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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Study: Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites {Chapters 1 & 2}

I am teaming up with a bunch of amazing bloggers for a book study on a (so far) equally amazing book, Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites. This book has been on my reading wishlist for a while, so I am excited to get started! 

Each chapter offers lots of real, easy to implement strategies. If they don't work as is in your classroom, they can be easily tweaked for your subject, grade level, etc. Since I teach in a resource and inclusion settings, many of the strategies would need to be tweaked for my use. 

This chapter really validated a lot of things I'm doing in my classroom, which is always great! I have always loved think-pair-share activities, ever since I first learned about them in college. One way I tweak this activity is that I have students write their answers during the think step. Too many kids forget their thinking or decide to change it based on what others think. By having them write, you are eliminating these problems and also ensuring that each student is thinking about the question and has an initial answer. 

One thing mentioned that I really struggle with is "wait time". Sometimes waiting 5-7 seconds for someone to respond feels like eternity and can create an awkward quiet. The book does suggest having this wait time in order to allow students to think and really prepare their answers. This is one thing that I really plan to work on in the upcoming weeks!

I've found that integrating art is very difficult for me. Don't get me wrong--I love art, art projects, and facilitating creativity, but the focus on core academic skills and test prep makes integrating art on a regular basis much more difficult. This chapter made me feel more comfortable with integrating art in the classroom. 

The book shares all the different ways that art improves the whole child. For example, it builds comprehension, self-esteem, sensory awareness, and dexterity. Many of these are special areas where my students need extra practice. More reasons for me to begin integrating it more! 

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts! Click on the graphic at the top of the page to visit Kickin' it in Kindergarten's original blog post and link up your own! Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments section so we can get the conversation started! 


  1. Creativity is important and it's such a valuable way to strengthen their knowledge and share it too. I HAVE to remember this, right!?!?

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  2. Agreed on the wait time. 5-7 seconds seems like an eternity but it's so important to give the kiddos some think time. I sometimes have my kiddos "blow" the answer in their hands until I say release. It gives everyone a little bit of wait time before someone shouting out the answer... works like a charm each time.

  3. HI Samantha, I enjoyed reading your post! I agree on the wait time. I've actually read mixed opinions on the appropriate length of wait time. Many things I've read recommend 20-30 seconds of wait time. Talk about feeling like an eternity!! Thanks so much for participating in the book study. I look forward to reading your posts!

  4. Test prep can become so overwhelming! I agree, it's good to hear that it's okay to incorporate the arts!

  5. Haha! I am right there with you...I just way too quick. The wait time can feel like foorrreeevverrrr. Thanks for linking up...your blog is adorable!

  6. I totally agree on the wait time. It is hard to do but worth the benefits.

  7. I think it's great that you're going to try to incorporate art more. You might just uncover some great talents in your special ed students that will give them opportunities to not just learn more easily but also to shine!
    Primary Inspiration