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

I'm linking up with Elizabeth from Kickin' It In Kindergarten for our book study on the book Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites. As I read this book, I'm finding some fun new ideas to use in my classroom, but more so, it's giving me the affirmation that what I'm doing in my classroom is best practice. I always want to do what is best for my kids and I'm happy to read that we're on the right track. 

In Chapter 1 they discuss brainstorming and discussion.  I'm big believer in these two things and below are some ways I use them in my classroom as well as some ways I would like to improve. 
 I totally agree that classrooms shouldn't be quiet. I love when my students are working together to solve problems, answer questions and complete projects.  I'm a big believer in small groups and I use these in many ways.  Below my kiddos had to work together to determine the most important parts of the story they read.  I loved hearing them debate as they had to decide together what they should write. Later they worked as a group to present their ideas to the class. 
Here are my students sharing the stories they wrote. Their partner told them some of the GLOWS in their writing, the things they loved that they did as an author.  Giving each other feedback is so empowering.  
I wish I had more pictures, but in addition to turn and talk, our discussions during Shared Reading and working in small groups, we also have weekly team meetings.  We sit in a circle and share as a group pretty much anything that is on our mind.  We brainstorm ways to solve problems we see in the classroom, I ask my students to tell me the activities from the week that they loved and those that really weren't much fun.  We talk about how we can change things to make them better for their learning styles.  It's a powerful time y'all. The other day they said they weren't crazy about our Calendar Binders. They wished we could practice those skills in other ways.  I had them give me some ideas and told them I would work on some things.  And guess what?... We took our calendar binders home and I took the challenge to find ways to make practicing the concepts more exciting.  

Chapter 2 was all about the arts in our classroom. This chapter focused on drawing, dancing and using music in the classroom. "When children play, draw, dance and sing, they engage every sense and help wire the neurons for learning successfully."-Sousa
If there is an area where I feel is my strength, it's incorporating many different types of learning in my classroom. I love using music and dance to teach.  In addition I believe that drawing and art certainly has a place in a classroom.  Below is a picture of my students retelling a story by acting it out. 
Students artwork makes my heart happy.  Here are a few reader's response sheets where students respond through illustrations. 

Each week we also read a poem that goes with our theme.  At the end of the week my kids take their poem home in the Poetry section of their Go Book.  Before taking it home, we have them use their mental images from the poem to illustrate it. We talk about how we use illustrations as readers to figure out tricky words and help us better understand stories, and they also have to be able to create illustrations to help readers.  

During our data unit, students were able to represent their data in many different ways.  These elves are just too cute. 
So I hope after reading these few chapters you are charged to do something new.  There are tons of blogs joining this book study, and I'm sure going to check them out and see what other great things are happening in classrooms around the world that also believe that... "Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites." 

To Link up (click on the blue button on Elizabeth's Blog) and prepare for your chapter 3 discussion over at Mrs. Wills Kindergarten on Tuesday! Here is the rest of the schedule and you can join in at anytime!
Queen of the First Grade Jungle Chapter 4 (March 10th)
Fabulous in First  Chapter 5 (March 14th)
One Extra Degree Chapter 6 (March 17th)
Mrs. Jump’s Class Chapter 7 (March 28th)
The First Grade Parade  Chapter 8 (March 31st)
In April, you will be visiting these girls for the remainder of the study:
Mrs. Ehle’s Kindergarten Chapter 9 &10 (April 4th)
What The Teacher Wants Chapter 11 (April 7th)
First Grader At Last Chapter 12 (April 11th)
Erica’s Ed Ventures  Chapter 13 (April 14th)
KinderGals Chapter 14 &15 (April 18th)
A Rocky Top Teacher Chapter 16 (April 21st)
The Inspired Apple Chapter 17 (April 25th)
Little Warriors Chapter 18 (April 28th)
Falling Into First Chapter 19 (May 2nd)
Kickin’ it in Kindergarten Chapter 20 (May 5th)
If you are not a blogger (which is totally fine!!!) we still want to hear from you! Leave a comment below to let us know how you are incorporating this book in your classroom!



  1. I loved reading your post. I really like that your students are able to articulate to you that they are over their Calendar Binder and I LOVE that you listened to them and sent them home! When you wrote about Creating Mental Images I was nodding my head, Yes! This is one of my favorite things to do with my little learners! I can't wait to read more of your posts. LOVE YOU LOTS!!!

  2. I love seeing pictures from your classroom! Your sweet students are so lucky to have a teacher like you!!! You're so on top of it, my friend!

  3. You are such an inspiration! I love the little picture of the girl debating the most important part of the story with the hand on her head like she's thinking really cute! You can tell that your kids are extremely engaged and you give them a lot of opportunities to learn in different ways. Thank you for your post and your incredible ya!

  4. Where did you get your reader's response sheets?

    1. They are included in all my shared reading packs. I also have generic sets as well in my store.

  5. I love to use singing and dancing as well! I totally agree about children having confidence and feeling like they are in a safe zone for sharing. The environment makes a huge difference.

  6. Thank you for sharing and for all the pictures. I am so glad to be participating in this study as this is the most meaningful PD I will get this year. I love to get PD that I can immediately take back and use in my classroom. What makes this so special is that I get to "hear" so many others' take on what they are reading and then "see" what they do to implement it in their rooms. That's why I love that you posted your pictures. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to share how you are implementing these strategies and for letting us non-bloggers (who stalk your sites) to participate! I appreciate you very much.

  7. I'm like you, lots of affirmations - but some reminders too. I'm like you, I need to work more on incorporating Bloom's than I have in the past.

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  8. Getting weekly feedback from your students in a class discussion is genius!! When you think of all of the skills they used just to offer the opinion on the Calendar Binders ... explain, analyze, compare, criticize, defend,...-well, there's your Bloom's for you! Plus, what self-confidence that kind of discussion builds!
    Between you and me, I love the concept of Calendar Binders, but I agree with your kiddos that doing them daily can get old in a hurry! What if anything are you using as a replacement?
    Primary Inspiration

  9. Thank YOU for this post and for introducing this as a book study. I can't wait to get my hands on it! Reading your post served as huge confirmation that my firsties and I are on the right track. I love allowing my students to have input/choices about their learning. Your classroom looks like such a fun, active place to learn. I can just hear the buzz of kiddo collaboration. Thanks, again!

    A+ Firsties

  10. I love this post! I have the book. Now I just need to find the time to sit down and read it :)
    Fun In First


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