We talked to 4th-grade teacher Elizabeth Bartels-Huizar, about how she uses TeacherMade in her classroom. She finds it most useful to incorporate online worksheets and daily assignments into her classroom routine.
What’s the best way to use TeacherMade in your classroom?
In my 4th grade Reading and Writing class I use TeacherMade in a few engaging ways, but I will focus on the system that has proven to be the most beneficial to my students’ growth: small groups. I consistently implement TeacherMade in my whole group teaching which transitions to small group centers with ease using 1-1 Chromebooks and iPads. I choose reading selections from anywhere – a paper copy, a workbook page, a PDF, an online article, a screenshot, the ideas are endless – upload it and then create an assignment, usually with multiple choice and open-ended questions for students to complete by the end of the class period.
How do online assignments fit into the flow of your in-person classroom?
At the beginning of a lesson, I state our learning intention/goal for the day, explicitly teach vocabulary, and present the notes all in Google Slides, which students can each open through Google Classroom. Linked in the slides for the day is the TeacherMade assignment we will work on. As a class, we open the text and use the tools to annotate what we are reading, leading to new discoveries and thoughtful discussions. Once we get through the text and the day's goal, I break for centers consisting of 4 rotations of 15 minutes each.
How can you use digital worksheets for group work?
At the “Teacher Table Center,” 4 to 5 students and I continue with the TeacherMade assignment on our own devices, where students can ask clarifying questions, and I can check for comprehension and depth of knowledge after reading. We then go on to the multiple choice or short answer questions, where we reason through them together, and students can complete the work and feel supported by me and their peers. Students love to turn in their assignments and be able to see their grade right away. This is an amazing perk for me because it saves time on grading, and I can immediately give feedback on anything they missed! By this time, the clock is winding down, and students will rotate, allowing me to personally see how each student is progressing on that day’s objective and/or assignment.
How can you use online worksheets to prepare for Texas STAAR?
Using TeacherMade is extremely beneficial because Texas will be changing its state assessment (STAAR) to all online by next school year. Because of this transition, my campus chose to adopt online testing this past year, so I had to find ways for students to become familiar with working online, and TeacherMade was my answer. To prepare them, I used it daily for lessons and small groups. Closer to the end of the year, I used released STAAR assessment PDFs to create assignments in TeacherMade to show students different strategies that can be used with online reading assessments. STAAR will also implement new question types next year, such as multi-select, short answer writing, dropdown selections, matching, etc.
TeacherMade is the only resource I have found that lets teachers create a document with different question types. The ability for students to use these types of answering formats in everyday work is critical for them.
How did improve reading using technology?
Allowing my students to become comfortable with reading different genres online and using tools to annotate as they read was truly the key to their success this year. They felt confident when it came to completing online work, and as educators, we all know that confidence is half the battle for most students. With more and more schools transitioning to digital textbooks and learning management systems, it is imperative that teachers prepare their students well.
Because of using TeacherMade this year, my students were exceedingly prepared for their STAAR test and performed 1st in the district for 4th grade Reading. I know that implementing TeacherMade in small groups led to major student growth.
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