Give the Copier a Rest

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So next week is the beginning of No Worksheet Week May 2-6. The concept is not new to our district since it originated here with a blog post by Matt Weld. Even though this is not our first rodeo, it may be helpful to review some How? What? and Why? If you are hearing about this movement for the first time, you can easily participate. Just take slow baby steps by implementing a few alternatives to worksheets in one content area.

Benefits for Teachers

As members of the teaching community, we are sometimes navigating in unfamiliar waters. Technology, curriculum standards, diverse classrooms with larger numbers of students are just a few challenges facing us. We are asked to leave the “old reliable” traditional ways of implementing instruction with lectures and copied worksheets to student choice, differentiated instruction, more evidence of student learning. Some of us are eager to plunge into the deep water while others are clinging to the life jacket sitting in the boat. So here are a few reasons to join the no worksheet movement.

  1. It’s a small step toward innovative teaching with a big impact. You have an opportunity to observe your students’ creativity and critical thinking.
  • Think-pair-share and class discussions
  • Crazy Picture Writing- Laminate “crazy pictures” and students write stories about the pictures and put them in a class book.
  • Science Table- Put shells, rocks, seeds, dead bugs, anything from nature on a table with books about each object. Students write about the object they are researching.
  • Twitter board- post facts/opinions/statements using only 140 characters.
  • Write on something else-iPad, white board, on the desk or table with neon Expo markers to show your work.
  • Writer’s Antithesis- Students take a passage from the text they are reading and rewrite the passage reversing one or more of the writer’s choices: the tone, characterization, writer’s voice, point of view, setting, etc.
  1. You have a short commitment time of one week. Warning: Once you see the outcome you will want to continue using no worksheets until the end of this school year, the beginning of next school year, and on…
  2. You won’t be grading a mountain of papers!

Benefits for Students

  1. Smiles, Smiles, more SMILES!
  2. Students use critical thinking skills, creativity, and innovation.
  3. They are more engaged in the learning process.
  4. Students listen and collaborate with their peers.

Teachers must be willing to take risks just like we expect our students to do. We have to do more creative planning and stretch ourselves in order to become great teachers. Sure we will have failures to learn from, but that is part of the learning process. As we take on the role of facilitator in the classroom and give students choices, we create more memorable learning experiences. Can a worksheet really provide a lasting aah moment for a student?

 

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Author:

I graduated with an MS degree in Elementary Education from SIUE. I have endorsements for Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Middle School. I am certified to teach K-9 and Gifted Education. Over the years I have taught Kindergarten - Fifth Grade. Now I am currently a Literacy Coach, who works with a wonderful group of teachers.

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