Welcome back to What Worked Well Wednesday! If you missed last week, this is where Kinder Tribe teachers are posting about things that worked well in their classrooms. You can read last week's tips here.
This week, I want to share more of a strategy than an organizational tip. Last spring, The Primary Chalkboard started No Worksheet Wednesday which was a way to encourage teachers to step away from the worksheets for a day and rethink how we handle our time and lessons. I linked up with her for her month long challenge (you can read about it here) and it was one of the best things I did last year.
Now, we do need worksheets every now and then. Sometimes we need a hard copy of what they can do for record keeping purposes. But one day a week, take a step away from the worksheets and get down and dirty with your learning. Now, interactive notebooks, writing paper, and recording sheets are not worksheets. I'm not saying going paper free (although that would be cool and if you can, go for it!), just think about how students can represent their learning in a different way.
So…where to start? For morning work, I threw butcher paper down on the tables. The kids worked with a partner to develop a story problem, illustrated the problem, and wrote the number sentence to go with it. It was perfect because each kid used numbers they were comfortable working with. This guy added 50 and 50, while others added smaller numbers.
They were allowed to draw whatever with their math stories as long as it was school appropriate and actually went with the story.
For math, we made bracelets to use as manipulatives when we added and subtracted...
…we used shaving cream to show our work...
…and we played lots of math games.
"Telling time is EASY, Ms. Coe!"
In science, we were studying soil layers. Instead of coloring in the layers on a worksheet, we made layers in our cups. We discussed the different layers of soil, what we might see in each one, and how our snack foods represent each layer.
We also worked on living and nonliving things that month. Instead of doing a cut and paste sorting activity, we went outside and took pictures of things that were living (It's Alive!) and nonliving (Nope). While they were at specials, I put the pictures together in a power point and we reviewed our findings when we got back. (I think we watched that slide show about five times that week.)
Animal coverings and characteristics were also in our bundle then. Instead of using the cut and paste sorting pages from the year before, the kids broke up into groups, picked an animal, and researched all about it. Then, they made poster boards all about their animal and presented it to the class.
Look at these guys putting their heads together! They worked hard on this one.
I worried about them presenting and teaching the rest of the class about their animals, but they did SO GOOD! I gave them a list of 4 things they needed to be able to tell the class about their animal and they nailed it. They loved it so much, they begged to do more!
So, I challenge you, one day a week, for at least a month if not the whole school year, to go worksheet free. It will change you! We plan as a team and not everyone was on board with this. When I went home and finalized my plans, I had to stop and think about how I could adapt our grade level plans to be worksheet free. You will have to think about things differently, but the benefits are amazing.
If you go worksheet free, please let me know! I'd love to hear about what you did!
Now stop by Kinder Tribe and see what worked well for some more amazing teachers!