After all the hubbub of the Midwest Educational Technology Conference in St. Louis a couple weeks ago, I finally sat down – I think I was actually in my car, it’s where I do some of my best thinking – and reflected. Besides winning the lottery and bringing my whole District to METC15, how can I work to move my teachers forward in their thinking?
The result of my drive/thinking time/epiphany was to challenge the teachers to a Worksheet-Free Week. One day is too easy. Two weeks is too long. A full week after the State Testing period would do perfectly in my quest to move instructional pedagogy forward. It’s quite simiple, really, with just two rules:
- No pre-copied sheets of paper where kids fill in answers on the sheet of paper.
- Take the same number of grades in each subject(s) during that week that you normally would.
After running the idea past our two curriculum councils (comprised of teacher leaders in the district), I figured I would have to water it down a bit – give some options. Hence, the Olympic-themed Gold, Silver, and Bronze levels:
- GOLD – 5 days of no worksheets
- SILVER – 5 days of no worksheets, except in math
- BRONZE – 5 days of no worksheets in one subject
The reflection/culmination activity will be a luncheon provided by the district the following week on an early release/school improvement day. During that time, we will reflect on challenges, successes, and how this might be carried out in everyday instruction.
Rae Fearing (@RaeFearing) of Crescent City, CA took the idea and added another dimension: badges!
Ms. Fearing also expanded the idea to incorporate Junior High and High School teachers: The GOLD level is still a full week of no worksheets in any class. SILVER is 5 days of no worksheets in all subjects but math (elementary) or in at least 2 periods (junior high/high school), while the BRONZE is 5 days of no worksheets in one subject (elementary) or in one class period (junior high/high school).
Brilliant! Just another example of the power of collaboration and my PLN! I’m so glad I joined Twitter and am a Connected Educator. Thanks, Rae!
If you would like to join us, leave your name (individual, school, or district) in the Comments, below. Let’s get this going worldwide!
UPDATE 3/23/14: Seems that it’s now a ‘movement’ according to +Dan Gibson in his blog post #noworksheetweek. Check out his slideshow summarizing the concept.