Are you allowed to use worksheets are your school?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Em_Catz, Nov 9, 2010.

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  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Our school's admin have a NO TOLERANCE policy, especially if it's reading. I understand that they don't want the kids just doing busy work, but some worksheets are really useful, especially the ones that are in the student's practice book, which was created by the same company who made their reading books. :(

    For example, today we learned about the difference between a complete and incomplete sentence. They had an activity in the workbook where the kids would read sentences and determine whcih were phrases and whcih sentences, but I am not allowed to give it to them.

    So they had to copy down sentences I gave them which took forever. (imagine 25 six year olds copying 5 sentencs from the board:dizzy: some can handle it, but my BGL's which make up 95% of the class, were struggling)

    Also, it makes it nearly impossible to put anything up for math because our P doesn't allow us to put up -

    1) worksheets
    2) Tests
    3) quizzes

    There's really not much left to put up. Sometimes I incorporate art into math and can put up those projects, but sometimes it's really hard. Today for instance I did a fact family project that took almost an hour to do. Which means we ran out of time for science.

    Edit: Another time I was so irritated because my kids worked really hard when we were learning subtraction which resulted in 23 out of my 25 kids getting a 80% or higher! (the other two scored in the 70s which is still pretty good)

    I wanted so badly to post the test in the room because I was so proud, but again, not allowed.
     
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  3. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Did the admin give you any kind of training, alternatives, or a curriculum that doesn't rely on worksheets that much? If not, what a headache! :dizzy:

    Did they give you a reason for not using worksheets? Too much busy work? Does it cost them too much for copies? Are they trying to go green?

    I do know of one school that was not allowed to make copies due to budget cuts. So teachers, in a way, were limited in what they could use in the classroom.

    I try to reduce the amount of worksheets used in the classroom. I have made sets of laminated sheets that I use often, and I have my students use those instead of making copies of the same paper and using them each week. I've also seen clear "pockets" where you can put a worksheet inside, and the student uses a special marker to finish the worksheet, and then it can be erased and reused.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    That's just silly.

    There is nothing "evil" about a worksheet.
     
  5. David Brown

    David Brown Rookie

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    Yea that sounds too strict, I'd like the to know the reasons behind such a strict policy. Sometimes worksheets work! They can have great ideas and are a good way for students to cement and revise their learning. Obviously they are not good to use too much and I try to give more rich tasks but such a strict policy I think does more damage than good.
     
  6. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Your district has certainly wasted tons of money buying the workbooks that you can't use. Perhaps higher ups need to spend some time working in the classroom trying to teach without worksheets.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Plus . . . what is a workbook except WORKSHEETS bound in a book?
     
  8. Mr D

    Mr D Comrade

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    Nov 9, 2010

    :eek:
     
  9. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I have no idea why we are not allowed to do worksheets. I guess they think it's busy work. Our P is VERY VERY against it and acts as if worksheets are the DEVIL :mad:sent to destroy the entire education system. I also suspect it's a way to save money because we are always running out of toner and paper for the printer.
    Are you sure about that? Our P literally was yelling at us yesterday during our staff meeting if ANY worksheet was seen, we would be written up. That they are UNACCEPTABLE. That they don't help children learn. Also, we are NOT allowed to use the practice workbooks. So they just sit in the reading room, unused.:confused: My grade level chair somehow got her hands on a few from last year, so the entire team and I keep them hidden in our classroom and duplicate them and use the worksheets to help us come up with ideas with independent work
     
  10. mom2sands

    mom2sands Comrade

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    We're in the same situation. We have reading and math worksheets that we're supposed to "not" use. I have managed to eliminate them from one part of our day. There are occasions where I'd like to eliminate them--especially in math--Saxon, which spirals and skips around. Often the lesson of the day has nothing whatsoever to do with the worksheet--which is a waste of time in my opinion.
     
  11. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    So what sort of stuff do you give your kids for independent work in math? Do you all use a practice book? I personally used to love using the math workbooks because they come differentiated -- they have an AGL/challenge workbook, an OGL workbook and a BGL workbook for the kids who don't quite get it and need some reteaching.

