So I don't do enough worksheets

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Backroads, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 21, 2016

    Have a kiddo in my class. She's bright (not exactly gifted, but certainly bright enough and can hold her own in class), outspoken, uber-responsible, and generally a nice, cute kid. She was sick for the past two days and upon her return asked her for her make-up work.

    I handed her the great quantity of a single math worksheet and a writing prompt.

    She did them, then asked for more.

    I said there wasn't more. I just don't do a heck of a lot worksheets most of the day.

    Her dad then called me after school to ask why she didn't get all the worksheets we did.

    "Sir, the only tangible writing we did outside of Daily 5 writing were these."

    He then asks how his daughter is supposed to make up work if we don't do most of the work in worksheets.

    Sigh.
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Sorry it is frustrating, but it is somewhat of a valid question.

    How do your students make up missed work when they are sick?
     
  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    It's not so much making up work as it is making up a lesson. Mostly I pull them aside during Daily 5 for a mini lesson of what they missed.

    I just dont like the notion I should be more of a worksheet teacher to make missing days easier.
     
  5. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

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    I agree. I rarely ever do worksheets. Students have to meet with me in small group to review what they missed.
     
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  6. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I usually just excuse kids from their work for the day if they're absent. However, if work is asked for, I tell them to read the story in our textbook, which is available online, and answer the questions at the end. It's no extra work for me to tell them to do this. (I know things are probably different at your grade though... 2nd?)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016
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  7. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    Oct 22, 2016

    Did you tell him that you had pulled (or would be pulling) her aside to make up her missed lessons? I can see a parent being confused when that's all you give them...they wonder what you do all day! I usually wrote on their assignment envelopes something like "Meet with me tomorrow to practice xyz".
     
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  8. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I still think his question is valid since he probably came from a time where there were a lot of worksheets or book work during the school day.

    I'm not sure why you are frustrated when the easy answer is that you will be meeting with her 1:1 to review what she has missed and ensure that she gets caught up. What this really comes down to is the parent wanting to make sure that she learns what was missed and doesn't really know how to ask that question based on his prior knowledge of how school works.

    I know that my education as a child consisted of worksheets and reading from books and answering questions. There was some instruction time also that was also discussion based, but it was about something we read. There were board activities but that was also based on something from a book or from the teacher manual.
     
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  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 22, 2016

    So much of class time these days are spent on group work, and discussion that there's no real way to make it up if you are absent. What I do sometimes is tell them to watch a video or research something to catch up on what we learned, but it's not exactly the same as doing it in class. I often do labs that you can't really make up past the lab day because it involves a lot of group discussion, brainstorming, making decisions, that a student who wanted to make it up would essentially be just copying everything down from another student and do none of the thinking.

    The solution: don't be absent except for those few times you need to be due to illnesses and such.
     
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  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Are you trying to tell me that the only way someone can learn the content is through group discussions? I just don't buy it. Certainly the absent student won't learn the same information in the same manner as the class discussion, but that does not mean that because the content is taught via a class discussion because of teacher choice that the student should not be taught all of the content that was the basis for the discussion. If the content is important enough to have a lesson on something must be provided such that the student can learn what they missed because absences are a part of life.

    The solution is not just don't be absent. The solution is that the teacher needs to have a plan to get absent students back up to speed.
     
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  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Some things can only be taught via classroom and group participation. For instance, I recently had a unit on teaching experimental design. It's a very process based skill, where they had to brainstorm variables to change, choose which variables to change, talk with each other about what things to keep constant, and how they would develop their experiment. Could a student do this entirely on their own? Yes, but their growth in this skill wouldn't be as much as if they did this in a group and were able to bounce ideas off of each other.

