Frickin Packets by @cultofpedagogy
I really enjoyed reading Jennifer Gonzalez blog post “Frickin’ Packets” where she not only defined a worksheet but accurately identified paper printed activities that are not terrible. I can not speak for any teacher prep program but the one I was in, but my program never addressed the worksheet or the worksheet packet. We did sample lesson after sample lesson and many of us defaulted to using the worksheet as the independent practice. I do not recall once the instructor suggesting that maybe that was not a high-quality learning activity. On top of that my district made lots and lots of worksheet packets for us to give to the students. So clearly we were not discouraged from teaching with worksheet packets. I had never heard of project-based learning (PBL) until I moved to a school that had a PBL focus. I appreciate Jennifer’s thoughtful (and extensive) list of classifications of activities, gives us all something to think about.
What is a Worksheet?
“In my experience, when people criticize worksheets, they are referring to a specific type of worksheet, what I will call a busysheet, the kind where students are either doing work that’s fairly low-level recall stuff–filling in blanks with words, choosing from multiple-choice questions, labeling things–or work that has no educational value at all, like word searches, word scrambles, or coloring stuff in cases where coloring adds no extra layer of understanding.”