Then along came digital copiers and the purple_ink mimeograph machine disappeared. But the teaching tool that the mimeograph machine spawned _ the worksheet _ has lived on... and on... and on. For decades _ literally decades _ teachers have been enamored with worksheets. So what is the bottom line? Are worksheets a serious teaching tool or an over_used form of busy work? The answer, of course, is both.
As far as using worksheets for busy work, the verdict is in. It is destructive to classroom learning to assign worksheets to simply keep students occupied. Busy work creates monotony, causes boredom and increases the likelihood of behavior problems. To know if you are on the right track with worksheets in your classroom, answer (honestly) these simple questions: Do my students groan when I hand out a worksheet? (The answer should be no.) Are my lesson plans based on worksheets? (The answer should be no.) Do I feel anxiety if I don't have worksheets copied? (The answer should be no.) Are students excited about learning in my classroom? (The answer should be yes!).