Six Creative Ways to Use Worksheets
Students Will Love These Six Creative Ways to Use Worksheets
Don't assume all worksheets are boring, unengaging, and ineffective. Worksheets can be a great way for students to practice new skills. The trick is to get creative about how you use worksheets inside and outside your classroom.
When worksheets aren't engaging, it's often not because of the content on the page but because of how the students are asked to complete the worksheet. It can be difficult for students to sit still at their desks and work quietly. That's especially true if students have to complete worksheets regularly.
The more fun your students have when completing worksheets, the more likely they are to give the problems on the worksheet their full attention, the more likely they are to retain the information, and the less likely they are to complain when it's time to pass out another worksheet.
It does take some creativity and flexibility to make worksheets more interesting. Here are some creative ways to use worksheets in the classroom as well as at home.
Let the Students Become the Teacher
Kids love a good role reversal in the classroom and at home! Stand back and let them become the teacher, and you'll find that worksheet time becomes more interesting.
There are a few different ways you can let students become the teacher:
Have students work in pairs. One completes the worksheet, and the other corrects it. Avoid handing out answer keys. Instead, students doing the correcting should create their own answer keys.
Have students take the worksheet home for a parent or an older sibling to complete. Then, have them correct the answers back at school.
Let students take turns correcting worksheets for the teacher. Work together with the students to create an answer key, so the scores are accurate.
Ask students to complete just one problem on the worksheet. Then, have each student come up to the front of the class to show everyone how they got their answer.
Create Stations Where Multiple Students Write Answers on Each Worksheet
Getting students up and out of their seats is a great way to make worksheets more interesting. That doesn't mean you have to host a free-for-all in which students complete worksheets wherever they want. Instead, create worksheet stations where students rotate around the room answering questions.
Place a few worksheets on different tables. Then, have small groups of students rotate around the room. Instead of completing the entire worksheet at the station, ask students to answer just one question. You can also set a timer, and students can answer as many as they can in that time before rotating to the next station.
Check over the answers that were provided. See what kinds of problems the students consistently get right and which they still struggle with. Then, you can reteach or skip a lesson depending on your findings.
This activity also provides a great opportunity for students to help you correct worksheets. Because answers are given anonymously, and multiple students answer questions on each sheet, students won't feel embarrassed when a classmate corrects the problems.
Complete the Worksheet With Anything But a Pencil
Students don't necessarily have to be up and out of their seats to get as much as they can out of the worksheet they're working on. Sometimes all it takes is a small tweak, like telling students to complete their worksheet with anything but a pencil.
Young children will love being able to use crayons and colored pencils to fill out their worksheets, while older students will love using colorful pens to write their answers.
Dry erase markers can be a fun way to keep students engaged with a worksheet. Slide worksheets into page protectors and have students complete them with a dry erase marker. It's even more fun if you project the worksheet on the wall and let your students write the answers directly on their desks with a dry erase marker!
Have a Worksheet Answer Scavenger Hunt
No kid can resist a scavenger hunt! This worksheet idea is made even more fun because students aren't actually filling in the answers. Instead, it's the answers they're going on the hunt to find.
First, you must hide the answers to a worksheet around the classroom. Write down the answers and tape them to the walls, set them out on desks, and place them on the floor. Students can copy the answers on their sheet, or you can set out multiples so students can pick up the answer and tape it to their worksheet.
Then, pass out empty worksheets to students. You can have students work independently or in pairs. Students have to go around the room collecting answers and finding the right place to put them on their worksheets. If you want to increase the challenge, include wrong answers among the answers you set out.
Include how you worked out the problem so students can double-check your work or simply write down the answer so that students are forced to work out the problem for themselves. Go over the answer, and let the students talk about where they found them in the classroom and how they knew they found the right answer.
Have a Snowball Fight With Crumpled Up Worksheets
Instead of passing out worksheets to students, why not let them pick out their own worksheets by having a snowball fight?
Pass out worksheets to students and ask them to crumple up their worksheets into a ball. Then set a timer and let your students have a snowball fight! When the timer goes off, each student has to pick up one snowball and take it back to their desk to work on.
Keep the snowball fight going by having students answer just one or two questions before crumpling up the paper and throwing their snowballs around the room again. Then students grab another snowball and answer one or two more questions. They can smooth out the sheet and work on it, or you can have them write down the answers on a separate sheet of lined paper.
The second method works best when each worksheet is slightly different. Either put the same questions in a different order on each sheet, or use completely different worksheets.
Just make sure you clarify the rules of the game before starting. You don't want kids pelting each other in the eyes or playing keep-away with the snowballs.
Shoot Some Hoops
Instead of passing out a whole worksheet, hand out worksheets that have been cut into individual questions. As the students answer each strip of paper, they can crumple it up and toss it in a hoop hung on the wall or behind the door. An empty trash can works, too.
This activity is even more fun if you allow students to work in groups of two or three. Because they are able to work out the problem together, they are more likely to get a correct answer.
This is also a great option if you want students to complete a worksheet the old-fashioned way-quietly at their desk. Let students work independently. They can crumple up the worksheet and toss it into the basket when they are ready to turn it in as a fun way to blow off a little steam.
Don't make students sit quietly and work independently every time. Students will practice important skills and have fun at the same time if you try one of the creative ideas on this list!