What did cutesy art projects and worksheets ever do to you?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Em_Catz, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Dec 12, 2012

    So our P sent out a rather long, somewhat nasty e-mail yesterday in which she said she's tired of all the "cutesy" art projects (she didn't give a clear example, so I can only go by what's in our hall. it isn't stuff like the kids coloring in Santa Claus, but things like: "draw and write about how your family celebrates _______ holiday" or when we learned about frogs, we painted their life cycles onto plates and labelled them.) in the primary wing and that she would hate to ban crayons from the lower grades like she's done with the upper ones :eek:


    She went on to say she doesn't want to see anymore worksheets up either. (You all, especially Sarge, may remember past posts I've written about her strange vendetta against worksheets). According to her, "worksheets are AWFUL, a waste of time. I wish I could burn every one of them.

    *end rant*

    So...I'm curious. What sorts of stuff do YOU put up on the walls of your school, especially those of you in the lower grades.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Truthfully I don't see worksheets on display in my building. I do see writing with illustrations. I see technology integrated projects. I see 'art' integrated into the curriculum (your paper plate life cycles would fit here). Math glyphs and graphing...
     
  4. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Can you give an example and around what grade level? Maybe I can do something similar with my kids.

    Yeah I thought so too...that's the fun of working with an irrational P...you never know exactly what she DOES want, just what she doesn't
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Ok...technology...we have Kidspiration software...lots of graphic organizers for kids to demonstrate and illustrate understanding of curriculum. You could also use Kidpix or other 'paint' software to illustrate and add writing. We also se Printshop software. Try Wordle or Tagxedo (free online) for word cloud kinds of projects.
     
  6. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Paper plate life cycles - details please!

    Back on topic:
    Ummm, I have some worksheets posted, along with cut & pastes, tests with good grades, etc. My P made a statement about kids not coloring this year (because the 4th & 5th test scores last year were abysmal). Coloring is, in fact, part of the first grade curriculum (we obviously don't do coloring pages) - we incorporate it via color by sum/difference fact pages (um, I don't know how to have written proof of math fact knowledge without drill sheets, at least at this age), story illustrations, etc. The other day, I even found a "color by sight word" page for my lowest kiddos.

    I dunno. I'm currently in the middle of reading Readicide, which basically tells how we're killing kids love of reading (and learning) by taking all the fun out of it and drilling them to death!
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I know how this will come off, ;) but that's my pet peeve too. I do believe in authentic work from the kiddos-art can be a great tool to promote creativity, but that doesn't usually come from coloring worksheets. My hall bulletin board, the kids painted Christmas trees with forks and wrote from the perspective of an ornament.
     
  8. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    How does she feel about textbooks? They are filled with worksheets except with a binding. They would make a better fire.

    If she wants staff to view her as a viable instructional leader she should demonstrate several lessons across grade levels in which whatever method she advocates far outweighs both in learning and workload the use of worksheets.
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I wouldn't display a worksheet. My art is always process focused and related to curricular outcomes. Right now I have students' writing on one bulletin board, patterned ornaments on another one and painted snowmen on display in the hall.
     
  10. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    i'm in the upper elementary, but we still try to put out creative/art projects in the hallway. Right now we are all required to have our 1st grading period writing assignment out there.
    I don't have a problem with worksheets. With all we have to do in a day, I just can't see whipping up art or technology projects (especially without computers in our rooms) every day to take the place of worksheets. Don't get me wrong, I don't over use worksheets, but I do use them.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My P is anti both of those things as well. Teachers don't use worksheets because they are slammed on walkthroughs if they do. We use mini white boards for pretty much everything, or have students answer questions/do problems on notebook paper. We aren't allowed to do art because it "wastes instructional time" and "kids only 'like' it because it's easy/not real work" (in response to a teacher saying that integrating arts kept kids engaged). In my hallway I have an art project up that my kids did in art class. The art teacher gave them to me and asked if I wanted to display them...so I have artwork out there, but it was done in the "appropriate" class. On the wall right now the only student work I have up is some descriptive paragraphs about winter. The paper had a little snowman in the corner. I did let kids who finished early color it, but I could have lived without doing that and just put the writing up. Most of my wall space has anchor charts, vocab, center directions, pbis charts for each student, etc. Even if we did do worksheets, I wouldn't consider those worthy of hanging on the wall.
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I'm not a fan of all the worksheets and cutesy projects that we do in K. However, many of them I can tie into the curriculum (and these are the ones I choose to do). I really only use worksheets when the students first come into class or for journal time (my students need the support that I can offer by writing a partial sentence and copying).

