The Top 4 Blended Learning Tools for Math and History Teachers
Planning a complete overhaul of your traditional lesson plans to implement a technology-guided blended learning classroom may seem like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be. Low-tech, new, and veteran teachers can use the following no-fuss tools for an easy, overnight transformation to the blended classroom.
What is blended learning?
In the blended classroom, students use technology to guide their own learning, unlike the traditional classroom where a teacher leads the lecture and the students follow along with pen and paper. Blended learning empowers students to move at their own pace as they navigate through interactive learning modules on personal computers, tablets, or iPads.
There are many blended learning platforms and websites but TES Teach is the fastest, easiest, most intuitive way to make your traditional lesson plan materials available to students online. If you are not tech-savvy and your lessons usually consist of a basic PowerPoint presentation and printable handout, the simplest way to embrace the blended learning classroom is to convert your presentations and handouts to PDF and upload them to TES Teach. TES Teach allows you to create digital lessons in minutes. How? Sign up for free, create a classroom, add students, then share the 4-letter class code and relevant lesson with students in one click. To create the lesson, simply drag & drop PDF documents or outside website links to articles or videos into the lesson. You can also create new slides directly in the lesson to instantly write mini-lesson information, assignment instructions, practice problems, or multiple-choice quizzes. Rearrange your uploaded and created documents in the correct order for students to access sequentially. Students click through all of the documents and links within the lesson as a continuous slide show. For example, students can read a PowerPoint mini-lesson, complete a multiple choice quiz that saves answers, and read instructions to complete an assignment on paper or Google Classroom (see below). TES Teach allows you to use the exact same materials you would use in a traditional classroom, except now they are uploaded online for students to navigate independently and at their own pace.
If your lesson content cannot be sufficiently conveyed through PowerPoint presentations, handouts, and web links, then use Class Kick. Like TES Teach, Class Kick allows you to upload and create documents to create digital lessons in minutes. However, Class Click has an additional feature that some teachers may find absolutely necessary to convert to the blended classroom. Class Kick allows you to write on a whiteboard or uploaded document and record your voice over any document. Your writing and/or voice is saved as a video that you can include in the lesson for students to access independently.
- Students can watch you solving a math problem.
- They can read along as you close read and take notes on a complex text.
- Students can listen to you lecture or read a poem aloud.
Then they can access traditional static documents, assignment instruction or web links, just as they can on TES Teach. For new or veteran teachers, the Class Click video feature is like having a second teacher in the classroom for improved academic and behavior management. As students watch you teach via video, you can also circulate to give individual students 1:1 academic support or behavior corrections. For teachers who struggle with classroom management or differentiation, Class Kick is a life changing resource.
While TES Teach and Class Kick allow you to create lessons online, Google Classroom allows students to access, create and save their assignments online. Everything they used to do on paper they can now do on Google Classroom with everything saved on Google Docs. Simply create a classroom and assignment that contains simple instructions. You can also choose to attach any document to the assignment to share instructions, templates, rubrics, or complete worksheets. Add students to your classroom using their email addresses or give them an access code to join on their own. In each Class Kick or Tes Lesson, include a direct link or simple instruction page for students to access their Google Classroom assignment to complete online. When students access the assignment their new document automatically saves to the correct assignment folder so you can easily access their written work in real time to see who has completed the assignment. You can grade and leave feedback directly in Google Classroom. With Google Classroom, you no longer have to worry about printing the correct amount of copies or lugging heavy papers home!
While written work is required for Math, English, History, and Science, blended learning requires true engagement with technology. Instead of paper and pen for every assignment, students can show what they know on the engaging online comic creator, Pixton. The two best ways to help students retain new content and skills are to provide visual cues and to allow students to actively engage in creating something meaningful. Comics are the perfect tools to provide visual and kinaesthetic interaction with any lesson content in Math, Social Studies, ELA, Science, or Foreign Languages. When you use Pixton, students can create comic strips to visualize and retain complex concepts and skills. Comics are quickly becoming the top resource to engage reluctant learners, struggling readers, and students with learning disabilities in reading and writing activities. Apathetic students who are impossible to motivate will love showing mastery of content and skills through fun and interactive comic strips. Share the Pixton link in your TES Teach or Class Kick lesson and instruct students to create a comic strip, storyboard, character map, plot diagram, timeline, mind map, KWL chart, or poster. Students can illustrate story elements from a text, details about a historical figure or event, or the steps of a math formula. The possibilities are endless.
Integrating technology into subjects like Math and History significantly increases student engagement, motivation, and independence. Use the above Edtech tools to effortlessly transition to a blended classroom, and simultaneously improve your ability to manage classroom behavior and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.