    I have too much to do with planning instruction and teaching students for the next upcoming classes. It's not my responsibility to catch a student up. It's the students' responsibility to catch up and find the resources they need to learn the things they missed. Especially for students who are gone for a week because their family decided to go to Disneyworld a week or two after a major break.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Oct 22, 2016

    Actually, it partly is, especially if it is an excused absence.
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    They could do this in a lunch time session with you. Aren't you big on lunch "thinks" for students who break the rules? Why not to catch a student up?

    Actually, there is no way you can say that the student would learn more from bouncing ideas off one another because the quality of the information from others might actually be providing false facts or not be accurate. It sounds good, but group discussion doesn't always mean quality discussion.
     
  14. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I don't do many worksheets either. However I also never just teach a concept once and then consider it 'taught' and 'learned'. So while a student may miss an interactive experience while they are away, I will spiral back to that skill or outcome multiple times over the course of a unit and the school year as a whole. There are many other opportunities to learn and practice the skill.
     
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  15. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    I think it depends on the age level of the students. I have over 100 students, so I can't pull every kid whose absent over for a mini lesson. Kids take/copy notes for other kids who are absent and I hand them to the kid when they return. It's their responsibility to read the notes, pages in the book we covered, and complete any homework. At the high school level they really need to be independent enough to catch up themselves and learn the material if they're going to be absent. Of course if it's tough material, I'm available before or after school for extra help, or I might work with the kid while others are doing independent work. However, there are just some things that can't or are very difficult to make up, like in-class participation (dialogues or group discussions of question/answer sessions). If those things are graded, I will usually modify it for the student or only make them responsible for one part of the assignment if it was done in pairs in class.
    Kids at the HS level need to learn and try to be in school everyday. Unfortunately, as the kids get older I notice they're absent more or more (stress?) so as seniors they have a hard time getting to school in the morning. They're in for a rude awakening in college when they can't "make things up."
     
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  16. jadorelafrance

    jadorelafrance Cohort

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    Oct 22, 2016

    Ditto!!! I always spend multiple days on a concept especially if it's brand new. It's a bummer for the kid if they miss a fun lesson and the new concept in context and interactively, but they can get pretty caught as we review at the beginning of the period the next day.
     
  17. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Oct 22, 2016

    I do understand what you're saying.

    Just a thought: The actual learning experience might not be the same, but having a stock assignment that students can do for any topic can be helpful.

    In science when I was in middle school, the teacher had students write exactly 50 word essays on any scientist as extra credit. The "exactly 50 words" part made it a bit more challenging, but obviously that would be optional.

    It would be simple enough to have students research and write 50 words on the topic of ___ (whatever the topic of the day was) to recover some of the content they missed while absent. Are they going to get the benefit of the conversation? No, but some type of remedial assignment has been provided, and now it's on them to make sure they understand what was covered.
     
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  18. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I find some parents are deciding how school should be taught, but it's the teacher's and the school's responsibility. Parental input is beneficial, to be sure, but the professionalism of the teacher should be respected, too. If it's available, I'm recalling a Dennis the Menace episode (from the old black and white days) that if my memory is accurate might provide a fun but thoughtful PTA/PTF meeting. Mr. Wilson was shocked at Dennis's description of his classroom experience and commented how school just isn't like it used to be, so he decided to sit in on a typical classroom day. He learned how educational science has advanced and how the students are learning and progressing with the current teaching methods.
     
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  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I do catch them up at lunch or after school if they make the time to meet with me after the lesson. I always make myself available more than most teachers during both of those times. However a lot of students don't want to come then because they think its "their time" and want me to spend "my time" giving them everything either before they leave or just give them worksheets and keys in class.

    Sorry, but I'm not doing that.

    Also, sometimes the goal is just teaching them how to discuss or how to speak like scientists do. Sure sometimes inaccuracies arise, but we always address them as a class afterwards, and the students benefit from speaking and using academic language to communicate their own thoughts rather than just writing, and seeing it, or hearing it from me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    The thing is that so much of what they learn in science class is process-based or communication type skills. Telling them to write a short essay on a specific concept would only work on some things. I can't teach them how to do engineering if they miss a week long engineering project with their group by telling them to write 50 words about engineering. It wouldn't work. And it's extra work on my part to create a completely new assignment for a single student.

