When I was a child, I used to create my own worksheets for school using my ideas and concepts from lessons learned the previous day. While I loved creating these worksheets, one thing kept nagging at me–what if I could use words from my lessons the same way in the future? After all, I could just come up with another sentence that used the same words or concepts. This would keep me from having to create several worksheets for Middle School, because I would always be using the same ideas as I had in the past!
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I was not alone in this. Many of my classmates were thinking along the same lines. We all wanted to create worksheets that would work for our lessons. Here are some tips and strategies that helped me in creating my own worksheets that worked in harmony with my lessons.
First off, I asked myself what types of questions I was going to answer on my worksheets. Did I need to use words from lessons that I had learned in high school health class? Or would I need to go back and use the same vocabulary that I learned then?
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After I came up with the list of words/phrases that I was going to use in my worksheets, I began to try and think how I could use these words in my own words. I began to realize that I needed to have a list of words that I could use in my own words–in other words, high school health class did not provide me with enough words to answer my own worksheets! What I found is that I could make a few extra words to use in my own words, but I still had to write an entire worksheet using high school health terms!
Once I realized that I needed more than just the list of words to answer my worksheets; I started looking at some different ways of organizing my thoughts and sentences on my worksheets. I realized that I needed to use a grid–a grid that connected each idea on one page with another on another page. This way, I could arrange my ideas on the paper in a way that made sense to me. Once I had designed my grid, it was easier for me to figure out where I wanted my sentences to go.
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From my experiences in high school and college, I know that most of my concerns about managing stress have come from being too strict on myself. At one point, I made myself do 100 pages of research papers in one weekend! I used to think that this was good for me, because it meant that I was getting lots of work done and that I would learn a lot. I didn’t realize that I was setting myself up for future problems because I was so busy working. In fact, I was probably learning things I shouldn’t have learned in the first place!
In my case, the best way to avoid problems with my worksheets is to make sure that I know what the data I am presenting is about. If I can find a book or Internet article that gives the information I need without needing to use my own brain, then I know that I’m free to use my own brain. Beyond that, however, I use the price elasticity of worksheets to make them easy to fit into my schedule. Because I know how often I will have to do them, I can fit the data into my day easily. I don’t have to worry about the research taking up my time or having to find the time to fit my worksheets into my schedule.
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In the example above, I used a Spanish quiz to learn how to pronounce Spanish words properly. For the worksheet answer key, I used an online Spanish quiz. This allowed me to take the quiz on my lunch break without having to spend the entire day studying Spanish (because I already knew how to take the quiz and I would be able to answer it without too much effort). Instead, I could fit the Spanish lessons into my schedule and I learned Spanish that way – in about 45 minutes.
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