Remember back in college when it was emphasized that the first part of your lesson plan should hook the students’ attention? Well, passing out another boring worksheet to your 2nd grade class will only get you groans and eye rolls. Most worksheets offer limited engagement and minimal focus to task.

Kids need to be exposed to new information repeatedly to ensure that it becomes permanent knowledge which they can recall and explain. One quick online search listed numerous sites stating that 17 exposures and uses are the average for learning a new word. So, no wonder teachers have relied on worksheets so heavily. Worksheets can provide the repeated exposure. However, a boring worksheet can result in limited learning, more time off task, and behavior disruptions.

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Good news! Not all worksheets are created equal.

Use this list of questions when looking at worksheets:

  1. Will it catch your students’ eye and get them curious?
  2. Will your students like the task?
  3. Is there a perk for the students?
  4. Does it teach the content?
  5. Can you extend the activity?

Now, look at the worksheet below with these questions in mind to decide if it would hook your students into learning about the rainforest.

  1. Will it catch your students’ eye and get them curious? This doesn’t look like a normal worksheet with small print and blank spaces to fill in. This has text and illustrations.
  2. Will your students like the task? Most students enjoy finding their way through a maze and successfully making it out.
  3. Is there a perk for the students? A majority of students will be excited to be able to color the drawings after completing the maze. You could even count it as a brain break.
  4. Does it teach the content? Students read text and see illustrations relating to several details about the topic.
  5. Can you extend the activity? After they’re done, students would write one or two facts they learned on the back of the page. Need to work on the speaking and listening standard? Have students team up and verbally share a detail or two they learned.

Get these habitat mazes for your classroom.

7 Habitat Mazes

Next time you are at the copy machine, take a look at the handout you are going to copy and think about these 5 questions. Will the worksheet hook your students? Or can you find a better worksheet which will get your students hooked on learning the content?

Wendy Wished
Let’s survive the adventures of teaching together.


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