    I can't teach them how to use a microscope by giving them a worksheet on it. They need to actually sit down and do it. And it helps to have buddies around them who they can bounce ideas off of or ask for help.
     
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  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I see nothing wrong with telling a student they need to come during "their time" to make up the missed work that needs to be done with 1:1 or 1:(everyone who missed). I also see no problem documenting they said no and letting the parent know that they refused to come to learn what was missed. Now with on-line gradebooks it is easy to have a way to track this.
     
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  22. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I agree. As long as you're attempting something, it's fine. I see it as a CYA kind of thing. Plus, when the student then fails the in-class test because they didn't learn the content, again, you can say, "The student was absent __ days during this unit. I provided ___ but it was not turned in," should parents or admin ask. Obviously it's not ideal, but as long as you've done your part, they need to do theirs too.

    As a side note... my group this year is very good about requesting and returning absent work. I do appreciate it. The parents don't want their kids to get behind, so most are there on time every day. I've had groups that have been the opposite.
     
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  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    2nd is right. I do concepts, which are at the 2nd grade level easy enough for most kids to review. If there is a worksheet, I generally do just leave it unless they ask specifically for it. Worksheet being practice and all, and a lot of parents do mean well in wanting to have everything ready.
     
  24. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I did. "Kiddo met with me to go over what she missed".

    He still wanted to know what hardcopy work she had missed.

    It did take another email to convince him I just don't do a whole lot of worksheets and that Kiddo did have other means for the lesson.

    She's also a kid who happens to like worksheets. I print off extra math worksheets... pretty much just for her.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
  25. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I agree with this, but there still is something to be said for "don't be absent." I think a good teacher can and should have plans for the occassionally absent student. But teachers should not be held responsible for the situation of a frequently absent student. If getting to school a reasonable number of days is not in the cards, alternative education plans need to made--not hoping the teacher makes plans for a kid who is absent every other day.

    (To clarify, the kiddo of the OP has no eyebrow-raising attendance problems, she just happened to be sick for two days).
     
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  26. otterpop

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    Frequent absences are not good for the student, but also not fair for the teacher when increasing focus is being placed on standardized assessment scores. One of my students who did not make progress last year was absent for about 2 months of the school year, combined.
     
  27. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Regardless of whether a student is sick or on vacation, I do collect all the "paper" work that we do, and have it in a folder on their desk when they return. In either case, I will make sure that I meet with them and tell them what is necessary and what isn't in terms of getting caught up. Usually math is something that they need to get caught up in (and thankfully, that is the easiest to either print off a worksheet or use something from class), whereas the reading skills are ones that will spiral, which is usually not worksheet-laden. Similar to you, I don't do a ton of worksheets (I do some, but there's a lot of discussion, a lot of notes, and a bunch of longer-project type of learning), and so not much gets sent home after they return. Thankfully, parents are pretty understanding here about that.
     
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  28. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Just musing here, but I wonder if the conversation were directed more towards the "concepts"/skills that she had missed, if it might be easier to convince him. In other words, listing out the concepts/skills, or even your learning targets while she was gone, and then giving a very brief explanation of how kids met that goal. It would focus the discussion (on his end) around something more meaningful (worksheets are/should be a mean to an end, in the end) and allow him to see exactly how she'll be able to catch up.
     
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  29. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I had three of those kids last year. And yeah, looking at nearly two months of missed school. I'm just glad I don't do state testing at my level. From what I understand, two of them did not return to our school this year, admitting that getting them to our school was too hard (we don't do transportation.)
     
  30. otterpop

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    I have done fewer worksheets this year as well. Students still do the same work, but often I project the worksheet and have them copy it into their notebook.
     
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