A few summers ago, the blockbuster movie “Straight Outta Compton” was everywhere. Besides bringing back a whole wave of great memories of music I grew up with, people had quite a bit of fun with meme action. I saw almost every town and every object inserted after “Straight Outta.” One meme in particular caught my attention: “Straight Outta Worksheets.”
I first saw this on a T-shirt of presenter Carl Hooker. Yes, his last name is Hooker, and you can find him on Twitter sharing some amazing things. I first met Mr. Hooker at the 2017 PETE & C conference in Hershey, PA, after he keynoted the opening session and offered some workshops. He told me about a conference he held in Austin, TX, called iPadaPalooza. I hope you get the focal idea of the conference (I went this past summer; amazing was an understatement). In the opening kickoff, Mr. Hooker donned the “Straight Outta Worksheets” T-shirt. The crowd went wild. I loved the shirt so much that I ordered one on eBay.
Besides loving the idea, I was chuckling to myself on how it would be received in some schools. I’ve worked in places where worksheets are so frequent that the paper changes color by the end of the year because their order of white paper runs out. When I taught, we had someone from Xerox who was paid just to run our copies. If we had bulk items, they were to be sent to central office to the duplicating room. I’ve also seen schools where you’re given one pack of paper for the entire school year. Depending on the district, some teachers would laugh and high-five the T-shirt; other places would file 6 grievances and seek an affirmative action investigation because they found the shirt offensive.
The message to the attendees was clear: what good does scads of worksheets do? Do you save them to reference the following school year? Are the worksheets going to change your life? Will they be the catalyst to get you a job or succeed in life?
Friends don’t let friends give worksheets. Pass it on. It’s time to really drill down and harness the power of technology that students use daily. Save a tree, and save our future learners from nebulous work just because you’ve always done it that way..