It seems as if worksheets are getting a bad rap in our 21st century classrooms. They are sometimes our go-to resources if we are in a pinch or our students just need that extra practice. However, they do not need to be dull and boring! Transform almost any worksheet by using one of the 5 strategies below.
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1. Whiteboard Race
About: Students face off in teams to correctly complete the most number of problems!
Prep: Choose appropriate problems based on what skills you’d like to review. Make sure to have an answer key! You will need to split the room up into 2 groups.
Implementation: Students create a line in their groups behind the whiteboard. Next, the teacher says a problem out loud. The first person is the ONLY person who writes and solves the problem on the whiteboard. The second person in line can ONLY talk out and help the first person. Finally, once the problem is complete, the pair raise their hands for the teacher to judge. If correct, they get a point. If incorrect, they continue to work on the problem, but teams now take turns giving the answer.
– I usually have teams who win the round put a tally mark on the board above their workspace.
– This game works best with skill-and-drill type questions. Students should write the problem on the board as you are giving it. Plus, it will help move the activity along!
2. Gallery Walk
About: Students walk around the room in pairs (3 to a group is fine) to complete problems. This is a great way to review for a test or to break up the classroom routine!
Prep: Cut up each problem from a worksheet of choice. Hang them around the room, numbering them in order with a sticky note (I usually have 12 problems). Decide how to split the class into pairs. Lastly, make sure to have a duplicate worksheet with corresponding numbers and answers!
Implementation: You can get fancy and print out a record sheet. However, I usually have students tear out a piece of notebook paper and section it off according to the number of problems around the room. For example, if there are 12 problems, I will have students draw and number 6 boxes on one side and 6 on the other. In doing this, it creates an organized space for students to write and complete their problems. Next, split the class into 12 groups and have them rotate around the room every 3-5 minutes (based on difficulty of the problems). Lastly, after all student have gone through rotation, have them sit back down to review the answers.
– Adjust time based on how long you think students need to complete them.
– For problems that take longer, I will post 6 problems twice around the room. This way students are still in pairs but will only complete 6 problems.
3. Speed Mathing
About: A spin off of speed dating, students work in pairs to complete problems.
Prep: Organize desks in such a way that you have pairs of desks facing each other. For example, you could have an inner and outer circle around the room. One group will be the “A” group and one will be the “B” group. Hand out a worksheet of choice to your students.
Implementation: Students have 2 minutes to complete ONE problem on their worksheet. When the timer goes off, group A moves one seat over and another problem is completed. Review the answers after all problems have been completed.
– Adjust time as necessary depending on the difficulty of the problem.
– You may choose to switch which group moves desk to desk half way through.
About: Students work as a group to complete problems.
Prep: Choose a worksheet of choice and print out 4-5 copies. Then, have students complete problems on a separate piece of paper or place them in these wonderful dry erase pockets to be completed with a dry erase marker!
Implementation: Add them into your station rotation. Have students work in pairs or groups.
5. Remediation Work
About: The title says “boring” but this can be a great strategy to challenge your solo workers in small groups. Choose a skill that students are struggling with and find the appropriate worksheet.
Prep: First, you will need to cut up the worksheet and separate problems by skill level. Then, using colored pencil or crayon, number them according to how many problems there are in each skill level. For example, if I had 5 easy, 5 medium and 5 hard, I would write the numbers 1-5 in red on the easy, 6-10 in orange on the medium, and 11-15 in green on the hard.
Implementation: In a small group, pass out a red card to each student to complete. They must get 3 correct in that skill level to move on to the next skill level (orange). If they get one incorrect, help work through where they are struggling and give them another in that skill level.
Notes: I usually make the colors according to the rainbow so I remember the order! Also, if necessary, pull a worksheet from a past unit or grade that helps students with prerequisite skills! I’ve had as many as 30 “cards” to pass out for one skill.
Tell me below other ways you’ve transformed a worksheet in the classroom!