Meaningful Work from Worksheets

I am not against worksheets, really I am not.  They have their time and place in the hallways of learning.  However, I really don't think *most* worksheets have a lot of think power to them.  Filling in the blank is rather easy at times and I find myself wanting more with each worksheet assignment given.

So what have I done to combat this?  Well, I try to bump it up!  When I see a worksheet in a teacher book that I think might go with my lesson, I see how I can enhance it to make the kids think just a bit more.

For this lesson, which had the students ordering decimals to the thousandths, I had them cut out the little gymnasts after they ordered them, and then write a paragraph explaining HOW and WHY the child chose to order the gymnasts the way she did.  She had to use math vocabulary and actually think about the processes she was using.

This final product came from a  fact and opinion sheet that was a regular "choose the fact, choose the opinion" piece.  I wanted the kids to think about it a bit more, so I had them create a Bridge Map for facts and one for opinions.  The relating factor was "is an opinion because" or "is a fact because".  They then had to describe WHY it was a fact or opinion.  Not just identify it.

I find that using little tricks like these really help my students understand the reasoning behind what they do....instead of just filling in a worksheet.


  1. I do a similar thing with long division. I give them a problem that I solve incorrectly. They have to tell what I did that was wrong and what would make it the right answer. Makes them think through the whole process in a different way.

  2. I notice that when you grade work, you have sticker with 4, 3, 2, 1 on it. Can you share more about that? My district is moving to standards based grading (using 4, 3, 2, 1)on report cards and I think it would be more helpful to see similar grading on assignments.

    Blackboard and Beyond

  3. What a clever idea - not reinventing the wheel but using the resources you have and providing a deeper and more meaningful activity for students!

    Thanks :)


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