Accelerated learning tips.

  • Children remember the unusual
  • Start with a learning ‘hook’
  • Colour coding will help ‘right brain’ students 

1. Add a place for pupils to write their name and the date at the top of each worksheet. You could add a space for a personal symbol or doodle in one of the top corners. This encourges the pupils to make the worksheet their own and gain a sense of ownership over it. It will no longer be ‘just a piece of paper’ given to them in a lesson.

2. Word process as much as you can. Drop in clipart where possible to ‘cheer up’ the format of worksheets.

3. Put the aims and objectives for the worksheet (ar activity) at the top.

4. If you are photocopying worksheets from a teacher resource pack, it’s worth taking extra time to smarten them up. Take the first photocopy and cut off page numbers ring binder marks, unit numbers and other unwanted information (but be careful to leave the source). Stick what is left onto a sheet of A4 paper, and then run off the required amount. Your worksheets will be much smarter and will look less rushed.

5. Vary the colour of the paper that you use. This may well be more expensive and therefore impratical on a limited budget, but ‘ring the changes’ now and again if possible. If you can be more systematic in your approach, colour-coding information is brain-friendly asit is logical and helps the brain to build up a pattern of connections. It will help ‘right brain’ students.

6. Your older pupils can create worksheets for the younger ones. This works especially well at secondary level. My Year 11 classes loved making word searches, puzzles and quizzes for Key Stage 3 pupils, especially when their names appeared as the ‘author’ on the footer of the worksheet. It was also a great revision activity as they had to make sure they provided answer sheets for marking and had to take care they were accurate.

7. Use worksheets to escape the tedium of ploughing through a textbook chapter by chapter, but also be aware of the ‘death by worksheet’ trap!

8. Make your worksheets interactive, so that pupils can re-live the experience of being in your lessons.

9. Consider putting a mark or symbol on all your printed material that makes it identifiable with you. You could use an animal or object that has some personal or subject signigicance, but try and make it light hearted.

Ofsted reports often comment on the quality of printed materials that are given to pupils, so make the appearance of your worksheets as learner-friendly and profeesional as possible – Clare Smales

This article first appeared in Teaching Expertise, April 2004.