    After I taught for the day, I woulld give them those for practice.
     
  12. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Although I do not allow work sheets in PS, I find that they are very appropriate in other grades.

    As a PP asked, did they give you training in alternative ways to teach? And, how do you evaluate without a test?

    Being the rebel I am, I would ask for proof that worksheets were not DAP.
     
  13. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Nov 9, 2010

    DAP?

    EDIT:We can give tests but we can't post them in the room
     
  14. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    For independent practice, I think worksheets are a good tool. I teach English, and use grammar worksheets as practice to reinforce grammar lessons. No one has died so far. And most of them have gotten the hang of grammar...

    This year, we were instructed that we MUST hang up examples of exemplary academic work (ie. writing samples, tests, etc), which I'm fine with. There is to be a "minimal amount of art work," Which is a little irritating, because I like to incorporate art into writing projects (decorating poems, etc). I'm just waiting to hear word my walls are too "colorful." haha
     
  15. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I've got parts of the curriculum that aren't covered by the text book, how would I adequately address that without a worksheet?????


    I've got other parts where the text book just jumps to ALL fraction answers and doesn't give them a chance to master the skill before throwing in such complications. How can I reasonably address that without a worksheet?


    Text books are nice and I do like them, but they're not perfect and it's foolish to restrict my teaching exactly what the book says.
     
  16. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    What about individual white boards? Each kid gets one, you project a question (or write it on the board) and they write their answer on their mini whiteboard. You can get all your questions from a worksheet, but the presentation wouldn't be a worksheet.
     
  17. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Nov 9, 2010

    Developmentally Appropriate Practice
     
  18. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Call it a record sheet, then. And yes, we're allowed to use worksheets although they are frowned upon as busy work by some, and by all if used exclusively.
     
  19. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Nov 9, 2010

    There is not one drop of evidence which proves without a doubt any one method of instruction is 100 percent effective with all students all of the time. An effective instructor is equipped with an arsenal of methods. Picking and choosing the correct method(s) to produce the most learning is what the art of teaching is all about. Madeline Hunter put it this way: "It's not what the teacher puts into students that counts. It's what the teacher gets out that counts."
     
  20. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Yep......What the Loomi said!!!!!!
     
  21. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    If only those in complete power had a clue.
     
  22. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Nov 9, 2010

    Your "P" is a vacuous ingrate with their head shoved so far up where the sun doesn't shine that they have no business being within 500 yards of a school in any decision making capacity. Actually, they have no business being anywhere near a school period, just in case there's a one in a zillion chance that a small particle of their incompetence might somehow be contagious.

    Seldom have I seen or heard ideas so utterly void of any common sense as this one. Did I mention where the person's head is? Good.

    My guess is that there's a teacher at your school who uses worksheets as their primary means of instruction and the principal just wants to stop them but is to lazy and incompetent to actually figure out a way to get just that one person to change their behavior, so all they can do is come up with a school-wide policy that borders on insanity, has no research base, seriously prevents good teachers from doing their jobs, and brings quality instruction to a grinding halt for many students. When I was in the Air Force, and we had someone this incompetent, we would assume that person was planted in our squadron by the Soviet Union in order to cause mission delays and plane crashes.

    I seriously lack the words to describe how much I despise this principal you have. The words are there, but I think if I wrote them it would just be one long string of asterisks like bleeps on a Gordon Ramsey cooking show.

    The simple fact is that worksheets are an essential part of any curriculum. Sure, written work that begins with a pencil and a piece of paper is great. But many, many students have extreme difficulty either copying off of the board or listening to a teacher dictating directions. They need to have the directions and any necessary information on the same piece of paper they are working on.

    For first grade students, copying off the board is next to impossible due to their lack of established reading fluency. Watch a first grader copy off the board, they do it letter by letter. And that is a serious waste of instructional time. Moreover, it's utterly impossible to teach handwriting without some form of worksheet where the example of the correct letter formation is on the paper that is on the kid's desk.

