If You Give a Child a Packet…Or Sometimes a Worksheet.
Packets come in all shapes, sizes, and subjects.
I have used packets on occasion, less and less with more and more years of teaching..
Packets can be cute, fun, and/or adorable, but it doesn’t disguise its intent. Time spent on, usually, meaningless work, busy work.
Packets of math create students who are either bored out of their mind , work through, numb, or those who struggle to the point of tears.Some have dashes on the bottom, where you solve the puzzle if you solve the problem. Pssst…between you and me, the puzzle can be solved without doing the math. Some have row upon row of the same types of problems written horizontally, and then to change it up, (gasp) vertically!
Packets for reading, or Book Study, as they are sometime referred to, can kill the joy of reading. I’ve used them, I know. Assigned Vocabulary words (What if they already know these words, or what if they have no clue?) Mundane questions that ask for explicit answers, and maybe one that might require critical thinking. Read a few chapters, Define the vocabulary words. Answer the questions. Read a few chapters, Define the Vocabulary words. Answer the questions. Arrrgh! Kill the story.
What if they just want to read? But you need to know they are actually reading, I get it.
Homework packets. Uggh! Homework given out on Monday, collected on Friday. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around this one. The “bright” kids are finished on Monday evening, the struggling students miss Recess so they can finish something they couldn’t do in an entire week. So many things wrong here.
Summer/Spring/Winter Break packets. How much paper is wasted sending these home. Cmon, let’s be honest, which kids end up completing the summer packets? Try something different.
Ditch the packets. Spice up the worksheets or don’t use it at all. Require thinking. Make the worksheets interactive. Integrate technology.
If you give a child a packet…
Originally published on Diary of a Public School Teacher.