NO Worksheets in Early Learning: Test Yourself

NO Worksheets in Early Learning

WHY?

Review the past four blog posts on why we do not use worksheets in Pre-K through 3rd grade and then test yourself.

Which pictures depict activities that are developmentally appropriate?

Which pictures are worksheets that need to be banned from early learning?

journeyintoearlychildhood.com
Test Yourself- Is it a worksheet? Ban the worksheets from Early Learning and use Developmentally Appropriate Hands-on Learning Activities

no worksheets answers

NO Worksheets in Early Childhood Part IV

NO Worksheets in Early Learning

WHY?

Reason Number Six: Worksheets do NOT develop social skills.

No Worksheets in ECIn the adult world, it is rare that we are told to do our own work and keep our eyes on our own paper. We collaborate on challenging tasks with colleagues. We gather information and learn new perspectives when we can work, brainstorm, and problem-solve together. This is the same for children. They are social beings who need multiple opportunities to engage in hands-on and inquiry learning experiences with their peers.

No Worksheets in Early Learning Part III

NO Worksheets in Early Learning:

WHY?

no worksheet part 3Reason Number Four: Worksheets do NOT develop problem-solving or critical thinking

If we want children to learn to solve problems we must create safe environments in which they feel confident taking risks, making mistakes, learning from them, and trying again (Fordham & Anderson, 1992). Worksheets do not involve critical thinking or problem-solving. Children instead develop a habit of guessing with passive thinking.

 

Reason Number Five: Worksheets do NOT develop Fine Motor Skills

NAEYC developmentally appropriate practices (Bredekamp and Copple, 3rd Edition) states, “Writing, drawing, and cutting with precision are activities that can be difficult for young children, who are still developing comfort and agility with fine motor work… Young children should have access to many kinds of materials and objects to help them develop and practice fine motor skills, such as small objects to sort and count and pegboards and beads to string… Pushing children too early into precise fine motor activities (as required on worksheets and color in the lines coloring sheets) is likely to be both unsuccessful and frustrating for young children and may leave them feeling incompetent and stressed.”

The clipping clothespins activity above not only accomplishes the same objective as the worksheet pictured but it also serves to strengthen students’ fine motor skills!

No Worksheets in Early Childhood Part II

NO Worksheets in Early Learning:

WHY?

Reason Number Three: Worksheets shut down thinking and only require passive thinking.

Worksheets are stressful since they usually have a right or wrong answer. When children are just starting to learn how to navigate school, how to learn and how to become confident learners, they will gain more from open-ended, hands-on activities that promote risk-taking and persistence. A worksheet shuts down thinking and promotes a mind-set that learning is all about guessing.

no worksheet in EC part 2NOTE: Response sheets where students are illustrating or writing an idea based on a response to a prompt from a piece of literature, such as draw the setting or draw your favorite part of the story OR a documentation sheet, data collection sheet or “lab report” where information from science observations or data is begin recorded are NOT considered worksheets. Worksheets typically have one correct answer such as “circle all of pictures that start with the letter H” or “underline the words that rhyme with car.”

 

No Worksheets in Early Childhood Part I

NO Worksheets in Early Learning (Grades Pre-K through 3rd)

WHY?

Reason Number One: Children learn best through hands-on experiences.

NAEYC shares with us that children learn best through hands-on experiences. In order for learning to stick with them, they need to feel it, touch it, manipulate it, and experience it. Worksheets are a passive activity that does not activate the learning center in young children’s brains.

Reason Number Two: Children need real objects to develop symbolic thinking.

no worksheets part 1Based on Piaget’s stages of cognitive development, most young children, including Kindergarten and many first grade children, are in the preoperational stage of cognitive development. Letters and numerals abstract symbols that hold very little meaning. Children require play-based activities to begin to understand symbolic thinking. A play-based curriculum offers children opportunities throughout the day to develop the ability to think abstractly by experiencing real objects using their senses (Kostelnik, Soderman, & Whiren, 1993).

