Worksheets aren’t the problem.

usa mapIMG_6290

Much is said about the worksheet. All I ever hear is that there is a better way to teach than to use a worksheet. I disagree. I am putting myself out there for judgment and ridicule but I can prove that worksheets are not the problem but instead it is how you use them.

Today I asked a question of my second graders about what state Ruby Bridges moved from when she was 4 years old. We have been studying her life and story of integrating an all white school in New Orleans. The students starting responding with names of cities, states, countries and towns. So I immediately began planning our afternoon lesson on becoming more familiar with the 50 states in our amazing country. I printed out the map worksheet for each student and began to brainstorm how could I make this interactive and engaging? Then it hit me, I will use songs.

Using YouTube I cued up several songs, then checked their lyrics to assure at no point would they become inappropriate for 7 year old ears, and then started the lesson after lunch.

Students worked in pairs and were told to put their name of course on top of the evil worksheet. Then I told them to grab a blue crayon and when they heard the name of a state they had to find it on their maps and color it in. And so began our afternoon jamathon that caused other teachers to open adjoining doors and stick their heads in to sing a few lines of the catchy songs. The kids would moan when I would end a song early after all had completed the coloring in. I stayed a few states ahead of the class and we got a whole bunch of states colored in. Here are just a few songs we used today. Be forewarned there are few ear worms in here. It’s all about how you use it folks, there was nothing wrong with this worksheet! I had 100% engagement and kids were learning, laughing, dancing and singing. Geography and Social Studies should always be this much fun.

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