How to do the So Happy to Learn Worksheets at Home or School. Purpose of the worksheets, choice folder and monthly curriculum

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1 How to do the So Happy to Learn Worksheets at Home or School This is a general reference guide to doing the monthly worksheets at home and at school. As everything can not be covered in a few pages, I am always available and eager to answer any questions and assist in anyway. The So Happy to Learn curriculum, worksheets and independent choice work folder are the foundation of my program. Everyday I witness the tremendous benefit of the worksheets and choice folder here at Mrs. Brown s House. It is my hope that all my learners can make it a part of their daily educational routine. In doing so our learner s progress will multiply at a much faster rate! Purpose of the worksheets, choice folder and monthly curriculum When I worked in the school system with my first three learners, Mara, Michael and Katie, I realized that the worksheets presented in the classroom needed major adaptations for my learners to use them. I took parts of the kindergarten curriculum and made worksheets my learners could use. They were designed for my learners to be able to do independently after I had taught them how to do them. These worksheets became a big hit and afforded Mara, Michael and Katie (as well as the other special needs in the typical class) the opportunity to have a class work folders like the other kindergarteners. Their work folders had worksheets in them that they could do independently or with very little assistance over time. 1

2 Not only did my three learners learn so much that year, they had a great time doing so and felt very confident and proud in their accomplishments! In my teaching work over the years I have developed a monthly curriculum that targets reading, writing, math and more. All designed for your learner to be able to work independently and learn and grow with the worksheets. The three levels of worksheets, beginning, level one, and level two, are designed to be simple to read and understand affording your learner the opportunity to master the worksheet and progress to the next level when ready. Many learners work from a combination of the different levels. The format each month remains the same and the words and themes change each month so your learner is successful in knowing how to do the worksheets. New formats are added from time to time. Please see the attached handout which describes the monthly curriculum. The worksheets are meant to be photo copied and done many times so your learner can improve and feel confident with a worksheet they are familiar with. Each packet has sheets your learner can do independently and some that they will need assistance with. When you get your monthly packet I suggest three hole punching and putting it into a binder or developing a filing system. Make a few copies of the entire pack and then pick out specific worksheets that your learner may benefit the most from. Keep these in a file folder and easily accessible for when you fill your learners choice work folder. You will want to use worksheets from the past months for practice and review as well. 2

3 I believe most everyone has a folder for home. If you do not, you can have your learner pick out a special folder that will be their work folder for home or school. Put around 10 worksheets in their folder. It should contain 80 percent very easy to do worksheets and 20 percent more challenging worksheets. (How would your learner feel if the folder was full of work they could not do? They would most likely avoid the task. Opening the folder and being able to choose work they can master is of utmost importance) When it is time for your learner to sit down to work make sure they are relaxed and eager to get to work. Doing work from the folder at Mrs. Brown s house is never a chore or something to be dreaded. 98 percent of the time everyone is eager to get to work. When I do encounter a challenge I gently but firmly let my learner know that it is worksheet time and saying no is not an option. Within a few minutes they are usually in the groove of doing their work. Their work area should be organized and quiet with supplies handy. I use appropriate writing utensils, crayons, glue stick and scissors. (I keep the scissors and glue stick in the area ready when needed, for some learners it is best to keep this out of reach) I have an easy button on the table for the child to press after each worksheet. (at school maybe the learner could press it when the entire task is complete) Focus spray is also nice to have on hand! Give your learner their folder and have them choose what they would like to do. I will explain how it is done in my program and you can do it the same way or adapt it to your environment. Note: Before any learner works independently I spend months working with them at the same table, one worksheet at a time, to teach them 3

4 how they are done. I intuit when they are ready to work independently at the table. At this point I am happy to report that ALL of Mrs. Brown s learners are working independently at the table! The learner does one or two worksheets by themselves at the table while I sit nearby on the couch. I read a book to pass the time and to give my learner some breathing space. I do have one eye on them and will re-direct if they are off focus. It is important to not correct or get involved with what they are doing. (unless they are way off base and truly need assistance) It is important for them to do it their own way and practice in a relaxed way. Will they make many mistakes for a while yes, will their writing often look sloppy? Yes it will and this is all ok! Over time everything will refine itself. Remember this is a process. One goal is to learn and progress over a long period of time. The other goal is to work independently and enjoy doing so. Each learner is different from another and I meet each learner exactly where they are at according to their capabilities with the end result always in mind. It is fun and rewarding to see them progress as time goes on. When the learner is finished they bring me their worksheet so I can go over it with them. I first and foremost cheerfully praise them for their effort and point out everything I like about the work they just did. I then go over it making any needed correction. In doing this I am not pointing out what they did wrong, I am modeling for them the way they should do it in the future. Remember the Teach not Test rule when going over the worksheets. The worksheet session can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. If your learner is a regular here at Mrs. Brown s House it is ok for them to do their worksheets independently with out much input from you. If 4

