5 ways to upgrade paper-based activities for all learners


During my 20 years as an elementary educator in North Texas, expectations for providing some tangible evidence of student learning for both teachers and parents have always been present. Paper-based activities–think the old reliable worksheets provided by your favorite educational publisher or found online–have long been a staple of teaching and learning.

However, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused dramatic shifts in education and millions of students and educators transitioned to digital-first instruction, the days of paper-pencil activities have faded as we navigate the “new normal” thrust upon us.

In my current role as an Instructional Design Facilitator for elementary science, I am challenged to take many of the traditional paper-based activities teachers have used and transform them into digital activities teachers can then share with students in either the remote or in-person learning environment.

Here are 5 of the paper-based activities that have been reimagined for the digital world that you can use in your classroom today:

Google Slides for creating a digital “worksheet”

While the entire Google Suite is amazing, Google Slides are extremely versatile in how they can be used. Using the snipping tool or taking screenshots of the PDF copy of an activity makes it possible to create digital versions of ready-to-use activities. A cut and paste activity can be transformed into a drag and drop activity by adding screenshots of the words or pictures to the outside edges of the slide for students to move to the correct locations.

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