Stop Putting Lipstick On Worksheet Pigs

We’ve all been there, in a pinch with minimal planning time. Maybe it’s the night before or the prep period prior to the class, we need an activity and we need it fast. We look through all our own activities and resources in our possession and none will work, we’ve never taught this class before. It’s also too late to ask any colleagues for their resources. It’s the actual final minute. Against everything in our creative body we go to google and download a drill and kill worksheet. We know our class will be unimpressed and bored but it’s the best we have.

Here is where I start to question, why is this the best we have? Why does so much time and effort go into making these “pretty” worksheets with the same clip art kids featured on the front. If you’ve ever been to teachers pay teachers you know the kids I’m talking about. How did they make the cover of every teaching resource? These worksheets have color and art and flashy text but if you look beyond the frills, the content is exactly the same as a kuta software download.

It’s almost as if we are hard wired to look for worksheets, printables, notebooks, etc because that’s what we remember as students. Watch this lesson and do this worksheet. Now however because we remember the boring no frills worksheets we want to jazz it up. Let’s add color, art, puzzles and riddles, that will make it more interesting. That will definitely make this more fun then when we had to do it. Unfortunately, we forget students today do not have that comparison. A worksheet to them is still a worksheet. Interviewing students for feedback, worksheets and packets are always on their least favorite list no matter the color, glamour or featured clip art kids.

What if we did something different? What else could we do besides worksheets? What activity could we do so students would have to move, communicate and create? How can we incorporate soft skills that will benefit students after they leave our classroom? Most of all how can we create activities that take into account students social and emotional well being? I may be totally off, but I never heard anyone say after a worksheet “That was awesome I feel great!” Most students after worksheets are tired, will complain of headaches, bored and low energy. This can’t be good for them.

Lets do better. Lets create more and different. Lets navigate away from what we knew and what we did in school. Most adults will tell you they hated school and definitely did not like math class. Why would we want to continue on in this fashion?

Let’s do different for our students and stop putting lipstick on worksheet pigs.

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