Emily Adamsheck teaches 5th grade math and reading. We talked to her about how she creates online assignments using TeacherMade. TeacherMade converts your existing worksheets into digital assignments. It can streamline lesson planning, assignment creation, assessment, and grading.
Is TeacherMade a program you can use for all your assignments and assessments?
It’s true, everything can be done in one program, and I do that with TeacherMade! I teach 5th grade math and reading, and I can prepare practice activities, homework, assessments, reteaches, and retests, all within TeacherMade. When I say I use TeacherMade every single day, I mean it!
Walk us through your online assignment creation process.
To fully understand how I use TeacherMade, I will walk you through a math unit my team and I created. Our district adopted the standards-based grading system a few years ago. Our standards-based grading is on a 4 (exceeds), 3 (meets), 2 (partially meets), and 1 (does not meet) scale. My team and I have broken down our standards to teach and assess each standard. The unit that I’m walking you through has the following Minnesota Math Standards under Number & Operation:
- Standard 18.104.22.168 - I can divide with quotients represented as fractions.
- Standard 22.214.171.124 - I can divide with quotients represented as decimals.
- Standard 126.96.36.199 - I can divide with quotients represented as fractions, decimals, and remainders.
- Standard 188.8.131.52 - I can generate equivalent fractions from decimals.
- Standard 184.108.40.206 - I can generate equivalent decimals from fractions.
How do you convert existing worksheets into online assignments?
First, we start with a lesson and practice. Each standard/skill is typically one lesson/day (90 minute math block), but we are always flexible depending on student understanding. We are very much hands-on when we can be, and in my classroom we are interactive with whiteboards during our lessons and practice. When it comes to homework time, it’s TeacherMade time. Most of our math assignments are PDFs found online, so we quickly upload them into TeacherMade and make them digital.
How do you create digital worksheets and assignments?
Sometimes we (my team) have a vision we can’t necessarily find, so we create the worksheets ourselves, usually in a Google Doc, (but Google Slides works just as well), and then we upload them into TeacherMade. Then each homework assignment is assigned through Google Classroom. Students have the majority of their work time in class to complete this assignment because I want students to be able to ask for help, get feedback on their work, feel comfortable and confident during practice, and also have the chance to improve their understanding.
How can you monitor students while teaching online?
TeacherMade has streamlined student progress checks, and I can efficiently find those struggling students (along with observations during guided practice). This is where my small group or one-on-one work time comes in handy. Some students just need a quick run-through, and the lightbulb clicks. Other students need more, and I’m there for them! It’s so productive to be able to see student progress as they are working in TeacherMade. I also love that I can reopen their assignments so they can try again. Once an assignment is submitted, students can check their work and fix their answers. They are able to self-assess and self-monitor their understanding more independently than ever before. Of course, they can always come to me for help, but sometimes it’s more effective when they see the mistakes that they made, and they are able to self-correct.
Is it hard to do retakes with online assignments?
The rule developed this year in my classroom has been to get 100% on your homework assignment in class. If it’s not 100%, they will then write their name on the board, and I will reopen assignments when I am not busy working with students that need more help. With this approach, they don’t interrupt one-on-one or small group time, and I can stop every couple of minutes and reopen a handful of assignments quickly. Students are totally on board with this, and it has just become the norm. It truly makes the classroom flow very smoothly as students work at their own pace.
How do you use TeacherMade for test prep?
Though these standards are all related to each other, a review is always necessary before an assessment. In our classroom, we try to do some hands-on activities or reviews. During Distance Learning, we transitioned the review to TeacherMade and have a variety of activities students complete digitally, as well.
How do you create online assessments?
After review comes assessment. This specific unit has two standards. However, both standards are broken down even more to assess the understanding of a specific skill (ie. fraction quotient vs. decimal quotient). We try to break it down as much as we can for the assessment so we know which student needs to be retaught what skill/standard and then move on to retest. We have made all of our own math assessments, reteaches, and retests. We didn’t start completely from scratch. We started with our curriculum-provided assessments and then shaped them into a way where it was assessing students at a level that we believe reflects our standards-based grading and in a way where it was also efficient for us to grade. When we were complete with the creation of assignments, assessments, etc., the easy part came uploading them into TeacherMade and making them auto-graded.
After students take the assessments, we grade them. Any student who received a 2 (partially meets) or 1 (does not meet) on any standard has the opportunity to reteach and retest. This is where small group work is very effective in reteaching those specific students the standards they need more assistance. After reteaching, students take their retests that are also in TeacherMade. The retests are assigned to only the students needing that specific standard. In this topic, there would be five individual retests, and each retest is three questions.
How do you make a digital worksheet with a variety of question types?
We love variety when it comes to the tools and types of answers used in TeacherMade. We use multiple choice, multi-select, drop down, math answers (number, fraction, mixed number), and more. Most of our answers are auto-graded, with the exception of some that we have to grade ourselves (i.e., a number between 5.5 and 5.6 or writing a number in word form). The types of answers you have also show a student’s depth of knowledge and understanding. On each standard in assessments, we typically have at least one multiple choice question and a question where they type in their own answer (usually using the math tools- number, fraction, mixed number).
Did this take some time to create?
Yes. We started a couple of years ago and are still going. But it gets easier every year. Why? We have a great foundation that we can reflect on and improve every time we teach. Now, that just means tweaks here and there. Has TeacherMade made our teacher lives that much easier now that we are able to reuse, easily update, and efficiently assess in TeacherMade? 100%
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