Anchor Charts image source: pinterest.com
A few years ago, I read a blog entry by a middle school teacher in North Carolina who was struggling with a middle school lesson plan he wrote. The lesson plan contained two worksheets and each worksheet had the child’s homework assignments listed in the top left corner. He explained that it felt like a little “Foreshadowing” and as such, it was really bad.
Now, as a middle school teacher I find this to be very common and the main reason why is because of the way the student’s brains work. When they learn a lesson and see what work they have to do for that lesson, they will mentally go back to the beginning and mentally look at what their assignment is.
The main reason that the teacher needed this was because when he handed the assignment out to the students the first time around it was like they were looking at a picture on the computer. The same way that people think about pictures, kids use this same kind of mental process to think about assignments.
I have seen many middle school teachers make these kind of mistakes and I’ve even talked to some teachers that have done this on purpose. It makes it difficult to communicate information to children and this has led to problems in communication which leads to learning problems.
I recommend using a chart that has arrows that lead the student back to the beginning of the lesson so that they can use the arrows to find their assignments. This way they are able to move around the graph and then have their eyesight guided into the right spot to find their assignments. If they move too fast, they might miss the next assignment so a visual chart can help a lot.
In conclusion, there is no reason that a middle school teacher should have to use this kind of method when teaching. The next time you use a chart you should be careful about what you are using it for and that will allow you to make more effective use of it.
If the worksheet comes across as unnecessary then I would recommend changing it or asking the student to write something on the worksheet. The student needs to see that there is a time limit on the sheet and then the student can start to use their brain and find their assignments easier.
The most important thing is for the teacher to always have a good idea of how much he is being told. You want to create an atmosphere where the student sees that you are there to help them not scare them.
If a worksheet is going to be used then it needs to be a tool that helps the student. As a middle school teacher you need to take care of your students in a way that lets them understand the lesson you are trying to teach and then use the worksheet properly.