29 March 2020

How to Make a PowerPoint Lesson Interactive for Digital Learning

Digital learning has definitely taking the educational world by storm, and it's not going away anytime soon. I think that through all of this, educators and leaders will be able to see that technology in the classroom is crucial, but that doesn't help us in this moment, does it?

As teachers around the country are trying to scramble in order to teach students remotely, I wanted to take a minute and show you that you can use what you already have. 

Just a disclaimer, this lesson incorporates Google Classroom.

When I started teaching my students online two weeks ago due to school closures, I was extremely anxious about two things:

1. How am I going to make sure that my students continue learning at the same level that they were in my classroom?

2. How am I going to have the time to suddenly create all of these digital lessons?

The only answer that I had for the first question was to continue "teaching" like I was in my classroom. This is what my students were used to, and I wanted to keep things as "normal" as possible for them. 

When I teach social studies and science, for example, I use PowerPoint lessons and guided notes. I continued this strategy, but I modified it a bit for the digital classroom. 

Here are the steps that I follow: 

1. I break my PowerPoint lessons into about 10 or so slides a day. We were given the guidelines to assign about half the workload that we would in a normal class period. To do this, I open my PowerPoint lesson in Google Slides.

2. Then, I go to "File" and "Save as Google Slides"

3. I then delete the slides that I am not using that day. 

4. My lesson is locked for editing so the background images, fonts, and clipart does not move. This makes it easy to use with Google Slides because it locks it from editing when assigning it to students and protects the terms of use of the author and clipart used.

5. I use "online voice recorder" to record myself teaching through some of the slides. 

To do this, you have to: 

  • Record whatever you want to say for that slide
  • The file saves to your computer
  • Drag the saved file to your Google Drive
  • Make sure that you make the file "sharable" (otherwise the kids won't have access)
  • In Google Slides, go to "Insert Audio" and voila! Kids can click on the speaker to hear your voice!
Whenever I insert audio on a slide, I always add the yellow speaker note so that kids don't miss it!

6. A lot of the slides on my PowerPoint lessons have discussion questions built in to them, so on these slides, I add a text box for students to respond.

7. The PowerPoint Lessons that I create and sell in my store also have built in videos and interactive links. This makes using them with Google Slides SO SIMPLE because all of these links easily transfer over. 

On this slide, students simply click on the picture and then watch the video. You can even add a text box below this picture and ask students to respond to a question about the video. 

8. Once the lesson is complete, I assign it in Google Classroom. If your lesson is interactive and students had to respond, then you must choose "make a copy for each student" when assigning the lesson so that students into their lesson instead of the original. I always assign my lessons using this method because it keeps kids accountable and I know whether they have or have not completed the assignment. 

9. In class, I also have my students take notes using a study guide, and I am currently in the process of making my study guides digital and adding them to the units that I have available in my store. 

10. Please remember that it is against copyright terms of use to share any items that you purchase from TpT with other teachers. This method should only be used to modify a lesson for your students through Google Classroom. 

I hope that I was able to relieve a little stress and make learning come alive for your students! If you are in need of any PowerPoint lessons, I have following units available: 

Social Studies:

Happy Teaching!


  1. Thank you for this post, I was working the same way (I'm still adjusting to the situation), but close enough to what you are doing, so it's a releif as a new teacher...
    I was just wondering how do you lock your lesson and still make some box for the student to work on it ?
    I transfer my PPT and convert it into slide but I'm still wondering how you work that magic ?

    Thanks a lot for your answer,

    Special hello from France !

    1. After your lesson is locked down, all you have to do is insert a text box over the image for students to type into.

  2. Thank you Andrea for writing these tips. Like others, I am completely overwhelmed. Could you help me to understand how if I assign the slide show (after we talk about it) and the worksheet as separate attachments on google classroom, how can they type on one and look at the slides at the same time? Do they need to split their screen? I'm having a hard time teaching my english language learners how to do this. Is there any other way?
    If we want them to take notes on your ppt (which by the way is perfect) during class on the doc, is it screen splitting again?
    Thank you!

  3. They can't look at it at the same time unless they split their screen, unfortunately.