Just this week, I approached the cash register at a local thrift store while wearing a mask and was asked, “Are you eligible for the senior discount?” Don’t get me wrong, I feel privileged to take every trip around the sun. But at the ripe-old age of 48, being offered the senior discount nearly inspired a trip to the dermatologist for a little chemical fillers!
When it comes to teaching, my students and younger colleagues help me to stay youthful in spirit and in mind. While this young feeling only translates to my attitude (and, alas, not to those fine-lines around my eyes), it also helps me to stay on top of new technologies. I can at times be a bit of a Luddite. Can’t we teach everything using pen and paper? It’s true, we can rock it old school when necessary, and tech free lessons absolutely benefit our students. But there are some great benefits to using technology in the classroom.
My number one tech tool in my cross-curricular toolbox is the slide template deck. Our school uses the products from the Google Suite™, and as such, I lean heavily on slide decks that were created to be used with Google Slides™. Here are step-by-step instructions (with images!) to support you in using slide templates to build a lesson set.
Step 1: Make a copy of your slide template! This is important because you need a template that you can reuse. I highly recommend putting the words, “TEMPLATE, MAKE A COPY” as a part of the title to help yourself remember. If you work with a teaching partner, this will also help you to communicate with him/her before you lose the original template.
Now make a copy of the slide template by following these steps: Click File > Make a Copy > Entire Presentation. Even if your original slide deck includes 30 slides and you only need 10, I recommend copying the entire slide deck so that you can edit as needed. Deleting a slide is as easy as highlighting the slide and clicking Ctrl X on a PC.
Notice how the slides are highlighted yellow on the left of this image. You need to select the slides by clicking on them (for one slide) or clicking on them while holding down the Ctrl button on a PC. Then click, Edit > Cut
Now that you have a slide deck that you can edit and use for your lessons, let’s look at some of the ways to edit a slide.
Did you know you could add video to your slides, too? Click Insert > Video, then choose to search for a video on YouTube, link a URL, or upload a video from your Google Drive.
One of my favorite uses of a slide deck is to post it for students on Google Classroom™. Posting the slides serves several purposes. First, I can communicate what we are going to do for the day as a preview. I’ve had many students who were anxious upon entering class, and would ask “What are we doing today?” After a few weeks, they will check in with the slide deck after entering class, and are able to relax. Next, posting slide decks serves as a great way to communicate with students when they are absent. Finally, for my visual learners, posting the slides helps them to independently follow directions. Here are instructions for posting slides on Google Classroom™:
Start on the Classwork tab. Then click on the plus symbol and “Create”. Post the slides as a material. Next, you’ll be asked where you’d like to get the material. Click “Google Drive” then select your slide deck and click “Insert.” Give your slides a title (I often choose the day’s date) and a topic, then you can click post or schedule the slides to be posted. Note that if you are a middle school teacher with many class periods, you’ll have to schedule each slide deck for each period individually (this task is made faster by using the Create>Reuse Post tool), or you can select more than one class period and post the slides immediately.
Just looking at all of these instructions and tasks, it’s clear to me that you can teach an old dog (me) new tricks (with technology!). A realistic strategy for learning new tech tools is to try one thing at a time. Use the $3 slide template below to try some of these techniques to flex those tech muscles!
Click on the image to travel on over to my TPT store. Find slide decks like this one and many more themes for $3!