    And a reading coach once told me that constantly looking up at the board then having to refocus on a paper at a young age can actually cause astigmatism.

    Of course, your principal would know these things if they had half a brain* and got off their fat rear end and did some research.

    *my apologies to any half-brained people out there if I offended you by comparing this principal to you.
     
  23. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    This was as close as I could find to a standing ovation smiley
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Oh, here's another one that works....

    [​IMG]
     
  25. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Similar situation here!! Kids need to transfer what they are learning and ONE way is by doing it on paper! I even had to reduce my homework pages (2 front and back a week) because I have a limited amount of copies to make per month! I have 30 kids and NO writing, social studies, or science curriculum!!!!

    I feel your pain but doing stuff on paper makes it FUN for the kids! I say to hell with it and I copy something for them to COLOR (oh no!!!) in order to make pop ups books or various things for writing.

    It also takes my 2nd graders FOREVER to copy something on their own so I "don't waste paper" well...that's cutting into INSTRUCTIONAL time don't ya think? gah!! I could go on and on about this crap!!
     
  26. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    What about self created graphic organizers or thinking maps, can they do those? What about drawing, illustrating a scene from the story that you just read, or the character? What about writing a story map with a brief picture of the story? Or some element from the story? What if they take their blank paper and write ONE sentence using colored pencils? Then you could display some of these paper on the boards in your room?

    What do you give for homework? How do they do math for guided and independent work? How are you able to check it? How do parents "see" the work that their child produces each day to practice the concepts?

    I agree that there are some very ineffective worksheets out there, but there are some good ones too. To have a workbook and not be allowed to use it really makes NO sense at all. The workbook serves a purpose, to practice the concepts in the story that they just read.
     
  27. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    If you don't, I will.

    We all know the teachers who base their entire curriculum on "packets." You know, kids get a pile of worksheets on Monday and turn them in on Friday. Their classes are quiet while the kids work and the teacher sits behind their desk and does whatever. People deride these teachers as being lazy and ineffective.

    But think about it. Are these really the worst teachers out there? Probably not. After all, these kids probably do more work in this class than any other. And for many kids, especially the ones who have trouble learning from a teacher who does lecture/discussion all period, this is probably the best method.

    The purpose of any pre-printed assignment is to make the best use of instructional time. Copying off the board is not good use of instructional time.

    I need to stop. I'm getting madder and madder as I type.
     
  28. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Sarge, you are also getting more and more hilarious. The perfect vitriolic argument....I LOVE IT!

    Can you imagine Sarge on a roll standing in front of Congress?

    Please, oh please, start writing public letters that would get seen by some of these idiots.
     
  29. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I would donate to his travel expenses!
     
  30. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    A few years ago, I worked with a Science Teacher whose first 3 classes of the year were spent having the students copy Lab Expectations and Notebook Expectations off of overheads onto lined paper to put into their books. The class had several students for whom far-point copying was a challenge and they were, literally, copying letter for letter and gaining no meaning from what they were copying. An interactive worksheet would have been far more effective and a more efficient use of time, but she "didn't believe in worksheets or handouts".
     
  31. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Ridiculous. What about a graphic organizer for reading? She needs to get her hands on some Marzano if she thinks that is evil.

    Principals like to see "strategies." But what they need to understand is that everything you do is a strategy. Lecturing is a strategy. Worksheets are a strategy. Sitting at your desk and letting the students work without you breathing down their neck the whole period is a strategy. As long as the teacher is using a variety of strategies, there is nothing inherently evil about any of these.

    I was annoyed last year when my principal chided me for calling the paper a worksheet while he was observing me. He said I should call it an "activity." Oy. Yeah, until "activity" is a dirty word, then what?
     
  32. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    We get mixed messages at our school. We had a schoolwide inservice "Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites" and encouraged not to use them. A few weeks later we were told to make sure that we are using the entire reading and math programs which include
    both worksheets and activity books.
     
