for folks to contemplate on this weekend (and beyond). Certainly helps with compare/contrast, rather than see them in solo form as I did while assessing.

    One of the slide entries — from Diane Cordell — lost the ‘content’ (i.e. writing) because of how it was submitted…and added as image to this post of yours. Details left off offer vital context for images. FYI.

    Looking forward to final discussion with you and Scott in the next 48 hours.


  2. I like Diane’s images of herself; I like Colette’s scrapbooky look; I like Ethan’s “Design Makes Me Happy” slide; I like Paul’s big images (didn’t you blog about that in your presentation series?); I like Jeffrey’s numbers; I like Gail’s “Take Charge Person” slide; I like Paulo’s sense of humor; and I like the organization of Mindy’s slides. So, that’s all you get from shallow old me.

  3. I particularly like Marcie’s, Nancy’s, Paul’s and Neil’s, but picking these four was hard enough; as for ranking them further – can’t do it. Couldn’t say just what makes them good, though, even though that is much of the point. Also, a gov’t teacher who introduced class with Glenn’s slides would make me pretty hopeful about the course if I were a student.

  4. H: I think what Dan is doing via his focus on intentional design strategy in the classroom is less and less about what is “cool” looking…and more and more about offering an articulate definition of what we mean by intentional design. And that not only has an impact on us as teachers, but it should also have an impact on what we mean when we assign a ‘multi-media’ project with kids.

    How often do we assign something that involves a step beyond data/content/answers…something that allows ‘visual’ learners to shine, so to speak? And how often do we fail to articulate clearly what we mean by ‘intentional design’, whether it be a casual comment as the kids hit the door or a 3-page rubric that supposedly nails down the grading scheme in grand fashion?

    Why does this happen?

    Could it be because very few teachers both assign articulate directions re: ‘intentional design’ and clearly grasp what ‘intentional design’ actually is when the multi-media fairy comes-a-knockin’ on the door of project possibility?

    I think Dan has successfully pushed us all to not only be better presenters (which may or may not be the point of 21C teaching — that’s another argument/discussion altogether), but he has also demanded that we no longer take for granted what we mean by ‘intentional design’ when assigning ‘multi-media’ projects.

    It is not good enough to say that it is “Cute” or “Looks nice” or is “Neatly colored between the lines”. It must also demonstrate strong story-boarding, it must also consider the golden mean and grid balance, it must be more than ‘neat’ and also achieve rigorous minimalism, and it must demonstrate that the audience’s eye and brain need to be married together in one move of ‘intentional design’.

    Anyone can cut-n-paste. Heck, anyone can eat paste.

    But how many teachers are working on design principles or really know what they mean when they ask kids to turn in something that has even one iota of visual agility attached? And we’re not talking about an ‘art’ project. We’re talking about 5th period math and 7th period science and 1st period history and 3rd period English, too. In fact, we’re talking about EVERY moment where a kid’s assignment has an audience…and the visual side of things matter.

    For what it’s worth, I think Dan is demanding more of us than just a passing fancy with Dewey or NCLB, more than a training in our domain or a pedigree from some AP course factory, and more than a rubric or PPt assignment du jour.

    He’s actually asking us to head out to Target and figure out why the $1.75 toilet brush is selling like hot cakes and why kids now watch as much HGTV as they do MTV and why any half-wit with a keyboard knows that that fonts matter (heck, they actually know what a font is!), but most half-wits use 9 fonts in a single page on design over-kill autopilot.

    So, to H’s final point, yes, it’s easy to nail down the top 3 or 4 from a gut level. But the real game — for judges and teachers alike — is to know exactly what we mean by ‘intentional design’ ahead of time as the education train continues to pull out of the station for the start of this school year.

    Cheers to Dan. Cheers to each individual who submitted (you made my late nights really enjoyable this weekend!). And cheers to each and every one who can help me sharpen my ‘intentional design’ blade as I return to the classroom with a hari kari ‘muti-media’ wish list sitting atop my curriculum sketch pad.


  5. Christian,

    I agree completely with your comments, particularly:
    “I think Dan has successfully pushed us all to not only be better presenters (which may or may not be the point of 21C teaching – that’s another argument/discussion altogether), but he has also demanded that we no longer take for granted what we mean by ‘intentional design’ when assigning ‘multi-media’ projects.”

    Daniel Pink also really enriched my thinking about the importance of design. If the message–the communication–is the point of multi-media, then good design is central to conveying a message well and its impact on the audience.

    I really enjoyed many of the entries! As I said before, I look forward to engaging students with this mindset.

  6. Scott, good idea. Just added them.

    I think Christian has the point-and-purpose of this assignment pretty well nailed. I’d only add that better presentation doesn’t even sit in the same stadium as 21C learning or 21C teaching. I try not to confuse presentation with either of them.

    Rather, better presentation supplements everything. The same skills required to compress, condense, and clarify one’s life into four slides makes for good writing (what’s the point of this blog post and which words don’t I need?), good photography (what’s the story of this scene and which angle will tell it best), good filmmaking, good speaking, and good, clear, analytical thinking.

    That said, if one doesn’t pursue good design (this Four Slide Sales Pitch for example) as an exercise in clear thought – if one, for example, doesn’t nudge an object across the slide or align the text right instead of left, asking every time, “is this clearer now or not?” – this project will have been merely a fun diversion before kids start streaming through the door.

    Nothing wrong with that, but there’s something of staggering value packed up in this project.

  7. With respect to the value of brevity, clarity and focus in presentation: I’m sure some History or World Lit person could produce relevant quotes that are decades, centuries, maybe millennia old. Anyone?

    As for Neil’s and William’s slides: Their beautiful images and universal themes would make these slides fine classroom decorations. Both sets of slides convey hopefulness, generosity, an acceptance of current limitations combined with celebration of steps forward, a wonder at the process of learning and change. I’m wondering under what circumstances the creators might permit the printing of these slides for use as classroom posters?

  8. @H: you are very welcome to use my slides as you see fit (all I would ask is that you send me a photo or a comment so I can show my kids – family and school!).

    I’ve put reasonable quality versions of them into a set called 4 Slides on my flickr account. You can get the link HERE.

    I shall pass on your kind comments to my wife who took 2 of the photos. I’m afraid I’m the dark-haired chap who needs a haircut in one of them, so was unavailable to take the photo myself!

    Thanks for commenting, it means a lot.

  9. Hi PaulWill…
    Seems to be a problem with your blog (I think). I keep getting a 403 error when I try to access it on Firefox and/or Flock. Problem might be at my end… (though don’t think so… getting the same error message on Safari, Opera and Camino!)

    Hope to read your thoughts soon!