Teaching without using worksheets

Discussion in 'General Education' started by tanyaboo, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. tanyaboo

    tanyaboo Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I could use some ideas for teaching high school science without using worksheets. I just had my first evaluation and one of the principal's comments was that I gave a worksheet as homework (he said he did the same thing when he taught science and couldn't really tell me what else to give them). I believe that worksheets can be useful because they give the students examples of the types of questions they will be asked on the test. I don't use them all of the time, but on the day that he came in I did give them one. He and I both have the same question--If you are not supposed to use worksheets anymore, then what DO you give them?
     
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  3. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Nov 9, 2011

    Perhaps just use the questions from the textbook? What is the reason for moving away from worksheets? Is it the format, or are you simply trying to save paper? The anwser will be helpful in determining what to do next.
     
  4. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Nov 9, 2011

    There is nothing wrong with worksheets. This kind of stuff drives me nuts. They want you to more interactive projects and collaborative assignments with the class. That doesn't mean that a worksheet isn't appropriate sometimes. And sometimes the worksheets ARE collaborative assignments. I actually got scolded for calling something a worksheet during an evaluation - he said I should call it an assignment. :dizzy: And the assignment actually had students doing an analysis of a reading, part of it with a partner, with discussion, pair shares, etc. But he couldn't see past the fact that it was a "worksheet" because the assignment was printed out and handed to them.

    This gets me with lecturing and teaching led instruction. I saw on a form one time where a supervisor wrote that the teacher wasn't using any "strategies" - they were just lecturing. Um, lecturing IS a strategy, and it totally has it's place.

    As long as your only teaching styles aren't to stand up and lecture kids or pass out worksheets and sit at your desk, I think it is ridiculous that these have become taboo words.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I agree with Silverspoon. I had this prof. in college who would go on and on about the evils of worksheets and the people who use them. Yes, if you sit at your desk all day and hand the kids worksheets to simply turn in, that's not a good idea. However, worksheets do have their place. I print a little math worksheet out every day for the end of one of my math lessons- it's just 12 add/sub. problems for the students to try since that's what they're working on. I have the students to do them, check them right there, and hand them back to fix any mistakes. The kids love the immediate feedback on how they're doing, and it lets me assess them as well (keep in mind I'm in sped, so we work on the same skill for a long time). Last week my computer was down and I hadn't been able to print a worksheet for them to do at the end of the lesson, and when I told them we didn't have any "paper practice" (they do whiteboards for the rest of the lesson) they were genuinely really disappointed! I got a bunch of "awwww" "why noooot" and "will we get one tomorrow".
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Nov 9, 2011

    Worksheets are not evil.

    It's just a piece of paper with printing on it. They can be useless or wonderful, depending on what you put on them.
     
  7. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Nov 9, 2011

    I guess it would depend on the particular subject and topic.
    One thing I notice is that students need lots of practice with certain skills before they become adequately proficient (like converting, stoichiometry, etc.) If all practice from the text has been exhausted, then extra practice exercises should be used.

    Our district has restricted the number of copies we are allowed this year. It does cause me to think first about the importance of copies I want to make (as well as learning how to print 2 pages onto the front of 1, so my copies count is halved).

    When time permits I will try and put more worksheets on googledocs templates for students. It does save paper, but: students dislike this, they forget to drop them into their science collections (turn them in), and grading takes twice as long since I only have one computer and my gradebook is also online.
     
  8. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Nov 9, 2011

    My students love math worksheets. I do a lot of hands on activities but within 20 minutes they are always asking me for their "paper math".
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 10, 2011

    Worksheets have no inherent value. How good or bad they are depends on what's on them.

    TEACHING through worksheets is probably not a great idea-- there's a reason there's a teacher in front of the room.

    But using worksheets as reinforcement of a topic you've taught?? I can't imagine why a worksheet is any worse than a page in the textbook. And I imagine the kids appreciate not having to lug another heavy textbook home at night.
     
  10. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Nov 10, 2011

    Can you set up a class wiki?

    Post a question and have the students answer it? For example, have them read an online article and respond?

    Give an essay question and have them respond for homework? Can you assign reading?

    Maybe the worksheet can be saved for in class, when documenting experiments or something.
     
  11. tanyaboo

    tanyaboo Rookie

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    Nov 11, 2011

    Thanks for all of the good advice!

    Our district is lucky--we haven't had restrictions on copying yet, so that's not the issue. I have assigned problems from the book in the past, but some of the questions are too "wordy." To me that's the same as doing a worksheet--they are answering questions and writing the answers on a sheet of paper.

    Also, it is difficult to do internet assignments. We are a rural school and many of the students do not have internet at home. The only computer lab we have at the school is the computer teacher's classroom, so I have to coordinate with her to make sure I can use it for class.

    I never sit at my desk during class. We have lecture/class discussions for the first half of class and they have some type of an assignment (not always a worksheet!) for the rest of class. By the middle of the period, even the kids that always pay attention are getting bored. If everybody has the same questions, then we go back over that concept as a class.

    All of the other teachers at my school use worksheets, so I don't know if this is something that will come up on their evaluations or not. Some other suggestions I've received are to (1) use foldables, (2) have them make and present their own powerpoints, (3) do away with worksheets all together and just take their notes up for a grade, and (4) jeopardy.

    I do not like #3. All that shows is that they can write down what I tell them--it doesn't mean that they understand it (we've all had classes like that, right?). I might try the other three, but it comes down to this--I have to give them some kind of paperwork for a grade. Also this class has to take an End-of-Instruction test in April. It's all multiple choice, so I have to get them used to answering multiple choice questions.
     

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