Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why go worksheet free?

Why Not??

Here are my top 5 reasons to participate in #NoWorksheetWeek April 7 - 11, 2014.

1.  Any assignment where students are looking for the "right" answer kills creativity and limits student thinking. Worksheets are the worst for this.  Don't believe me? Take a look at this video shared by Sir Ken Robinson at the ASCD Conference 2014.


2.    Your students will love you.  I asked a class full of 4th graders what they thought of a week without worksheets, the cheers were deafening.  Seriously, students are beyond bored with worksheets.  I also asked the students what things could they do instead that would help them learn.  They had so many ideas! Here are a few:  Team math problem solving on the whiteboard, writing stories, learning games, discussions and making videos. If you are not sure what to do instead of worksheets, ASK YOUR STUDENTS, they are full of really cool ideas.

3.  Today's students are different than the students we were when we were in school. (Wait a minute, I hated worksheets too.)  Reading guides, note organizers, do they really get the results we are after?  I have two children who are seniors in high school and almost every day they tell me they are working on a "packet" ugh! Try visual note taking to see what students are really thinking. Explore my Thinglink with ideas for ditching the worksheets in ELA.

4.  Take a chance.  Taking on a challenge like #NoWorksheetWeek pushes your thinking and moves your pedagogy forward.  To change how we teach to meet the needs of today's students we have to DO things differently. That means being challenged, uncomfortable and out of our safety zone.  Start with what you can manage, give up worksheets in a period, a subject or a day of the week.  Small steps help you reach big goals.  To collaborate with other teachers about #NoWorksheets join our Google+ Community - No Worksheets

5.  Go paperless...or at least paper light.  With all of the money you save on copies think of the cool gadgets, field trips, supplies, you can buy for your classroom!  Going worksheet free is not just good for your class, it's good for the environment. Take a look at these ideas from Steve Katz - The Paperless Classroom

Thank you to +Matthew Weld for the great idea for this teacher challenge and +Dan Gibson for your awesome blogpost and remix. We are now a movement!

Next week I will post a form that you can use to submit daily reflections during #NoWorksheetWeek and earn badges for participation!

Update: 3-24-14 
Be sure to read +Matthew Weld's excellent post: Autopsy of a Worksheet