You can use the TpT Digital Activities (now known as Easel) tool to teach online. Just pull up your favorite TpT PDF. Share your screen with your students. And start teaching! The interactive layer on top of the page allows you to type, write, draw, and highlight. What’s more? You can use a blank page as an online whiteboard!
You know all about the learning cycle: direct instruction, modeling, guided practice, and assessment. Let’s look at some ways you can use the TpT Digital Activities Tool throughout the progression.
TpT Digital Activities Tool for Direct Instruction
For direct instruction, hit Create. You’ll see two options: Upload a File and Blank Activity. Choose Blank Activity.
At the top of the page, you’ll see several tools. For teaching, you won’t need any answer boxes. But the text, pen, and highlight features will allow you to type, write, draw, and highlight directly on the screen.
In the picture below, you can see that I created text boxes to set up my lesson. This can be done ahead of time. (Hint: Using command-C and command-V for cutting and pasting makes your life easier.)
At the top of the screen, you’ll see three tabs. Choose Preview for instruction.
While I was teaching and explaining, I used the pen and highlight tools. You can watch a video of the process here.
I drew the number line with the pen tool (thin line), added tick marks in a different color. Then I used the highlight tool (thick line) to show where the number would be located on the number line.
TpT Sellers often add mini posters and reference guides to their resources. These are great for virtual instruction. Just pull up the page as a TpT Digital Activity and start explaining. (This page, for example, comes from my fourth grade place value unit.) I love the way you can highlight and write on top of the page to emphasize key points.
As you can see in the image below, you can Prepare, Preview, and Assign activities. When you work in Prepare, anything you write on the page will be saved in your TpT Digital Activity. Therefore, if you don’t delete it, your annotations will remain when you assign it to students. So, for example, if you wanted students to refer to this reference guide with your notes, you would teach in Prepare.
TpT Digital Activities Tool for Modeling & Guided Practice
After you teach the concept, you’re ready to model and provide guided practice. First, open the student page. You can work in Prepare if you want students to see your notes. Otherwise, work in Preview. That way, when you’re done teaching, your notes will not be saved on the student’s pages when you assign them.
Here you can see that I again drew a number line and showed students how to round to the nearest ten.
Checking Independent Practice and Reviewing the Test
Sure, using TpT Digital Activities works great for direct instruction and modeling. But you can use them to check independent practice and review the test, as well.
Generally, when a TpT Seller customizes an activity for you, she will remove the answer keys. You can add them back. In Prepare, click on Edit pages. Then click +Add from original. Select the page(s) you want to use and hit Save changes. Now you can display it. And, of course, you can write and draw on top of it too. It’s a great way to grade together and explain anything kids have missed.
The Flexibility of TpT Digital Activities
Sure, this tool was created so teachers could create digital activities for their students. But the possibilities are endless. Today we talked about using it as a virtual whiteboard. It can also help you differentiate for students with varying needs.
Enjoy teaching with TpT Digital Activities!