Tuesday, January 6, 2009

operation worksheet: day one

it was a success. i was able to teach my good class normally, and just use a few worksheet problems with to do as a class together.

but for my other 3 classes, it worked pretty well. i have a really smart but usually rowdy class, and they loved having problems in front of them to work from. i ended up doing close to 2 lessons in one with them, since they were so well behaved and into the work. on one particularly challenging problem, you could hear a pin drop in the room; they were all so intensely calculating!

my moderately bad class also did ok with the the worksheets. the worst offender was asleep today, so i didn't have the behavioral problems as usual. the rest of them really understood the work confidently. they did so well, some of them surmised that the regent's was going to be a piece of cake and they could take it in january already.

and the ctt class was still loud, but man do they love worksheets. they were their usual rude and obnoxious selves, but toned down. about 2/3 of the class was working and i'd say at least half of them understand it well. the rest just need more practice.

so it seems that the less effort i put in, the better they perform. or maybe it's just a correlation; the less effort i put in, the less stressed i get, and therefore i handle my classroom better? who knows. but i will be making up another worksheet for tomorrow!


Mari said...

I'm looking into my planning for next school year, and I'm very interested into differentiation. Can you elaborate a little more on your worksheet idea? It seemed to work!

Adelaide said...


i wouldn't exactly call it differentiation. but throughout the year i learned little strategies to put into my toolbox, worksheets being one of them.

there are different ways of using worksheets. sometimes i would make an entire lesson of doing problems and sharing. for example i would create a tiered worksheet with increasingly difficult problems, each requiring a new skill. i would start by teaching them one small skill so they could complete the first problem set. then we would scaffold and build on previous skills every 10-15 minutes. this also allows more advanced students to try to figure out the problems before you open the gate for them. when i did a worksheet lesson like this, i wanted students working individually and really took the time out to check up on each one.

another way to utilize worksheets is just by giving your mini lesson and then having a mixed regent's worksheet that you give out to groups. (you can also turn this into a competition to see which group can score the most points.)

i began teaching never wanting to use worksheets. i thought they were a thing of the past and was just another method of drilling the students. but i found that they're quite necessary. while i love to have creative lessons and projects, and sometimes discovery based lessons, when the students had concrete problems to work on that they could read and follow along with, they seemed to be much better behaved, as well as more engaged in the class.

however, i did notice that for many students their retention of the material was much worse when the learning was limited to worksheets. so again, it's just a tool to be used in conjunction with other methods; it's not a be all and end all management strategy.