    Usually I have curriculum art projects on my bulletin board.
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Your principal needs to calm the heck down.

    The only thing I don't like is art projects that are really just assembling pieces of construction paper that an assistant has already cut. I've seen this a few times. There is no creativity there.

    But drawing, coloring, art, and related tasks and projects can be so valuable. Art in general is meaningul to me, and at one point I considered teaching art, so it's frustrating when schools develop and foster this negative attitude about it.

    And as a student, I loved worksheets. I loved the sense of organization they gave me. That sounds strange, but that's the only way I can explain it. Having to constantly work from the SmartBoard or on wipe-off boards would have bothered me. It was much easier for me to focus with the information right if front of me, all visually pleasing and organized.

    Everything in moderation. Sheesh!
     
  14. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    We had a reading specialist who wanted to ban crayons from our classrooms. We showed her where our curriculum required so many art minutes, and art class was covering only half of that.
    The crayons weren't banned.

    It wasn't too long before she retired. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  15. PinkCupcake

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    What kind of person even considers a ban on crayons? What's wrong with humanity? Ugh!
     
  16. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    A. War. On. Crayons. Really?

    This makes me sad. As others have posted, art is a meaningful skill, whether you create something with a real crayon or the crayon tool in Pixie/Wixie/KidPix/Paint/etc. As a computer teacher, I LOVE technology, but it can't replace everything.
     
  17. DrivingPigeon

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    Some teachers at my school are on a big "no art project" kick, because they are a "waste of time" and students "get nothing out of them." I'm worried, because these are the same teachers that the principal favors.

    Here is what is hanging up in my hallway right now:
    -Gingerbread man glyphs
    -A project that looks like students holding cookie sheets, which contains gingerbread men in arrays. We talked about "equal groups" and they wrote how many rows of cookies, how many in each row, and how many total.
    -And, just for fun, I used some red and green peppermint candy cutouts, taped on a picture of each students' face, and wrote "Aren't we sweet?!"

    My hallway is cute. I like it that way. I do maybe one art project (always related to a standard) per month. Every time I do them, I think about how I would like to do more. Not only do they LOVE projects, they are such a great way to teach following directions, which is also in the standards.

    When I need to defend my art projects, I mention 2 of the best teachers I have ever worked with. They are both 1st-grade teachers at my previous school. Their hallway walls are completely covered with projects and artwork. Yet, their students are very hard-working, they have fun, and their test scores are some of the best in the district.
     
  18. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Oh, and worksheets? I don't do many, but they definitely aren't all bad! My students work through a grammar sheet every day during snack. We also have math workbooks that go with our curriculum, and I find the exercises very valuable. I also have a lot of fun writing stuff for students to choose from during work on writing (cartoon story starters, comic strips, etc.).
     
  19. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    The problem with banning worksheets is that for some things you need written proof. With little children, copying problems off the board is not reliable and it wastes so much instruction time if they have to copy maths questions, or generate their own. That was my last principal's instruction: all maths questions had to be generated by the students and have a real-world application. We wasted so much time getting kids to roll dice to make subtractions or use catalogues etc. There is a place for all that, but sometimes drilling maths practice has a place too. Everything in moderation.
     
  20. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    :yeahthat:
     
  21. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    I can't even fathom a ban on crayons. More and more kids don't even have crayons at home!

    What about trying to plan a cross-curricular unit with the art teacher?

    And to all of you advocating for arts integration - :hugs:
     
  22. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Isn't a standardized test a worksheet?
     
  23. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Like with everything, I think the devil is in the details. I've seen many pointless art projects, and many art projects that are relevant. One huge problem with coloring or art projects is that they often take a while, and the amount of practice opportunities per minute isn't as high. So, it may not be as efficient. If you have a child who is struggling with a particular concept, you need repetitions, which may be lost with a more labor-intensive art project. Not to say they're all bad, but they're easy to misuse.

