Launching the Less Paper Classroom

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The 2015-2016 school year marked the start of a brand new adventure for this veteran teacher of 27 years.  Like many other teachers across the country, I started the year with 25 iPads, one for each of my students and one for myself.  In addition, I was given an Apple TV to use with my Smartboard.  To say the task that lay ahead was daunting would be an understatement, but I was ready for it.  Unlike some of my colleagues, I did have one advantage, I have made a point of embracing technology and using it in my classroom for a number of years.

In coming posts, I will be sharing some of my successes as well as the many not-so-much successes throughout this journey.  My hope is that perhaps other teachers can get a nugget or two of valuable information that can be used along the way as they embark on a similar journey with technology.  In addition, I encourage all to share their trials and tribulations with technology in the comment section of this blog post.

For today’s post, I want to visit a bit about a new product I created for use in my classroom.  But before I do, a bit more background.  Those 25 iPads, I mentioned earlier, came with a request.  Soon after the school year began, our administration began encouraging a movement toward paperless classrooms.  Thankfully, it did not take long for them to realize that a paperless classroom is not a realistic expectation, especially at the elementary level.  Instead, teachers were expected to find ways to use the technology to help cut back on paper usage.  While some teachers balked at the idea, I began to look for little ways I could use technology in place of something for which I had traditionally used paper.  I soon found that a less paper classroom can easily be achieved and from that realization, I began designing “The Less Paper Classroom” digital product line.

Right from the start I found that going digital has some huge advantages:

  • Students LOVE it!  They are more engaged in their learning.
  • No time standing in front of a copier making copies.
  • Materials can be vibrant.  Color does not cost additional $$.
  • Zero, to no, time needed to prepare product for use.
  • It is a digital file, no physical organization or storage of materials.

So just last week I used my first Less Paper Product in my own classroom.  I do have to say the kids loved it!

After opening the PDF file on her iPad, the student sends the ‘Solve Cards’ to an annotation app and uses her finger to begin solving the equation.

My first “Less Paper” product features the math skill of Multiplying a Fraction and a Whole Number.  The product consists of  25 “Solve Cards” (like the one pictured above), 25 “Check Cards” (below), a traditional 2-sided recording sheet and a traditional answer key.

Students are able to scan the “Check Card’s” QR code displayed on the classroom display screen to see if they solved the equation on the “Solve Card” correctly.

The 2-sided recording sheet provides ample space for students to show their work.

A traditional answer key is provided for those not wanting to scan QR codes.

How can I use this product?  Really there are a variety of ways you can use this product and I have organized the files in the zip folder according to these uses:

  • Use the “Solve and Check Cards” file and display on your classroom device, such as a mimeo or smart board.  Students solve the equation on the provided recording sheet.  Next, show the QR code and students scan to check their answer.

The “Solve Card” is displayed on the classroom display.  Students solve equations on their recording sheet.  After a few minutes, the teacher displays the “Check Card”.  Students use their iPads to scan the QR code to see if their answer is correct.

  • Send the “Solve Cards Only”file to an iPad.  Students solve the equation on their iPad using an annotation app like Notability.  Use the “Check Cards Only” file to project on your classroom display device.  As students complete an equation, they can scan the QR code.
Students open their QR code reader app and prepare to scan the QR code.

Other possibilities:

  • Pair up the students.  Send the “Solve Cards” to one of the student’s iPads and the “Check Cards” to the other student’s iPad.  The partners take turns solving and checking their work.
  • Teacher or a student models how to solve the equation on the “Solve Cards” on an iPad that is connected through airplay to the classroom display.

Student work from their iPad is displayed on the classroom display.  Class listens as student explains their thinking.

Don’t have technology available in your classroom?  Could you still use this product?  Could this product be printed out and used in a traditional way?  Absolutely!

  • Print the “Solve Cards” on paper.  Laminate.  Use as you would a traditional task card.
  • “Solve Cards” can be used in math centers or during math intervention.  Laminate and students can write on the cards time and time again.
  • Hang cards in hallway.  Students go out in pairs or by themselves with a recording sheet, pencil and a clipboard to do a math walk.

Seriously the possibilities are endless.  Do you have another idea?  Please share in the comment section of this post.

Are you ready to give The Less Paper Classroom a try?  Well, here is the good news…the set featured in today’s post is FREE!  Simply go to The Less Paper Classroom:  Multiply a Fraction & a Whole Number and download your very own copy.  Even if you are not, or do not, teach the topic.  Download the set and practice placing and using the material on your digital devices.  Master its use with this free set and then sit back and wait for new sets to be released in the coming weeks.  My only request is if you do download and like the product, please tell your teaching colleagues, comment below, leave feedback at TpT.

Until the next time!

One thought on “Launching the Less Paper Classroom

  1. Amy Jordan

    We have also been asked to use less paper. The only thing is that unlike your district, ours thinks that we should go total paperless! Which is a tragedy for primary grades! I love using technology and it has tons of upside! I have had kids ask if we can use paper instead of the IPads! I think there should be a balance between the two! Great post!


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