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11/06/2013

Creative Ways to use Worksheets!

Worksheets can be amazing. They're already prepared for you, they do the important jobs of practice & assessment, and they require little to no prep work! What more can a teacher ask for? Well, we all know what more we could ask for: something that the kids also ENJOY. So, here I've compiled a few ways that you can use the same old worksheets, in more creative and unique ways your students will think are AMAZING!



{Buzzers}
Additional Materials: Varies
Basic Instructions: Have students make buzzers out of whatever materials are available. They can beat two markers together, make a noise-maker out of rolled up paper, stomp their feet, etc. Then, review your worksheet just like you would normally... except it's not normal! As you ask a question, students "buzz in" instead of raising their hands!
Even More Ways to Mix It Up: 
- Call the questions out of order so students don't know which question is coming next.
- Keep score; Give additional points for being able to thoroughly explain their reasoning
- Put students in teams



{Convince Me}
Additional Materials: None
Basic Instructions: Students complete a worksheet independently. This works best with multiple choice. As you review, designate a spot in the room for A, B, C, or D. After reading each question, students will stand in the section of the room that represents their answer. After every student is in place, each group discusses the reasons they chose this answer. Then they groups try to convince the other groups that THEIR answer is correct. After each group has had a chance to speak, give students a  chance to change places. After students have changed places, ask one or two students why they chose to change. Sometimes they realize they were correct to begin with!
Even More Ways to Mix It Up:  
- Give points or candy for correct answers
- Use toy microphones for the speakers


{Dice Game}
Additional Materials: A die, {Dice Game Poster}, Other materials vary depending on the challenges you choose.
Basic Instructions: Instead of handing out the worksheet, just have one to display on a SmartBoard or Elmo. You'll need something to cover up the rest of the worksheet so you only reveal one question at a time. Then split students into teams. Assign each number on the die a special challenge. You can use one of the posters in my {Dice Game Poster Pack Freebie} (below) or make up your own. Each team takes a turn rolling the dice and following the special challenge in order to complete the question! This game makes more sense once you check out the poster. In my pack, I have two versions: one that requires no supplies and one that requires several supplies.
Even More Ways to Mix It Up:  
- Allow students to study the worksheet, individually or in groups, for a certain amount of time before getting started.
- Assign the worksheet for homework the night before, then collect it before playing the game.
- Assign the same worksheet for a quiz or homework AFTER playing the game.
- Give additional points for being able to thoroughly explain their reasoning.




{Highlighter Heaven}
Additional Materials: Highlighters
Basic Instructions: Instead of answering the questions outright, students must go through the reading and highlight where they find the answer. Then they must label in the margins which number question this passage answers.
Even More Ways to Mix It Up: 
- Partner students and give them two separate worksheets. Have them work independently to highlight them. Then have the students trade. Time the students to see how quickly they can answer the questions with the reading already highlighted for them!


{Movin' & Music}
Additional Materials: Music & a Timer
Basic Instructions: Simply allow students to sit anywhere in the room. They can sit under desks, in special chairs, on the floors, stand against walls, etc. Then just play music and tell the kids they'll have to switch every minute. Play music & set a time. After a minute is up, the kids find a new place in the room to sit. This works best with worksheets that don't require a TON of concentration on one question for a long period of time. I would not recommend it for reading comprehension. The purpose is to just keep their attention, let them move, and get some oxygen flowing to those brains!
Even More Ways to Mix It Up:  
- My second graders LOVED this. We used it with fluency practice readers. Every time they switched, they started reading their passage over again, hoping to read more in a minute each time!
- You may need to set a time limit on how long they have to choose a new spot. 10-15 seconds should be PLENTY.





{Pass the Q}
Additional Materials: None
Basic Instructions: {This game is similar the the Rotation Activity below, except the students don't move}. Cut the worksheet up and hand out one question to each student. Have student number a separate paper. Remind students to pay attention, because they won't all start on #1. Set a timer, and go! Students work to answer their question. When the time is up, students pass their question on to the next person. If they're not ready, they pass anyway. Continue until each student has had each question.
Even More Ways to Mix It Up:  
- Play music


{Rainbow Worksheet}
Additional Materials: A plethora of colored pencils, crayons, or markers
Basic Instructions: 
Students get to use colored pencils to do their worksheet! Here's how I do it: Students choose any shade of blue to complete their worksheet. They work individually to complete it. Then they switch to a shade of green and partner up. With their partners, they discuss each answer. If they choose to make any corrections/changes, it must be done in their shade of green. Then students choose a shade of pink/purple. Together, we go over the worksheet. We discuss each question. I ask students for their opinions on the question, and why they feel that way. I make sure to target students with green on their paper: "Why did you change your answer? Tell us your thought process." As we go, we don't give ANY final answers, but students are allowed to make more changes. Then at the end, we choose a shade of red/orange to correct the paper together. With all of these colors, it adds a bit of fun and variety. Plus it allows me as the teacher to see the though processes and evolution of thinking. I can get students talking about their thought process and answers, and focus on those that have made several changes.
Even Ways to Mix It Up:  
- Obviously, use whatever color pallet you prefer!
- Have student write reasonings for why they changed their answer.
- Stop after the partner discussion & just turn the pages in.


{Rotation Activity}
Additional Materials: Paper & Pencils, Timer
Basic Instructions:
Cut the worksheet up and place the questions around the room, playground, etc. Each student starts at a question. Have them number their paper before they get started. Remind students they all won't start at #1, so pay attention! Set a timer, and go! When the timer goes off, the students move to the next question in the rotation. If they're not ready, they have to move anyway! Continue until all students have been to all questions.
Even More Ways to Mix It Up:  
- Play music
- Make students do silly moves as they move between questions (walk like a duck, spin twice, hop like a bunny, etc).



{Train Game}
Additional Materials: Tape. You'll also need to do some cutting prep work.
Basic Instructions: 
This can work in one of two ways:
- With a reading passage: Cut the questions corresponding with a reading passage. Then cut out the section of the passage where you'd find the answer. Tape one question on each student's back, and then give each student an answer/section of the passage. The students' goal is to find the question they have the answer to, and stand behind that person. They will eventually make a train.
HINT: You'll need to do some thinking in advance & ordering to make sure students don't get the answer to their own question and that the train doesn't turn into a ball! :)
- Any other type of worksheet: Use the same method, but you'll need to write/type the answers or cut them from a copy of the answer key.
Even More Ways to Mix It Up:  
- Don't allow talking. Play music instead.



3 comments on "Creative Ways to use Worksheets!"
  1. These ideas seem perfect for me! I'm just going back to teaching language arts after a nine year SAHM hiatus. The classroom is tiny and has no overhead, a tiny white board and a chalk board with the paint peeling off (and to think I thought I was going to finally get to teach with a smart board). To top it off, I have a different grade (3,4,5&6) every hour and I just started 2 months into the school year.
    I'm trying to teach something meaningful to the rest of the class, while keeping the disruptive students focused. Phew! It's a challenge.. I found your tpt store and now your blog, I'm excited to try some of these out!

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    1. Border Mom,
      Thanks so much for your post! It looks like we just swtiched roles! :) I was an ELL teacher for 5 years. I pulled groups of students like yourself. For the first three years, I was in tiny rooms with no technology either! I supplied my OWN overhead projector. Haha! :) Gotta love the adventures of a teacher!! :) I just recently quit to be a SAHM. I'm due any day!! :)
      I hope this blog is helpful to you. I'm so glad to have you here! :) Please let me know if you can use anything specific!
      Denise

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