I see a lot of them- LIFE Skills Worksheets.
Some people see it as the only option. LIFE Skills students need lots of practice, so worksheets are used… but they are clearly misunderstood. For our students, it is the same difference… right? Well, just like only option, same difference, and clearly misunderstood, LIFE Skills Worksheets is an oxymoron to me.
Why Should You Stop Using Worksheets?
Do you like worksheets? Were they the thing you loved the most when you were in school? No. No one likes worksheets. They are boring. They are repetitive. Worst of all, they are meaningless. Stop using them. Now, with that said, there are some students who need them because of an underlying behavior or repetitive tick… but it is probably a learned behavior from years of worksheet pacification.
You should stop using worksheets and think of the point. Why you are using them?
Are they busy work? Our students don’t need meaningless busy. What can they do that is meaningful instead?
Is it to get your data? My guess is the skill you are assessing occurs outside of just worksheets. What other activity can get you good data?
Is it just easy? I actually think making and managing lots of worksheets is not easy. What is easy is multi-leveled activities which can be adjusted in a moment based on student need. What can you make that you can tailor to each student’s needs?
Need to See It?
I have always preached a ‘Work Smarter, Not Harder’ philosophy. As LIFE Skills teachers, we give so much of ourselves to our job. Prep cannot be 100% of what we do. If I am going to go through the effort of creating materials, I have to know there are at least 4-5 different ways to use the materials with 2-3 different types of students. Take this Multi-Leveled Math Activity… I can use the price tags as a money counting activity, as a one-up activity, as a sorting or sequencing activity. I can use them to practice adding with and without a calculator, to calculate tax, to calculate discounts, and to determine change from a variety of bills. Because it is visual, I can use it with students who are nonverbal, with students who have speech processing issues (like students with Autism), and also with students who need fewer supports. There… 2-3 types of students and 4-5 different ways. Now it is worth my time (and effort).
These Are NOT Worksheets!
Some people may say that these activities are just like worksheets, but they are in smaller sections, or more visual, or just differently modified… and, yes, that is exactly the point. How do you do those same things effectively with a traditional worksheet? And students in LIFE Skills need all of those things in order to be successful. When you see a traditional worksheet- think of how you can use it to be more interactive. It is not that worksheets don’t have some value… it is that they are not presented in a way that is most effective for students with complex and multiple disabilities.
So, with all that information, how can you replace the dreaded worksheet with a less striking oxymoron? Something less awfully good to something meaningful and engaging (and the latter is no moron).
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