No Worksheet Wednesdays challenge Goldsmith Elementary students and teachers

Teachers aim to provide students more hands-on and engaging lessons

By Toni Konz Tatman | JCPS Communications

It's mid-morning at Goldsmith Elementary and inside one kindergarten classroom, a group of students are writing down sight words in different colors while another group of children are reading sentences out loud.

Down the hallway, first graders are cutting out words and gluing them onto construction paper and second graders are dressed as opposites for a lesson on antonyms. 

Welcome to No Worksheet Wednesdays—a day where all of Goldsmith's teachers are being challenged to teach their lessons without using any worksheets.

"The idea behind it is for our students to experience more hands-on and engaging lessons and activities where they are doing most of the work," said Michael Hill, assistant principal at Goldsmith. "As a faculty, we discussed how worksheets can be useful for review but that they don't always provide the desired learning experience."

For the past three weeks, Hill has watched his teachers become innovators and his students become explorers.

"We are three weeks into this now, and I've been really impressed," he said. "I think this has really challenged everyone to think a little differently."

Leigh Williams, a second-grade teacher, said she didn't know what to think about the idea at first.

"It seemed like it would be a lot of extra work, but then as we started brainstorming, the ideas started coming pretty fast," she said. "The kids really get into it, and you can see that they are benefiting from it."

Teachers Samantha Ficks, Alexandra Windham, Laura Krausen, and Sarah Seebold spent their planning time this week putting together a math activity that has students using dominoes to compare fractions. 

"In reading, the kids are working on similes, so we had them digging through text, finding the similes and then drawing what they mean," Ficks said. "It helps them understand the text they are reading and the text of the story."

Goldsmith is using the social media hashtag #NoWorksheetWednesday to share examples of the lessons that are taking place. 

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