Dittos & Worksheets & Packets, Oh my!!

So, your school department actually has a manual for you and it’s full of printables… They were designed by educators and statisticians… and people that must know more about teaching this content than you do… so why aren’t you students engaged? Well, I am writing this post to make sure you don’t “throw out the baby with the bath water!” Before you throw away every workbook and ditto in your classroom… let’s put our heads together.

You are right, experts did design these materials, so there’s probably something that works in here…

 Don’t reinvent the wheel- Re-purpose it instead!

Here’s a template for a cube (as well as other amazing ideas- amazing wiki). Why not put the best questions from your packet on the 6 sides of the cube and let students roll and discuss in pairs? Your goal (with the packet) was for students to think about the questions, right? Imagine all the ideas they’ll get from their partner when rolling the cube??!! Two heads are always better than one.

You could listen in on student conversations and assess their Speaking & Listening Skills or their content knowledge. Another idea is to assess student learning with an exit slip at the end of class. When you encourage students to have conversations, arm them with sentence stems and accountable talk to make it as productive as possible.

What will you re-purpose this week? Let us know in the comments & you may inspire someone else to take a similar risk!


PS… I’m looking to give away a TpT gift certificate to a lucky blog commenter this week! Spread the word- bring a friend!

Author: Alicia

I am convinced that the best way to improve educational outcomes for students is to support and empower teachers. I have been a teacher in Rhode Island for eleven years and am returning to my classroom after two years on full-release, supporting beginning teachers. This work is amazing and my learning never stops! I have learned so much about schools, learning, teaching and the power of collaboration.

One thought on “Dittos & Worksheets & Packets, Oh my!!”

  1. Thanks for sharing all of these great resources, Alicia! I recently had the opportunity to see a first grade teacher facilitate an accountable talk discussion during guided reading. You heard me right…facilitate the discussion, not lead it! I heard students say things like, “So what you’re saying is….but can you tell me a little bit more about? Can you please find the evidence in the text to support that?” I was nearly jumping out of my seat! And now you ask, how did he get to this point with his students?? Lots of modeling and lots of sentence stems to scaffold students’ discussion techniques. He also challenged (and engaged) his students by creating a teacher vs. students chart and every time he used an accountable talk stem, he earned a point for keeping the conversation going and every time students used a stem and/or kept the conversation flowing, they earned a point. Genius, right???? It was pretty amazing!!! Who says first graders can’t engage in meaningful discussions????? Not me…that’s for sure!!!!

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