5 you receive the packets and are not a regular you will need to offer more assistance and guidance. Suggestions for school use When this program was first created its primary use was with in the classroom. It has been field tested and produced impressive results. In a nutshell this is how the monthly worksheet packet and choice folder can be used in the class room setting. The teacher or assistant would keep a file of worksheets. The learner would be given the work folder at appropriate times. Examples of appropriate use: Present to the learner after doing a class assignment that may be completed before the other students. This gives our learner an opportunity to work independently and learn while the others are still doing their work. (I used to help my students write in their journal and we were finished in 5 minutes while the class had another 30 minutes to go so I gave my student their choice folder to work on.) Appropriate worksheets from the class and adapted worksheets that go with the class curriculum can be added to the folder as well. Generally your learner should spend no more than one hour a day with the worksheets and folder. This time can be split up throughout the day. I used to keep separate folders for math, reading and writing and a general folder in my students desk. When the class was working on their math, reading or writing assignments, my learner had a folder of appropriate work they were not only expected to do but did with great pride. Examples of inappropriate use: Doing worksheets when class work can easily be adapted, doing worksheets when the class is involved in a fun group activity, having the student do so many that they become burned out. Having the student do the worksheets away and separate from the class. 5

6 Guidelines at a glance Make copies from the master packet. Put worksheets in the folder. (ones that require cutting and matching, you may precut or cut some in advance to make the task easier) You can use current monthly worksheets and ones from the past. Have an organized, quiet work area set up for your learner. Let them choose the worksheets they will do one at a time from their folder. Have them bring them to you after completion, one at a time. Give them their space without jumping in to correct. Go over the sheets praising them for their efforts. Make corrections by modeling the corrections, not pointing out their errors. Use the back of the worksheet to draw, write, do math or color (make a quick short activity for them to do with you or to take back to their seat. Examples: one math problem, copy a picture you drew, write a word or sentence keep it fun and simple) Keep the more challenging worksheets with you and do them together with your learner until they are able to do them on their own, or let them attempt it and then do it together. Keep the momentum going with positive praise and excitement over your learners work. 6

7 Important things to keep in mind This is a PROCESS. It can take a while to get a smooth rhythm going. Your learner may very well balk and resist at first. That is ok and to be expected. I make it clear that not doing worksheets is NOT an option. Once they get in the rhythm of the work and feel successful there is really no place they would rather be than at the table doing worksheets. It s true! Never bribe to get your learner to work, incentives may be useful in the beginning. Do not say for example if you do your worksheets you can watch a movie. You can however enthusiastically say Wow, after worksheets you get to take a bath and watch a movie, aren t you lucky!? Then don t wait for a response just guide them to the table and get started! If you are going about this the right way incentives will no longer be needed as the work is incentive all on its own. It may take a long time until you see marked progress, but if you hang in there you will. That scribble they made for the letter M will one day be a legible letter. The words that they can only circle but not yet read will one day be read. The math problem that makes no sense soon will. The note they write that are only scribbled lines will one day be sentences you can read and delight in! Hang in there all the effort you put into this will be well worth it! 7

8 Years of experience with many learners of all abilities have shown me time and time again that tremendous progress and seemingly miraculous results can be made with this system. Once you and your learner get the hang of it, I encourage you to make your own worksheets modeling my format so you can teach your learner things not covered in the monthly packets. I have had many teachers and parents do this over the years with great success. The worksheets do not have to be fancy or perfect. Get a blank sheet of paper and marker and give it a try, or go on to the computer and see what you can come up with. I am here to guide direct and help you anyway I can, so let me know how I can help! Terry Brown If you would like to see example of learners happily and independently doing their worksheets please go to Visit the Mrs. Brown s family page and use the password iamfocused to enter. 8

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