Social Sundays: 75 slides and counting

Sometimes I am literally blown away by the 75 or more slide lectures I see teachers using.  Have you ever sat through a 75-slide presentation?  What did you get out of it?

I am, as regular readers know, not a fan of lectures. As research has shown, lecture is the least effective form of teaching. And even if you subscribe to the popular flipped classroom model, which definitely has some positive ideas, sending kids home with pre-recorded lectures or to just watch Khan Academy and the likes is still a lecture.

And when we lecture, then students learn to present information in the same way.  So, we sit through long student presentations.
But there are moments when you want to have available a set of information that contains visual information and words, and a presentation might be a good way to do that.  I use presentations (not lecture) for introducing an artists' work or for inquiry-based learning like when we study the Civil Rights Movement.

So if you absolutely need to conduct a presentation, it's a good idea to remember the 30-30-10 rule.  I did not make this up and this is not new.  But surprisingly few people in education seem to be aware of it    

For a:

  • 30-minute presentation
  • Use 30 point font size (or greater)
  • No more than 10 slides.  This is a great reminder for your students as well. 


  • 30 minutes is a long time sitting through a lecture (think of your worst professional development  experience).  
  • 30 point font is readable.  The words on the presentation are supposed to support what your talking about not be your actual lecture   
  • 10 slides is 3 minutes per slide. If you are saying a whole lot less with that slide - cramming it in, what's the point?
PowerPoint and other presentation tools are just that, a tool.  The purpose is to provide a way to share information not to see how many slides you can make students sit through in one setting.  

Want ideas to keep your class lively and avoid lectures?  Check out the resources below.

Social Sundays is a weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message on Facebook or at the store in the question and answer section.



  1. So much yes to this! Lots of slides is a red flag for BORING!

    “And when we lecture, then students learn to present information in the same way. So, we sit through long student presentations.” – Such an excellent point!

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment. When I was in graduate school (education), I found it most ironic that we were being lectured at about effective teaching methods when the professors were using the least effective method.