Laycie Rania February 27, 2021 worksheets
Here are five reasons why math worksheets don’t work if you want students to understand math, enjoy math, and think mathematically. 1. Math worksheets are not engaging. Numerous research studies have found that when students are actively engaged with the content, they have a much better chance of understanding and remembering what they have learned. Unfortunately, math worksheets tend to bore most students, especially those who need the most help in math. Engagement entails much more than rote repetition of a procedure. Math worksheets tend to present very similar problem types over and over, leading to mundane practice of disassociated skills. For students who understand the material and successfully complete an assignment, another worksheet becomes meaningless. On the other hand, for the students who don’t understand the material, an alternative method of instruction is what’s needed. Another worksheet simply adds to the student’s frustration, or worse, contributes to a belief that ”I’ll never understand math.” A cute image or a ”fill-in-the-blanks” riddle does nothing to increase engagement or learning (and let’s face it, those riddles are not funny!). Instead, teachers need to increase engagement by providing students with exercises in which they discover patterns and relationships, solve problems, or think creatively about math relationships.
Homeschool worksheets are a vital part of the student’s homeschool experience. They allow the child to test his or her knowledge, and they offer them a practical application for their learning. Worksheets also, when used properly, provide both the students and parent / tutor immediate feedback as to the child’s progress. This means they can be used to point out areas where the student needs further reinforcement. Homeschool worksheets fortunately will not over-tax your budget. There are many places where you can get them at extremely low costs. In fact, several websites offer printable worksheets for free. You can find worksheets for a wide range of courses–almost any course you want to teach your children. These include spelling, writing, English, history, math, music, geography, and others. They’re also available for nearly all grade levels. There are printable middle school, high school, elementary school, and even pre-school worksheets.
To summarize: math worksheets don’t teach, teachers teach. Of course, there is a place for math worksheets. After some instruction has occurred, math worksheets can provide extended practice and support development in fluency, provided the teacher is engaged with students as they work. Teachers who are effective at grouping students can use math worksheets as a springboard for discussions, discovery, and communication. So the next time you do a search for curriculum materials, skip the worksheets. Instead, consider resources that provide interactive experiences or consider sites that provide students with challenging problems. These sites will more likely engage students, foster discussion, and build a true understanding of the purpose and joy of learning math. Lauri Susi has over 20 years experience as a classroom teacher in grades pre-k through high school. Throughout most of those years, she taught at the university level as well, and she continues to hold a university post today. Lauri has a masters degree in special education and educational technology. She is an expert in matters involving students with special needs, students who struggle, and the strategic use of technology within school districts. She has co-directed a research project on fractions software for upper-elementary students, and has co-directed the implementation of a large-scale research project on technology to teach math to second grade students. Lauri is an excellent teacher-trainer and consultant to district administrators. She lives in Orlando, Florida.
Tip #1 – Age Appropriateness. Multiplication worksheets are easy to find on the internet but before you start printing everything you find, you need to consult your child’s grade level math book or purchase a good scope and sequence book. A scope and sequence book will tell you what your child should be doing in math according to age and grade level. This book is a handy reference to always have on hand so you can be sure your child is staying on track. A good scope and sequence book will break down math into each area and you’ll know what your child needs to accomplish for that school year. Use this book as a guide as to which multiplication worksheets you should print off. If your child is just beginning to multiply multi-digit problems without carrying, don’t make the mistake of giving her worksheets that have carrying. It will most likely throw your child for a loop and she will become upset.
Tip #2 – Neat & Professional. Because there are so many sources of worksheets on the internet, you’re never sure what you’re going to find at a particular site. Choose worksheets that are neat and organized without too many problems jumbled on to each page. The concept of neatness needs to be taught to your child as they do math. If your child doesn’t learn this, be prepared for many careless mistakes later on in his math work. Boys in particular don’t take the time to be neat and careful. If you give him multiplication worksheets that are crowded on to each page without room to write the answers, this in encouraging messiness. Crowded problems also confuse kids. When a child is first learning a new concept in math and they lack confidence, being faced with an overcrowded worksheet can cause instant panic. Avoid this with neat and professional worksheets.
Have you ever noticed how many K-12 math content websites are devoted to math worksheets? There seems to be an increase in websites that cater to desperate teachers and parents by offering fast, free ”worksheet generation”, ”10 free fractions worksheets,” etc. Now, as a former teacher I am not saying that one should never use math worksheets; however, I do believe that many teachers are using a very superficial method of instruction that relies too much on low-level math worksheets and hands-off instructional approaches. Worksheet lessons move from reading the directions aloud, to doing sample problems as a group, to completing the worksheet independently (or at home with parents), day in and day out. Teaching needs to be more than passing out worksheets. Whether you are the classroom teacher, instructional specialist, or parent, the methods you use greatly impact the level of understanding achieved by your students.
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