Worksheets for Young Kids?

This is a note to us from Alisa. In my view it sheds light on a part of the instructional caverns that people w testing mentalities may never have thought of – if it’s not fun then why do it? This is especially true of younger kids Alisa’, who are basically sending the message to Alisa that for them the coin of the instructional realm is fun. But for kids of any age, if it’s not engaging, then does the writing activity – cloze or whatever – have any value? Indeed, how do too-early output activities of any type benefit the child? How does pulling the action from the deeper mind (fun for kids) to the conscious/analytical mind (not fun for kids of any age) help anyone? Oh wait! What? I phrased the question wrong? Oh…right. Here is my question, “How do activities like these benefit the publisher?” Oops. I asked the “wrong” question in today’s marketplace that schools have become. Mes regrets. I will be curious to see what group members may say about this.

Hi Ben-

I just had a strange experience in my classroom. Just when I though I knew what I was doing…

My 4th graders are reading Carol G’s newest easiest book, Brandon Brown Tells the Truth. It has half the words as Brandon Brown Wants a Dog. I’m doing it because we agreed – all 3 elementary Spanish teachers -to read it.

Anyway, we have the Teacher’s guide. I usually don’t use Teacher’s guides much with kids, but this time I copied some pages from a chapter and made a little packet, thinking maybe they could do some of it independently when I go to the CSCTFL this Friday…

So I had them start the packet. 3 of the pages I copied are all focused on the same 10 sentences. The first page has the kids cloze the simple sentences from a word bank; the second page takes the exact same sentences and has them cloze but without the benefit of a word bank – (but they can flip the paper – or have it in memory, or so I thought…)

And the third page is open-ended, but the question content is from the sentences they just worked through, twice.

Well, you probably know where this is going. It was just too hard for my 4th graders to do independently, period. I am only admitting to doing it because I would have guessed that it would be a piece of cake for them. Instead it’s hard, tedious and a waste of their time – which is better dedicated to input. They actually liked it when I switched to working through some of the pages together, probably for the novelty of holding/using writing materials in my class!

But I won’t ask them to answer questions independently in writing again, because it can trigger the filter, and it’s just not fun. Live ‘n learn.

They can watch a movie in Spanish w/English subtitles when I’m out.



4 thoughts on “Worksheets for Young Kids?”

  1. Yeah, this reminds me of how I killed reading for my native speakers. I forced them to read the textbook because I have no reading material for them. Online, I use NewsELA with and tell them they have to write a comment. In contrast, my French classes, students were fighting over books during FVR! For my native spanish speakers, only 2 students have picked up the TPRS books i ordered and none have continued to read for joy.

  2. Yeah, live ‘n learn as you say.
    If the language becomes intellectual/cognitive work then especially young kids get confused and lost and in my experience older students don’t like it either, but its okay for them to get it in small amounts.
    I have come a long way with worksheets. Nowadays even in a class 6 or 7I rarely use them if at all. I think they may be a waste of time. There are so many other/ more interesting things to do.
    Regarding output: my third-graders are so eager to learn new words, the energy with which they shout out the words (they started this of their own accord) is almost frightening , so at the moment part of the lessons we spend on food items, cutlery and crockery, with the help of TPR.

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