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! 🙂