  33. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Very good point. You can avoid worksheets and still have activities that are mind-numbing and brainless in class.

    I think the term "worksheet" means different things to different people. To the OP's "principal," it means any paper that has pre-printed questions or activities on it that the the teacher gives to students. But just because it comes out of a copy machine and the kids write something on it doesn't mean it's a "worksheet" in the negative sense. Graphic organizers, KWL charts, writing frames, etc. are not worksheets. If a math teacher wants to give additional word problems that are not in the textbook, are those worksheets?

    All of the things I just mentioned are well established activities that all good teachers include as part of their instruction and that require a printer an/or a copy machine to create.

    I could go in tomorrow, and say to my students "get out a sheet of paper, and write your letters upper and lower case three time each then write the alphabet backwards. After that write your numbers to 100 once by ones, twice by twos, and five times by fives.

    Then I could sit down at my computer and look at Lol Cats until recess. But I wouldn't be doing worksheets!

    If a reasonably competent administrator were in a situation where they needed to curtail excessive use of worksheets, then I'd suggest banning "mindless classroom busywork that has no real connection to the adopted curriculum or state standards." The only problem is that in order to enforce a rule like that, the principal actually needs to go around and see what's happening in the classrooms as opposed to just sifting through the recycle bin.

    That's how it is in my district. Any mindless busywork in class that doesn't support the standards or tie into the adopted math and reading programs is frowned upon,* whether it comes out of a copy machine or not.

    *Mindless busywork is still OK if it connects to the state standards.
     
  34. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    "NOPE--that sounds like 'Worksheet', masquerading as productive work! Think again heavens54!" -the P at that school ;)
     
  35. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Every school principal and district administator* should have this permanently carved into their desk, be required to set this as the desktop and screen saver on their computer, and forced to recite it at district office meetings. Whenever two administrators greet eachother, instead of saying "hello," this is what they should say.

    *And probably some teachers should as well, but most of us have figured out on our own or learned it the hard way.
     
  36. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    I cannot imagine not being allowed to use worksheets in my classroom. I teach math. The only way to learn math is constant spiral review along with repetitive practice problems. I certainly don't have time to write my own practice sets, nor do I have time to wait for special ed children to copy down sets off the board! I teach 3 different grade levels so that further limits how much time I can spend prepping activities and whatever. So, being able to use worksheets when I want them to do independent work rather than hands on or smart board things is a life saver.

    Besides, worksheets don't have to equal quiet work. Most of the time, actually, when they are given a worksheet, I assign them a partner, let them do it cooperatively, and then I set a timer. When the timer goes off, we go over the answers together and then I take a classwork grade for it. Sometimes if I need silence to get other things done at my desk I make it be silent work, but the majority of the time, I don't.

    I can understand if they are worksheeted to death, but that's not what I do. It's never mindless busywork and it always directly relates to the standard I'm teaching that day.

    Oh--by the way--when I'm doing direct instruction (impossible to avoid in math)--I give each student a note outline that they fill in blanks along with me. Does that count as a worksheet, since I have guided practice on the back? The kids I teach cannot effectively take notes without some kind of guidance, so that's what I do to help them along.

    This is all madness to me!

    Finally, I have one class period that is a nightmare. They cannot behave and they cannot handle any activities I come up with where they could work cooperatively because they go off task, won't work, instigate each other, etc. Without worksheets and forcing them to work alone all the time, they'd never do ANYTHING.

    I just can't imagine what is going through this principal's head.
     
  37. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Just very thankful I DO work with/for a very sane principal :thumb:
     
  38. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Oh my goodness! I did not realize so many people had responded to this thread! Thank you everyone for all the comments. Sarge, you're a nut! But hilarious :lol:
     
  39. nasirahc83

    nasirahc83 Companion

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    Wow! is all i can say.
     
  40. nasirahc83

    nasirahc83 Companion

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    then again which district do you work in so I don't end up there.
     
  41. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    I want Sarge as a co worker!!!! lol
     
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