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100 percent worksheet free
Old 08-29-2011, 02:02 PM
 
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So, today our superintendent said that he wants our district to be 100 percent worksheet free by the end of the year.

Really? Truly?

Does he live in the real world?

(P.S. He did not define what he considers a worksheet.)

He also gave us permission to "not teach to the test." Thanks a lot. Now will you explain how that matches with the fact that starting next year, our appraisals will be based 50% on student performance?


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I wish I was there
Old 08-29-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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I wish I was in your school...I am working towards being "worksheet free" and am down to one a day (for math homework).

I only wish I wasn't told constantly to teach to the test and believe, truly, that if we all stopped and focused on teaching kids to be readers, writers, mathmeticians and scientists and critical thinkers and problem solvers (and independent learners), the test would take care of itself.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:16 PM
 
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I am split. Every class should not be a worksheet, but I 100% think that worksheets are an important TOOL for students to practice skills independently in class. Especially in math and grammar!

I am (like Century) worksheet free in Composition and Reading, but depend on having assistance in some other subjects.

I wonder about DRA assessments and fluency worksheets (in math and oral reading). I guess those would be banned too.

I understand the reasoning behind it, but I understand your frustration....
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worksheet free
Old 08-29-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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I wonder how that would work for math?
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Good ol' days
Old 08-29-2011, 02:31 PM
 
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When I was in elementary school we didn't have very many worksheets (back in those mimeo days - which really dates me!) BUT we had consumable workbooks in many areas. Now, districts don't want that expense either. Some companies only offer blackline masters and no student workbooks at all. We also copied "exercises" and problems for math, language, and spelling. That's why all my friends and I had huge writer's bumps on our middle fingers. We wrote out tons of things and used lots of tablet paper. I tried having my kids do that with math a few years ago. It took 6 times as long for them to copy down practice problems and work them compared to just showing their work on a worksheet. On top of that, many copied the problem incorrectly which is an entirely different skill. I agree with Century46 about teaching the really important skills and the tests will take care of themselves. Could be a looonnnggg year. Of course many schools are having teachers pay for their own paper and copies so that alone would cause me to become worksheet free asap. Teachers should not have to fund school necessities.


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Old 08-29-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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I honestly don't understand this. If I have my students solve problems/do exercises out of their math book, how is this better or different than a worksheet? There are times that vocab. and language skills really must be applied in a written form. Is a worksheet for this so vile? I don't like to worksheet my kids to death, but for math, esp. I'm so much likely to get them all to solve the correct problems if the problems are right in front of them instead of them having to copy them from the book.
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Old 08-29-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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Flame me if you will but I truly believe worksheets have their place-used sparingly. I can't tell you how many of my kids have OT goals and a lot of them are coloring, cutting skills that require worksheets.

And, like Roo said, they teach skills that students need like re-reading, highlighting for notetaking purposes, problem solving, interacting with the text, etc.

I think we're doing a huge disservice to students when we go 100%worksheet free.
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I agree with you, Greyhound Girl
Old 08-29-2011, 03:05 PM
 
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I don't use a lot of worksheets. Usually a math worksheet for homework.

But....are graphic organizers worksheets?
Are cut and paste sorts worksheets?
Are story maps worksheets?
Are notes to paste in interactive notebooks worksheets?
What about my personally created Daily Math Reviews (mandated by the math department)

I don't think so, but does he?

As to "teaching to the test," I'm not sure what is the difference between "teaching to the test" and "teaching the standards." I know I mostly do the second, but to some extent, I also do the first.

Very few third graders can answer questions like:

Which of these questions can best be answered by paragraph 4?

without some coaching.
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Out with the "worksheet"
Old 08-29-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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I have a principal that is against worksheets. She explained that worksheets are being used to just pass time. I am interactive in my work sheet usage and also create my own "work sheets" that use blooms levels. It's just the term "worksheet" has a negative connotation. If you can use a teacher made, leveled activity it will be better and if you can use the consumables to work into group interaction and elevate the stakes a little, like explaining why they did what they did and how. I hope that helps.
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I'd be fine with...
Old 08-29-2011, 03:12 PM
 
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a busy work free school or district. I try to ensure that all of the activities my students do during key instructional time are engaging and interactive, but still involve pencil and paper independent work time.

I totally get what the OP is saying. Worksheets are a staple in many classrooms-- if the super wants to start a movement to become worksheet free, fine. I'd love to see the roster of innovative workshops and trainings he has planned to prepare teachers, STUDENTS AND PARENTS to adapt. I'm sure they will need to bring in more teachers to reduce class sizes in half, because I fail to see how you could assess and assign grades organically for 38 students. Data that supports his movement would be great, too. I'd seriously love to see that and would be open to learning more.

In my district, a brain child like this would be implemented like this: "We're doing this. Figure it out. Good luck."

Every population is different, but it is a total falsehood that worksheets somehow make a teacher's life easier. At least they don't for me. I have to make all of my own copies using paper purchased with a meager supply budget. In upper elementary, we don't just hand out worksheets and say, "Get to work," and magically students knuckle down for an hour doing meaningless practice of irrelevant material.


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Old 08-29-2011, 04:47 PM
 
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I am ok with no worksheets as long as I have the workbooks to go with my curriculum. To the OP, ask the district if they can provide that for you and then you can do it . If they don't, guess what? It is not possible.
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:27 PM
 
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Quote:
I am ok with no worksheets as long as I have the workbooks to go with my curriculum.
This is what I was thinking.
I wonder if foldables would be considered 'worksheets'?
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Old 08-29-2011, 05:50 PM
 
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Paper, toner, and copier upkeep are huge expenses and it sounds to me as if this latest mandate is just a way to save money and has nothing to do with best practice or educating students.

Last edited by GreyhoundGirl; 08-29-2011 at 05:51 PM.. Reason: Added thought
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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I have rarely used worksheets, mostly because they weren't available. Nor did I use consumable books because I never had any!

BUT that meant that kids copied problems from the board and solved problems on those or on white boards or something. It just took a little more time. While I think some overuse worksheets and they are not meant to be substitute teachers, worksheets are useful for plain old practice of skills.
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worksheets
Old 08-29-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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I too have been told that too many teachers use worksheets instead of lessons. I am not sure about this practice because I don't do this.

I DO CREATE my own worksheet, mostly for homework and in math. For literacy I create word searches and sentences using my students' names with a missing spelling word that the student has to find from the word box. I work hard to make sure the work is meaningful. My students love reading their names and seeing what I have them doing. I think these worksheets are helping them with their reading also.

I believe worksheets also teach reading the directions and following the direction.

I don't have a lot of consumable books so I have created worksheets to enhance the lesson. For some of the consumable books I am not happy with the worksheets in these books. Many of the pages are on the lower end and not on the higher end, so I have created worksheets that have higher end work.

I don't just use a worksheet for a lesson I haven't taught. I may use it as a back-up after the lesson.

Math is the place where worksheets are the most useful. How are students to learn what number comes before or after, or tally marks, or digit placement if they don't have a worksheet in front of them to ask the question and show the answer?

I think there is a time and a place for a worksheet. I think teachers should be the judge of this time and place.

What I find interesting with a no worksheet policy is that the state tests are one giant worksheet. The students need to learn how to take a test and answer the questions. They need to read and follow the directions. Without having a worksheet for practice, how are the students going to know what to do when they take the state test?

I do agree that many of these decisions are cost decisions because there isn't money for copy paper.

I am curious as to know the definition of a worksheet?

Thankfully my administration understands that the worksheets I use are not "filler work," but are enhancing lessons and the students are "learning" from their use.
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