    With worksheets, again - how they're used. There are so many ways in which worksheets are misused that they've developed a bad reputation because of it.

    I think the big question is really thinking about the underlying value of everything you do. Personally, with many of the lower-income schools I've worked in, I think it's crucial to audit every activity for efficiency and efficacy - as teachers, before admin and district steps in to take a look. If the teaching force were better about being on point, I don't think you'd see those critiques of time usage related to art projects and worksheets.
     
  24. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    EXACTLY! I understand it's bad to just shove piles and piles of worksheets at children, but if there is a worksheet here and there that is appicable to the skill the kids are doing, I don't think it will destroy education as we know it. Also, what about my students who have an IEP that requires I scribe (write) for them? What should I do in those cases?

    Should I copy the work off the board in 8 student journals, then have them fill in the applicable information? Hmm, that would take forever.

    WAIT! I have an idea! What if I created a template where all the directions, boxes, graphic organizers and questions/problems were typed and the kids just had to fill in the information? YES! A sheet of paper for the students to put their work. But wait, that's too long of a title. It'd never catch on. Maybe I can shorten it...how about WORKSHEET? SHHH!!! Nobody steal my idea~ :p

    :yeahthat:
     
  25. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Yes, all the fun is being taken out. I included a "worksheet" on math facts and color by sum/difference in my math centers this week. They practiced their math facts, and had to follow instructions. They also really loved it. Boy I thought it was a win-win situation.
     
  26. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    The OP's P would be disgusted with me. My classroom is a crayola crayon theme...:p
     
  27. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    My very diverse GED students all have one thing in common: they never drilled math in school and now can't do simple problems without laboriously figuring out math facts that should have been automatic by 3rd grade. It's not that they can't, they just never did, so that's where we have to start.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I agree some were never drilled in the skill of facts. But sometimes I think there is more to it.

    The brain of an adult is often very different than that of a 3rd grader in terms of memory capacity. Those with weak memory as a 3rd grader will function like that of a K in the areas of memorization and other skills. While sufficient instruction may have been give for those with average and typically above average capacity, for those with deficit areas the instruciton is lacking. So, while the first group may need 5 repititions; the second group needs 30. So, many may have had opportunities to be drilled, they may not have been capable of doing so with the amount that was done at the time. With several years of brain development their capacity to do different tasks change and something that was not possible in 3rd is now possible.

    Unfortunately, with many tasks, once the grade passes where instruction was given, the student then either has to figure it out on their own or keep getting passed by.
     
  29. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    These are the P's that forget that there are many different ways to teach, and many ways to reach students. I do lots of innovative things with students, but you better believe that I sometimes use worksheets and art projects.

    I think that whatever you do, you will always have a chance of this P blowing his top. I'd try to find things that this P values and that you value as well. Maybe these would make good activities to display.
     
  30. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Excellent point! :lol::thumb:
     
  31. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    So if you can't do artsy projects, if she bans crayons, and you can't do worksheet...what are you supposed to do????

    ANYWAY...

    I do worksheets (not a ton) but if they support my lesson or are good for review I'll use them. I don't display them, that's what writing and those "artsy" projects are for. In the younger grades these types of projects are appropriate. As long as it can be linked to the curriculum, it shouldn't be a problem.

    I guess I'd be asking her what exactly she wants to see.
     
  32. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    I just want to say that the wording of this thread title makes me smile every time I see it. :love:
     
  33. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    That's a good point. Maybe I will do my cutesey (but effective) projects and just not display them in the hall. If she wants to see lots of black and white writing and computations then I'll give her plenty of that in the hallway.

    Maybe I can send an annoymous email asking. Our school has a distinct culture of fear...if the P says the sky is Navy Blue with a Pink Sun you better darn well accept that and not question, least you be added to the "sh*t list" and professionally bullied.

    :lol: I'm glad you like it. That's a little of the creativity I'm forced to suppress in the classroom coming out I guess.
     
  34. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Reading these posts makes me sad. I do TONS of art - especially this year. I have a really challenging group of students, but I can keep them all engaged with an art project. It's a magical time in my classroom and something I do at least weekly.
     

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