Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Ramble

Ever since I started doing Worksheet-Free Wednesday, it's really made take a step back as an educator and evaluate myself. I think I get so caught up in needing to see them apply their skills on paper, not really for me, but to have something to show their parents. It's sad because I know how much more engaged children are during hands-on activities that I have no reason to not being doing more. Now I will say this, I really don't think I hand out lots of worksheets. Every day when the kids get to school we have about 10 minutes to kill before we go to breakfast. I usually do have a simple, no instruction necessary, paper that I have for them, usually from Deanna Jump's monthly pintables. We do our Building Skills (Deanna Jump's) worksheet as a class during calendar time, this is meaningful, this is not busy work. We do our writing that goes with our stories and we do our phonics practice. Lastly, our Math Workshop has one worksheet a day. So I'm probably sending home a total of 3-4 completed worksheets a day, excluding Wednesdays. That's not too bad. But I've most certainly realized that if it's not  a necessary worksheet I don't even bother with it. Why? For many reasons: 1. I try to save paper and ink, yes our school pays for it but I'm not going to waste paper/ink on busy work. Which leads me to reason 2. I don't believe in busy work. My students are in my room to learn. I  want to give them quality time in the classroom and not burn them out or just keep them busy with something that is just not important to waste our time with. I'm already pressed for time as it is. I know some teachers give busy work so the kids don't run a muck and I get that, believe-you-me. But there are other ways to "keep them busy". Anytime we have downtime, I go straight to GoNoodle. If you don't know what that is, it's a website designed with TONS of brain breaks for all grades. We do yoga, we dance, we sing, we do breathing exercises, we act silly and they love it! It's perfect for transitioning. For instance, if we finished our phonics lesson and I'm ready to get guided reading/literacy stations going, I put on a GoNoodle so I can get their centers ready! The kids are engaged, they aren't needing me for anything, and I can get them ready for the next thing! It never hurts to burn a littler energy for a couple of minutes either. Another thing to do, which is so simple, is grab a story to read! Better yet, tell them to get their library book out or go grab a book. Reason 3. on Tuesdays when I prep for Worksheet-Free Wednesday, it's so stress-free. No rushing to the copier and flipping through all of my binders to find what I need. I basically just write the plans on the board for the kids to see and then I'm home-free.

I guess this post was mainly me just rambling but I got excited about this today because I noticed Blog Hoppin' is having a book study, and I can't wait to start it! We will be reading Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites. I cannot wait.. I'm even more excited about making changes to my classroom because I get to visit the Ron Clark Academy this summer! And RCA sounds pretty worksheet-free and vey hands-on from all the reviews lately :)

My weekend plans will be to cozy up with a couple of good reads, and work on TPT!
Happy Saturday, y'all! Stay warm!!!!

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