Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites Book Study: Ch 1 and 2

Posted: March 1, 2015 by Lindsey Nagorski

Well, so far so good!  My hubby and kids granted me a morning of sleeping in and being lazy (and it wasn’t even Mother’s Day!), so I got the opportunity to read the first two strategies in the book since I didn’t quite make it last night.  Similar to what Elizabeth Hall said over at  Kickin it in Kindergarten, the first two chapters were very confirming and affirming,  like a “pat on the back”.  There were actually a lot of things that I had just talked about with my student teacher in the last week or so! Here is my take on the two strategies: Brainstorming, and Doodling.

(Graphic organizers provided by Kickin it in Kindergarten)

For this math tub activity I simply gave these two a bucket of cubes, my latest dollar store find, and a dry erase grid and told them to record the data that they sorted.  They each sorted the cubes and graphed their results a little differently- this picture shows them spontaneously explaining what they did to each other 🙂

For our 100th day celebration one of our stations was “Build a 100 cup structure”.  I simply told each group that they had to work together to build something out of all 100 cups… some groups struggled with this concept more than others, but this group certainly had it figured out!

At some point in my teaching career it became somewhat of a faux pas to do art projects in the classroom.  Well, gosh darnit I’m going to bring it back, and if anyone has anything to say about it they can kiss my paintbrush!  While I’m not going to rush out today to stock up on tempura paints ( I am on spring break after all ), I am going to start focusing more on how to use “doodling” purposefully in my classroom.  I have been piloting 3 new math curriculums this year and one of the things that I have loved is that they all encourage students to draw pictures and “show their work” (does that phrase make anyone else cringe with horrible flashbacks?).

Here is a video of one of my mathematicians using drawing to help him add!

Strategy 3 is Field Trips, I already know this is going to be somewhat of a hot topic for me to read about.  We have seen a severe decline in the number of field trips we take (like we have 0 planned for this year…;-/ ), so I can’t wait to see what she says about them!  Rest assured I will be back on Tuesday ready to discuss it.

The rest of the readings schedule can be found below:  

 Chapter 3 discussion over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten on Tuesday (March 3)
Queen of the First Grade Jungle Chapter 4 (March 10th)
Fabulous in First  Chapter 5 (March 14th)
One Extra Degree Chapter 6 (March 17th)
Mrs. Jump’s Class Chapter 7 (March 28th)
The First Grade Parade  Chapter 8 (March 31st)
In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:
Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica’s Ed Ventures  Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
The Inspired Apple Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)


  • Holly March 1, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    I think for me, it's finding a way to make the art more purposeful…ALTHOUGH…having said that, isn't just using your imagination, practice cutting, pasting, following directions, etc. all good stuff too? {Not to mention having FUN} Does it always have to be academically purposeful? {That's me asking myself that question – or you too – HA!}

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  • Lindsey March 2, 2015 at 1:53 am

    I agree Holly, finding a way to purposefully tie art in with the curriculum is the key. But I also agree that their little brains need the free creativity time. My own 1st grader (in a different school district) comes home with art by the arm full each week and I'm always left wondering how they fit it all in (and where they get the budget for all their supplies!).

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