How do I use worksheets in English class?

Yuliana wrote in ask:

Hello Richard,

Thank you soooooo much for all the advices and tips for the class. Do you use the worksheets in your classes or is it just the songs and games?

Good question!  Even though I must have spent 100s of hours making worksheets for the site (and we’re just making some more!), the answer is, no, with the exception of just a few games,  I don’t generally use any worksheets actually  *in class*.  It’s just not an efficient use of time or resources.  The songs and games work so much better.

There could be some very small academic advantage in having the kids do some of the worksheets at home (e.g. the imagination worksheets,) but it’s a very small return on quite a big investment.

So why use them?

The main reasons for using worksheets is not for the kids, it’s for a) the parents, so they can see what the kids are learning and support it at home and b) for you, as the parents will show beautiful colour worksheets to other parents who will then want to join your school.

Ninja Tip:  Always use colour for this, it pays for itself many times over.  And here are the best worksheets for this (you also have them in your Teacher’s Set.)

Compare the colour here with the B&W ones above. Which do you think are going to catch other parents’ eyes?

So my advice for lessons at your own school is always to print out something, in colour,  to take home each lesson,  but to spend the actual class time for where it’s used best, by speaking and communicating without the worksheets! 🙂

Be genki,


PS. Ninja Tip 2:  If  you are very serious about this and academic improvement is a major aim of your course,   a very worthwhile aim I might add, then these days the “Upside Down Classroom” is by far the best way to do this.  

You’ve probably seen this mentioned at TED or other major publications.  The idea is that kids learn all the new material *at home before class* and then class time is used for feedback, coaching and actually using what they’ve learnt at home.  

It is revolutionising  education around the world and we do it here at Genki English with our software homework programme (it needs to be interactive and talking, which worksheets of course can’t do!)  

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

3 Responses to “How do I use worksheets in English class?”

  1. Martin

    I’m talking with people at the school I work at about changing the next level I’m teaching to Genki and completely scrapping the DDDragon material for that class. I’m using the Genki Phonics in my Y4 classes (the next level that I’m trying to get freedom for is Y5 because the DD stuff is just ugghghggh.) and we spend a little time writing the letter and then writing dictation but for the little kids it is a little hard (but they are getting better every class). Others have seen this writing work and they are concerned about how the kids can do the writing homework at home on their own.

    I responded that most of the Genki “homework” (worksheets) are designed for pre-literacy. Of course, I realize the parents are going to want / need some audible stuff for the worksheets especially if they don’t want to buy the software pack (I’m having a hard time selling it – though it is right now just something extra that I suggest they get to really help their kids learn).

    So I said we could use a Genki worksheet each lesson as homework and I would then record the audio part onto WeChat messenger so the kids could complete a Spaghetti worksheet. Of course, I’d also print out the main color workbook page, too, because color is the best.

    On a side note, I’m making new mini-mini card sets of many of the themes (I was inspired by an old video where you were showing Margit’s various printed materials and she had the regular sized mini-cards, 1/4 size mini cards, and 1/16 sized mini-cards.) My mini-cards are 1/2 size the regular mini-cards. I was looking for a way to get more bang for the buck when using laminate and sturdy paper…though the biggest cost really lies with the ink (I think…haven’t been able to get a super accurate cost for ink per card).

    While doing this, I’ve been upgrading the graphics on some of the older sets where the mini-cards aren’t really opening for editing by pulling the images off of the A4 cards.

    I also de-superhero’d a few extra vegetables like broccoli and corn because I didn’t want to use the Superhero veggies in this sort of mega set. I do love the Superhero veggie cards, though because of the immense color. I’m always torn which way to go with my printed products. Lots of color background or simple white background with a great vibrant main subject. If money wasn’t an object, color everywhere would be great…I mean the one-left rooms set is just super eye catching.

  2. emmanuelle

    Hi Richard,

    I do love the worksheets for several reasons.
    First of all, as you said, most kids come back home and when their parents say ” What did you do?” THey generally answer ” nothing ” or ” I played ” but they are not very talkative. So this is something to support them and they can show their parents and it helps them remember.
    But they are many other reasons. For instance, it’s great as a 5 min calm down time, and a good listening activity. For older kids ( 1st graders and +++) they can be the teacher and I just sit back and watch them listen to their friend.
    We use a worksheet every 2-3 sessions. And coloring is a great activity, the children say ” I would like dark blue please” and so on. And aboe all, they love it.

  3. Trevor

    In a small class the worksheets are a valuable resource. We have had some great discussions about what the kids draw. Is watermelon a fruit or vegetable? is an example from last week’s class. In my opinion the worksheets are a good resource for the kids to remember the vocab. they have studied, play around with it a bit and also expand on it. I think a short few minutes of quiet time to use imaginations and consolidate what is being learned is also invaluable.

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