Using TeacherMade For Distance Learning: An Elementary Language Teacher’s Perspective

We interviewed a variety of teachers and asked them how they use TeacherMade in the classroom. Elena is a foreign language teacher in Canada who primarily teaches elementary and middle school students. 

TeacherMade is an online worksheet creator that uses your existing worksheets. Simply upload your worksheet file, add questions, include a key, and students can complete assignments that look and feel just like traditional paper worksheets. 

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How have the last two years been for you in the classroom with the pandemic?

I graduated from my teacher training program in 2019 and began teaching grades 2-8 French full-time in the fall of 2020. At first, I was very overwhelmed when starting my new job, between creating lesson plans, getting to know my students, and coping with the changing landscape of education. 

The last two years have been a tumultuous time for teachers. As educators, we have been creative and flexible by necessity, switching seamlessly between in-person and online learning. At my school in Ontario, we have even adopted a “hybrid” approach to teaching, where we simultaneously teach in-person students and students streaming in through a laptop. 

How did you adapt your classroom for virtual learning?

When faced with the prospect of teaching online for the first time in January 2021, I began researching a variety of websites and programs that I could use to reach my learners better. Eventually, I came across TeacherMade, and it completely transformed my approach to online and hybrid learning. 

Do you recommend TeacherMade to other teachers?

A year later, most teachers at my school also use TeacherMade, and we have found it to be a tremendously useful tool during these unpredictable times. TeacherMade has helped me to track student progress, provide timely and detailed feedback, and give me many opportunities to assess my students, even when they were learning from a distance.

How do distance learning students submit work online?

When teaching students from a distance, being able to track their progress is a huge issue. When my school started with online learning, we asked students to upload pictures of their handwritten work at the end of a lesson. Inevitably, we nearly always had students who did not submit work, as uploading a photograph can be difficult for young children. When I started using TeacherMade, all of this changed. Suddenly, I could share a link to a daily assignment, and even my youngest students could easily complete and submit their work. During the lesson, I could see my students completing their work in real-time through the TeacherMade app and even check what percentage of the assignment had been completed. This enables a teacher to track progress effortlessly as if they were walking around the classroom and checking for understanding. 

What’s the best way to give students feedback online?

TeacherMade is a fantastic tool for providing feedback to students in a distance learning scenario. During my video calls with students, I could review their work on TeacherMade and give them verbal feedback and suggestions. When not on the call, I could also provide written feedback through the TeacherMade app. I could add general comments that would appear when the student re-opened the worksheet, draw directly on their worksheet as if editing with a pen, and even add fun stickers to reward them for their good work. TeacherMade also links directly to Google Classroom, so I occasionally added comments to students through the classroom assignment page. All of these features made it extremely easy for me to provide the same kind of timely and detailed feedback that students were used to in the classroom. 

How do you make your own online assessments?

TeacherMade also provides many different ways for me to assess my students during online learning. The app makes it so easy for me to create quizzes, tests, and assignments for my students to complete at home. Sometimes I even use the auto-grade function on TeacherMade, which makes marking a breeze. Some examples of tasks I can have my students complete include multiple choice questions, matching, short answer, and true or false questions. 

Is there a way to make online foreign language assignments for listening and speaking?

As a language teacher, I love that my students can record themselves speaking and upload the audio straight onto their worksheets. I have used this before to mark my students’ pronunciation and pacing when reciting a text. I also can upload audio files into the worksheets so my students can complete listening comprehension assignments. Additionally, TeacherMade can be used for creative projects, such as making a digital poster or a restaurant menu. TeacherMade provides countless ways for teachers like me to assess our students’ learning, even if the student is online. 

What is the future of hybrid learning for you?

The COVID-19 pandemic of the last few years has created so many unique challenges for both teachers and students. The landscape of education is rapidly evolving and changing, and educators are struggling to keep up. Even though hopefully, we will not have another lockdown anytime soon here in Ontario, distance and hybrid learning in some form or another seems here to stay. Students with extended absences at my school tune into class through a streaming laptop, and high school students in Ontario are now mandated to take at least two of their classes virtually. Fortunately, companies such as TeacherMade are helping to fill the system's gaps and providing educators with the tools they need to help their students succeed. From easily tracking student progress to providing detailed feedback to giving teachers a way to assess their students’ learning easily, TeacherMade really does run the gamut in helping educators and students to thrive. 

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