illustration of a TpT resource, a laptop, and a movable text box

Teachers, did you know that you can turn many of your favorite PDF resources from TpT into interactive activities for distance and online learning? Easel by TpT™ makes it possible! With Easel, students use text tools, highlighting, pen tools, and more to complete an activity from their devices, and then they submit the activity back to you online. Keep reading to discover helpful tips for making your distance learning lessons more interactive with Easel.

How to make distance learning interactive for students

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We know it can be overwhelming to get started with a new digital tool, so we made sure Easel is easy and intuitive for you and your students.

How to level up your online instruction with interactive Easel Activities

1. Try a free Easel Activity. Get to know the ways you can customize an activity with the annotation tools available by trying a free Easel Activity. Here are three free resources to try.

2. Check if your previous purchases include or can convert to an Easel Activity. Resources you already love might include or be compatible with Easel Activities! Visit your My Purchases page and look for an “Open in Easel” button (near the “Download” button) of PDFs you previously purchased.

3. Differentiate by creating multiple versions of one resource. Using Easel, you can assign different versions of the same resource to your students. For example, you can send them different pages, provide additional instructions, and more. You’ll always have access to the original resource, and can create as many assignments from it as you need. Bonus tip: rename each version to remember which is which!

4. Add movable shapes to create virtual manipulatives. When you prepare an Easel Activity, you’ll be able to add shapes to the activity and make them movable. Movable shapes are a great way to make online learning more interactive! For example, you can use movable shapes to create sorting and matching activities, add manipulatives or counters for math lessons, and more.

5. Virtually model how to complete the activity using the preview feature. When you create an Easel Activity, you can preview how the resource will look for your students before assigning it. But while teaching remotely, you can also use this feature to model how to answer a certain question or complete a specific task. After creating your activity, share your screen with your students, visit the “Preview” tab, and use the annotation features to model how to complete the activity.

6. Create a whiteboard for virtual instruction. If you’re using an Easel Activity during live video instruction, you may find it helpful to create a virtual whiteboard within your activity. Simply add in an extra page you don’t need, and use the shapes feature to place an opaque rectangle over all the content of that page. Now, when you share your screen and review the activity with your students, you can use that blank page and the annotation features as a digital whiteboard!

7. Return an activity to students after grading. When a student completes and submits their Easel Activity, you’ll be able to review their work on TpT, where you can continue to use the Easel annotation features to provide them with feedback. Then, you can send the activity back to a student so they can review your feedback or correct their work.

8. If you don’t use Google Classroom, assign with a link instead. In addition to assigning Easel Activities through Google Classroom, you can also generate a link to assign the resource through email or your learning management system (LMS). Note that students will still need a Google email account to complete the activity.

9. Check back for more updates to Easel by TpT! Easel Activities are just the beginning for Easel by TpT! Soon, you’ll also be able to create, assign, and auto-grade formative assessments, and quickly view student data for real-time insights, with Easel Assessments. Stay tuned for more!

With Easel, it’s easy for teachers like you to make your favorite PDF resources interactive and device-ready for any learning environment. And with these tips, you’ll be prepared to use Easel to keep your students engaged with online learning. Ready to try Easel in your virtual classroom? Start browsing for an activity for your next lesson.