Hi, I’m Teresa from TpT store Teresa Kwant. I’m thrilled for this opportunity to write a blog post for TpT, especially because it’s about one of my favorite topics: Technology!

Do you ever feel like this?

Here are four ways you can easily start teaching with technology by tomorrow. TpT Teacher-Author Teresa Kwant shares her favorite apps and more.
©Masson/Dollar Photo Club

Sometimes the thought of using technology (on top of the 563 other things you must accomplish in the school day) can seem daunting — and all you can muster, technology-wise, is turning on your computer to take attendance. But I promise: Technology can be fun, easy, and rewarding!

Technology in the Classroom

When talking with teachers, a lot of times they want to use technology more often, but don’t know where to start. Here are four ways you can easily enhance your lessons with technology by tomorrow:

1. Let the Students Do the Creating

This is my favorite, because you don’t do the work; the students do! Students have been using technology almost their entire lives and will surprise you with their creativity. Have students turn a boring book report into a PowerPoint or Prezi. Better yet, use a free downloadable app for the computer {Comic Life}, and students can turn their book report into a comic! Many times I’ll get this question: “These are great websites, tools, or apps, but how do I use them?” Here are some fabulous student creation sites with tips and ideas on how to incorporate them into your lessons:

  • Wordle. This website creates beautiful word art. Students type or paste words into the creation box. The more times a word is typed, the bigger the word will be. I usually suggest students use at least 25 different words. I like to do this for an “All About Me” activity, or for a lesson on synonyms and antonyms where they can type all the synonyms and antonyms for a particular subject into the creation box.
  • Hstry. This site is AMAZING. Students can create timelines on any topic and include, videos, pictures, text, and quiz questions. Students can create them individually or collaborate with others. This is one site you will not want to miss!
  • Storybird. My students’ all-time favorite site. They use beautiful art to guide them in creating an online storybook. I like using this site during a holiday and having students share their stories with the class.

2. Make Lessons Interactive

Here are four ways you can easily start teaching with technology by tomorrow. TpT Teacher-Author Teresa Kwant shares her favorite apps and more.You may enjoy using PowerPoints and Prezis in class, both of which are excellent presentation methods. However, sometimes they can feel very one-sided. To keep the kids engaged, try making your PowerPoint lesson interactive. I’ve begun creating some Interactive PowerPoints for all ages of elementary students and am excited for this new adventure! Here are four ways you can easily start teaching with technology by tomorrow. TpT Teacher-Author Teresa Kwant shares her favorite apps and more.As the teacher uses the PowerPoint, the students follow along with a printable while being an active participant in the lesson. For example, in the Informative Writing lesson, as the students learn what informative writing is, they use their own graphic organizer to outline their own essay. Or, while learning about the long a vowel sound spelled CVCe, students create a mini book and play games to increase their understanding of it. Students stay engaged as they create, play, and learn. Technology is involved, and so are the students.

3. Explore These Apps

By now, most of us have heard of or used apps such as Class Dojo and Remind (Formerly Remind101), but there are tons of wonderful apps and not enough time in the day to research them all. Good news: I found some for you.

  • Seesaw. This app is like a file cabinet for each of your students. They can sign in using a QR code or account number. Then they import pictures, videos, text, links, or PDFs to their file. As files are uploaded through the year, students and teacher can see progress, and parents can be invited to view their own student’s work. Genius! Students can even use the built-in audio to explain the picture or assignment they added or reflect on what they learn. Wouldn’t this be awesome for parent-teacher conferences?
  • Socrative. This is a fun quiz-like site. Teachers can create questions and get real time answers with graphs from students. Teachers can also design assessments and reports.
  • Plickers. #LOVE. This site is fantastic for automatic feedback and to gain a quick assessment of where your students are in the lesson. Each student has his or her own QR code. After you ask a question, use your phone or iPod and scan the QR codes. You’ll get an automatic response and graph of who answered correctly. It even shows students’ names for you, so you see who was right or wrong. Such a fun tool. The kids like it, too.
  • ZipGrade/GradeCam. Each site has free versions. I don’t know about you, but I hate grading work. Anything that can be graded for me is worth looking into. ZipGrade grades test via your phone or tablet while GradeCam uses a document camera.

4. Incorporate iPods and iPads

Whether you have one or several iPods or iPads, they are worth incorporating into your classroom. Endless amounts of apps exist; here are just a few fun ones to explore:

  • ChatterPix. FUN. Students take a picture and then “make it talk.” Here’s a fun idea: Have them take a picture of their drawing and write a poem about it. Then their picture can “read” the poem.
  • Spellingcity. Great resources for teachers and students. Input your spelling lists and have students play games or do homework assignments with their words.
  • Today’s Doc. This is so cool! The National Archives puts a different archive up each day in their gallery and students can explore real historical documents and pictures. This would be great for writing prompts.

There are also fun ways to use the devices without apps involved

  • Create a commercial about any topic — This is great for history lessons, science experiments, and more. You can make a persuasive ad or anything related to your current classroom topics.
  • Have students record how to solve a math problem for students who are absent.
  • Make a radio play. My students beg to do this all the time. We have a story in our basal that we read, and it’s a radio play. We discuss what radio plays are, and then students write and record their own in small groups.
  • Write and produce an actual play and act it out while recording it.
  • Picture scavenger hunts. Students take pictures of a different object that begins with each letter of the alphabet; pictures of items that are opposites; or pictures of adjectives, verbs, and nouns. These are fun, and students love taking pictures of items around the room.

Technology is a great way to connect with students. So when you feel like this:

Here are four ways you can easily start teaching with technology by tomorrow. TpT Teacher-Author Teresa Kwant shares her favorite apps and more.
©NinaMalyna/Dollar Photo Club

Just remember: At least someone in the room knows how to use it!

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Here are four ways you can easily start teaching with technology by tomorrow. TpT Teacher-Author Teresa Kwant shares her favorite apps and more.Teresa Kwant is the Teacher-Author of Teresa Kwant resources on TpT. She taught 6th grade for five years and preschool for one year before that. Teresa has an endorsement in technology. Currently, she feels lucky enough to stay at home with her two small children who are 3-years-old and 9 months. Teresa loves working on her Teachers Pay Teachers resources at naptime and during the evenings. As long as she can remember, she has wanted to become a teacher. While she is on “hiatus” and working from home, she feels lucky to be a part of the wonderful teacher community found on TpT. You can follow her store here or join along on her Facebook page.

Computer in feature image from ©Maglara/Dollar Photo Club