Creating Primary School activity sheets can be fun. Especially for creative teachers and I know you’re out there! You can plan your lesson while you are making your own activity sheets to photocopy and hand out. I hope the following tips offer you some practical and inspiring ideas for the classroom.
- Setting up the page:You need to consider the non-printable area on a printer or photocopier when setting up your activity page. Anywhere between 10-15 mm is generally an acceptable margin for A4 size paper. The same margin can be at the left, right, top and bottom.
- Give your activity sheet a title.
Make the title fun and keep your curious students interested OR keep it short and relevant to the purpose of the activity. The title helps to identify the activity sheet and it can be a useful reference when planning your classroom lessons.
When you are planning the content consider the amount of time you would like the students to spend completing the activity sheet. Maybe you want the activity to take 15 minutes or fill up the entire lesson. Make the activity sheet work to suit your students’ needs. You might like to provide an extra task at the bottom of the page. This is a good place to provide an extension or research task which may be useful if you have fast finishers or a mixed ability class.
- What age group is the activity sheet designed for?
The age group will influence the amount of space that you leave on the sheet for students. It is a common mistake to neglect this part of the layout and students end up with a cramped space to write or draw in. It is particularly important that junior learners have plenty of room on the sheet to jot down their ideas and responses.
- Choose a font size which reflects your students’ age group.
Choose a legible font. If you would like your students to practice handwriting on the activity page. You could install a writing font on your computer. You can find writing fonts here.
When you write your instructions think about how best to communicate them to your students. Quite often the spoken instruction can be wordy but the written instruction needs to be concise and direct. If the instruction starts to become a paragraph, you need to review it, break it down and use numbered steps or bullet points.
- Give your students some variety.
The design options for an activity page are infinite. Split the activity page into two, three of four boxes. Use simple borders. Include tables. Brainstorm some creative subheadings.
If you have multiple tasks to complete on your activity sheet, you can identify the sections with boxes, titles or numbers. This is really important. Allocate each task enough space so that the activity sheet does not look busy and confused. Running out of room? Remember, you can always instruct students to use the back of the photocopied sheet or complete tasks in their own workbooks.
- Be creative and have some fun with the page.
Give your students something visually appealing to look at on the activity page. This is an easy way to raise enthusiasm for the tasks to be completed. Think about the age group and their likes/dislikes but most importantly think about the connection of the visual to the activity. Pictures and visuals can be a reminder of what you are asking them to complete. There are plenty of free clipart libraries available via the internet, alternatively access the flickr library. Draw something yourself. Stick figures rock! Your students will be sure to appreciate your creative effort.
- Is the activity page curriculum linked?
What learning area will the activity sheet be based upon? You might like to confirm the links and elaborations at Australian Curriculum. Keep a reference of these details in small font at the footer of the page.
Test and trial the tasks on your activity sheet by completing them yourself. This is the best way to check if they work.