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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Worksheets don't grow dendrites...but they are inevitable

Even before I heard of Marcia Tate's philosophy about staying away from worksheets all the time I was already doing my planning as such. BUT those worksheets are still necessary. For one reason if you have 20 plus students with multiple learning differences you still only have two hands and one body and you need to see that each student is getting the help he/she needs. That is why we have morning work. :/ If everyone had an aid or two in their classroom perhaps we could almost eliminate worksheets altogether. Alas, this is the REAL world. 

When I do use worksheets I try to make them practical. I do not mind using the workbooks that go along with the text book programs at all. But what about reinforcing what students already know. "Practice makes perfect." OK, I don't agree with that wholeheartedly, but practice does tend to make us better at any kind of task. Repetitiveness in key in learning, worksheets do help out if used correctly. Handing out worksheets to have a child to do just have something to do is something I disagree with. Worksheets should include content the students are learning or have learned already. Review and practice sheets help the student keep this in his/her mind better. I like to make time to go over the worksheets. If I have a document camera I use that and fill in the blanks for them and I discuss each problem. I like to have the students to answer and explain how they go their answer (especially in math). I can remember several worksheets I did when I was in elementary school. I know, I am a little on the weird side anyhow, but at least those trees weren't cut for nothing. 

Although many different teaching strategies should be used in a classroom, let's not burn all the worksheets yet.

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