This is a scary time we are living in right now. Part of me as parent wants to tell the district that we have bigger issues to worry about than distance learning. The teacher part of me knows that students can miss a lot of information in a month or two without instruction. There is no way that we can replace good teachers with parents or packets to be as effective for our children, but parents can encourage home education during this time.
Are Worksheets the Answer?
You won’t find many teachers who support overloading kids with worksheets, but you also won’t find many who never use worksheets. Sending home packets with students can be a great way to keep students learning if we remember the importance of worksheets.
Just because it’s on paper doesn’t mean it’s bad. Well-designed worksheets help structure work for children. Printed resources can keep children on task, help them concentrate and hopefully help them work with very little support from adults. I know lots of teachers who had to scramble to put packets together for students this past week. Some felt guilty. Others felt like they did a service for their families. I have used packets in the classroom to organize student work. Many worksheets are designed to have students work together or provides a hands-on learning game. I sent home spring break packets, summer packets and homework packets regularly to my families to help their children.
Worksheets as ACTIVITIES
Some worksheets can easily be made into flashcards, tasks for physical or oral activities, puzzles, origami, art or games. One of my favorite kinds of printables are Write the Room activities. This is where you place vocabulary words, sentences or pictures around a room. Students must move around to locate each one. Then, they read and write it on a worksheet.
Many worksheets have checkoffs or keys for students to use to monitor their own learning progress. As a teacher, I can use the worksheets or activities to see how my students are learning. Parents could check to see if students did the work later instead of having to be there if they have to go to work. Worksheet packets for students who don’t have access to computers can be very valuable to their education. What parent doesn’t like to hang a worksheet or piece of art on the refrigerator to show they support their child’s efforts?
Teachers would all love to have hands-on “worksheet free” classrooms. The truth is sometimes you can’t replace old fashion paper and pencil activities. They are valuable when you need assessment tools that show previous knowledge, to view learning outcomes, to share information with other adults and to allow students to monitor the progress of their own learning.
Not all kids can learn from a packet or worksheet which is why the value of a good educator will always be needed for maximum growth. Packets can be powerful though. So, don’t judge others who find them successful.
Keep helping students to learn, use social distance and keep your hands clean! We are all in this together. Which reminds me of these FREE labels to put on your hand sanitizer bottles to help empower children.