Teacher Challenge: No Worksheet Week

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:

  1. No pre-copied sheets of paper where kids fill in answers on the sheet of paper.
  2. 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.

It would be great if other districts would join in.  We could set up a collaborative buddy system, and really start something new!  Let me know if you’d like to join in.Image

UPDATE 3/1/14:

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.

7 comments on “Teacher Challenge: No Worksheet Week

  1. This is a great idea! What a fun way to encourage teachers to think differently about how they gather information about what students are learning. Yes!

  2. Deanna Owen says:

    Sounds like fun! I’m in!
    Deanna Owen
    Del Norte School District

  3. […] It began when one technology integration specialist, Matthew Weld,  was driving home from a conference.  He wondered how he could get teachers to move forward in their thinking and came up with the concept of “No Worksheet Week.” […]

  4. Ellie Grant says:

    What a great idea! It would be a fantastic documentation type resource if teachers shared their creative and innovative ideas that will surely come from this challenge #insteadofworksheets or #thecopierisdown Looking forward to hearing about your upcoming week.

  5. Marie says:

    Before NCLB, this was a norm. Worksheets were used sparingly. How education keeps swinging.

  6. […] To often, I find myself stuck in the Land of Should.  Should I try it?  Should I just forget about it?  But I find that if I just ‘have a go’ with a new idea, great things can happen.  For example, last year, I had an idea about implementing a Worksheet-less week at my school.  No one else had ever tried, and teachers were sure to balk at having to give up their precious busywork teaching resources.  One brave day, I made up a flyer, wrote a blog post, and #BOOM! it’s now an Event around the world:  No Worksheet Week  […]

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