Vocabulary during Block Play

Expanding Children’s Vocabulary

during Block/Construction Play:

vocab in blocks featured imageState standards require children to explain, describe, define, ask, compare and contrast, respond, and so on.

To accomplish these skills, children need an expanded expressive vocabulary to both describe and tell the use of many familiar objects and to incorporate new, less familiar or technical words in everyday conversations.

Block/Construction Building, Designing and Play offers excellent opportunities for introducing, reinforcing and expanding upon vocabulary while children are engaged in fun, hands-on experiences. While the teacher is interacting with the students during block play expanded vocabulary can be introduced and reinforced through questioning, scaffolding, and “I wonder” or “I notice” statements.

Examples of Vocabulary to Introduce/Reinforce during Block Play:

Tension           Stable                      Wobble                      Solid               Stability

Hard                 Smooth                    Heavy                         Firm                Incremental

Massive           Equal                       Steady                        Fasten            Negotiate

Measure          Several                    Less                            Level              Cooperate

More                 Area                         Length                       Numerous

Taller                Wider                       Three-dimensionalblocks for vocab

Horizontal        Diagonal                 Symmetry                 

Edge                 Connect                  Balance

Structure          Disassemble           Gravity

Vertical             Architecture             Surface

Tremble            Asymmetrical          Perpendicular

Parallel            Attributes                 Construction

 

 

Block/Construction Center: What Are Children Learning

 

Building and Designing with Blocks what we are Learning

(document of the above pictures)

 

 

Loose Parts

UPDATED POST- includes a link to a letter to send home to families requesting loose parts

Loose ends engage children in thinking critically, creatively and holistically. They encourage students to make connections and their learning is strengthened through the hands-on exploration.
Students count, observe, predict, test ideas, draw conclusions, examine patterns, shapes, and sizes, compare and contrast, ask questions, summarize, and represent findings while playing with loose parts.
Loose parts play taps into students natural curiosity. It also provides a strong foundation for the thinking skills required for strong STEM learning.
Below is a letter that can be revised to meet your needs to send to parents requesting a variety of loose parts. What loose parts would you add to the list?

 

Letter to parents requesting loose parts for play

loose part letter

Celebrating Students Transfer of Skills from Play to Academics and vice versa

A group of teachers were sharing the other day all of the creative learning that is taking place during free-choice play centers in Kindergarten. The one aspect that was shared multiple times that stuck with me was that many students are transferring the skills from free-choice play centers, especially social skills, into their direct academic learning time.
For example, a student was building animals following a pattern with linking cubes in math centers and then in play centers, he and his friends built the castle from Frozen and polar bears from LEgos.
Other teachers noted that they have been working on sharing and as well as using polite words and asking before taking something from a friend during free-choice play centers. Teachers are noticing students using those same skills during literacy and math centers- something that was not noticed prior to the implementation of free-choice centers in Kindergarten.
Students are also starting to include a lot more writing in authentic ways in the free-choice centers such as writing valentine cards, grocery lists, and signs for structures in block play such as labeling the “museum” rooms or the Olympic events and making directional signs.
In what ways do your students transfer skills from free-choice centers to direct academic instuction?

Maintaining Engaged Learning while Addressing Early Learning Standards

Since we know that young children learn best through active engagement-  we must stand firm in our support and implementation of instructional practices that support constructing of knowledge through active experiences. We also need to develop and refine our own beliefs about young children in order to defend and protect best practices.

National Education Association for Young Children supports (based on multitude of research) a constructivist approach to teaching and learning in which young children construct their knowledge and understanding of the world through their experiences.
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So the question to you is… how are you melding together the research based constructivist type approaches with the early learning standards to provide activities, questions/probes and  materials that are designed to challenge children’s thinking processes and encourage them to dig deeper into their understandings (based on student interest)?