a little update

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I was thinking this weekend that some of my faithful followers (thank you!) out there might be wanting an update on the dilemma I am having surrounding the dreaded worksheet.  This is a topic I have vented/complained/bitched (sorry for the vulgarity) about before and it is something I am being forced to do in my classroom this year.

Here’s how it works out for me:

One worksheet I send home each week pertains to the Letter of the Week (something I also hate doing because it never seems to really teach the kids the letters – in my experience).  Since I simply refuse to do any tracing in my class I had to go another route.  I found this paper to go with every letter of the alphabet.  I  modify it by using white out on the bottom to get rid of the boxes and just leave a line.  There is no way my 3/4 year olds can write small enough to fit in those little boxes – and I wouldn’t expect them to!  Sometimes I type new directions to say something like put a square around the letter or highlight it a certain color.  I try to switch it up – keep it interesting.

The second page I send home each week is a blank piece of paper that I put 4 black lines on.  I made the lines with my word processing program so I know they are straight.  On the first line I write the child’s name in red sharpie and on the lines below I have each child try to write their name (they basically try to copy what I wrote for them at the top).  I make sure to leave a nice wide space between each line so the children who write big have plenty of room.  The lines are basically there so the children don’t write random letters all over the page or write their name vertically.  It seems to be working so far.  Right now we are only working on our first names – when I see a child has mastered their first name, we will move on to their last name.

The last page is usually some sort of science or math paper.  This last week it was recording the length of ocean animals.  Next week I think maybe a sink/float recording sheet.  At other times it might be sorting or counting or something like that – whatever I manage to find free online (usually through teacher websites) that fit our theme or look appropriate for a preschool aged child.

At parents night I told my parents to only expect 2 – maybe 3 – papers a week.  That’s all we feel are necessary as we don’t want to overload the child with paperwork.  Also we want all the part time children to complete one paper so we can all move on to the next together.  I wanted to tell them I was being forced to do worksheets and that I was sorry for offering materials to their children that were not developmentally appropriate – but I felt that would be out of line.

I do feel guilty though – and I just can’t seem to get over it.  Everytime I sit a child down to do a worksheet with them I think, “They could be doing something way more productive right now!”  But, we do what we must.  If anyone has any good resources for paperwork (free) post a link on a comment – I’ll be glad to give it a look!

Hopefully my parents are happy this year and don’t complain a lot like my parents last year.  I’ll keep you posted if any worksheet drama pops up in the future!  🙂

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About deepbluetide

I am a pre-kindergarten teacher at a private christian school. I work mornings with 4 year olds (most of whom enter my class in July still being 3 - they're babies!) and then in the afternoon work "daycare" - which is basically my own class combined with 5 year old children. One things for sure - it's never dull! I had no idea growing up I would be teaching pre-k today! It took me totally off guard - but in the end I wouldn't change a thing! I have worked with children whose age range is 6 weeks through 12 years. In the end I have decided that my current age group is my favorite! And in case you were wondering - all names mentioned are changed to protect the identities of those involved. Enjoy!

8 responses »

  1. you are right, this is just what some parents need.

    even though there isn’t anyone telling me to do it, i feel the pressure from parents.

    ugh.

    i really like the version of worksheet you found, though.

    oh, take care!

  2. I also do the name writing homework page. I designed a 1inch square (maybe a little bigger) graph paper. I write the child’s name by writing 1 letter in each of the squares. This shows the child that each letter has its own space and is followed by the next one. I don’t expect them to write it on any line. I just want it in the square. In the beginning I write their name (below the first one) with a highlighter. I’ll change the colors. This helps them kinda-sorta trace, gives them an idea. And it also helps the parents understand how we want the letters written. This has worked for me. You can Google to find the right size graph paper for you to use.

    • i don’t expect my kids to write on the line – just between the lines. but i like the way you teach your children how each letter has its own space. some of my kids write their letters almost on top of each other and i have to remind them to give the letters a little room!

  3. You might like to use “RAN” for your homework, I heard about it from Heidi @ HeidiSongs. It stands for Rapid Automatic Naming and it uses each student’s name but you can use other words and letters too. You can read about it and see a picture here: http://heidisongs.blogspot.com/2008/10/whats-working-in-my-classroom-this-year.html It won’t make any sense if I try to describe it in words. It’s worksheet like enough that the parents might like it but it also serves a purpose. If they name the letter correctly they can color the box or something.

  4. Hopefully there won’t be anymore worksheet drama for you. I think you’ve found a solution as close to middle ground as you could get. Not too much to overwhelm the children, but enough to fulfill requirements. Hang in there!

  5. I found a poem for each letter of the alphabet from a A-Z site (they have 5) and downloaded for free during teacher appreciation week a few years ago. It’s long but the poems are funny, the kids love to listen to them. I give the children highlight markers to mark the letter we are focusing on. It takes a few min. and they love it.

    You could also rainbow write w/ them. Write their name ( or any word/letter) w/ a highlight marker and let them use crayons to trace over what you wrote. They can trace it more than once w/ different colors. It’s pretty and fun.

  6. Just reading some older posts since I’ve been lazy lately…I despise worksheets,but one exception I make is a few that I have found thru the program “Handwriting without tears”. Don’t freak- it is actually way more developmentally appropriate than I first thought and while I don’t do all the program faithfully, I do use bits and pieces. They have kids write their names in a box to difine the space (no lines) and they use a smiley face at the upper left corner to teach the kids where to start their name. Some of their stuff is a little too “worksheety” for my taste so i just ignore it. But I have had some nice results. Oh and a trick an OT taught me was to use a yellow highlighter to write their names if they are needing to “trace” it. It gives them a wider line (more success) and you can see what they write no matter what they use (pencil, crayon, etc)

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