Germaine Alexandra November 26, 2017 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.
Although preschool workbooks are popular, many parents like the convenience that is associated with printable preschool worksheets. The only problem with printable preschool worksheets is that they can use up a lot ink, especially if the selected preschool worksheets are in colored ink. To save yourself money and printer ink, you may want to search for preschool worksheets that are in black and white. If you are unable to find black and white preschool worksheets that you like, you can still go for the colored ones; however, you may want to consider adjusting your printer settings. Instead of having them print off in colored ink, you may want to adjust your settings to gray scale. This will save you a considerable amount of money and printer ink, especially in the long run. Doing this can also create an additional activity for your child, as you can have them color all the pictures themselves.
2. Math worksheets don’t promote critical thinking. Math worksheets rarely ask students to think critically or creatively. They usually present multiple examples of the same problem type with the hope of reinforcing a skill or procedure. They do not challenge students to use higher order thinking skills such as comparing, analyzing, deducing, and synthesizing. These skills are built through activities in which students discover concepts, explore ideas, test a hypothesis, solve a problem, and discuss their thinking with their peers. Exploring concepts and problems in many different ways builds interest and promotes critical thinking. 3. Math worksheets don’t promote communication and collaboration. Math worksheets are often assigned as an independent activity, however research indicates that communication and discourse are needed to build a deep understanding of math topics. Students need opportunities to explore mathematical ideas in different ways and to build their own connections. This involves communicating their ideas, listening to the ideas of others, arguing a viewpoint, describing, and explaining. Math worksheets are rarely used as a catalyst for conversation. Instead of assigning worksheets, find activities that encourage discourse, such as ”number talks,” or collaborative group work. During the session, be sure to require students to explain their thinking and listen to the strategies and thinking of their peers. If you are fortunate enough to have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, using it with interactive math software creates many opportunities for group discussion and student participation. Teachers can can begin by posing problems and modeling approaches, and then ask students to work together to find solutions. Then have them come to the board to demonstrate their solutions in front of the class. These days, many examples of how to teach math concepts on an interactive whiteboard can be found online in the various whiteboard community sites, educational sites, YouTube, etc.
Rather than using worksheets, a better method is to use individual size white boards and have the child writing entire facts many times. Having a child writing 9 x 7 = 7 x 9 = 63 while saying ”nine times seven is the same as seven times nine and is equal to sixty-three” is many times more successful than a worksheet with 9 x 7 = ___ and the student just thinks the answer once and then writes that answer on the duplicate problems. I will admit that there is one type of worksheet that I used in the past and found relatively beneficial, although it had a different kind of flaw. For my Basic Math, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra classes, I had several books of ”self-checking” worksheets. These worksheets had puns or puzzle questions at the top, and as the students worked the problems they were given some kind of code for choosing a letter to match that answer. If they worked the problems correctly, the letters eventually answered the pun or riddle. Students enjoyed these worksheets, but there are a couple problem areas even with these worksheets. Some students would get the answer to the riddle early and then work backward from letter to problem answer, so they weren’t learning or practicing anything.
There are other sources for worksheets also. You can find many public schools and private schools which will provide free worksheets for you if you buy textbooks from the school. Or you can usually find textbooks and workbooks at the public library, where you can also copy any worksheets that you want to use. So what kinds of worksheets should you get? Anything where you feel that your child needs further drill. We often have this notion that worksheets are just for math. This, of course, is not true. While they are excellent tools for reviewing math facts such as the multiplication tables and division facts, they are just as useful for reviewing parts of speech or the states in the union. When you’re teaching your student to write, there are a whole host of worksheets online that you can use. Many of these include clipart that will help the students learn the sounds of letters and letter combinations. There are other sheets that help the student learn to write his or her numbers. It’s helpful having printable worksheets for something like this, because parents often go through quite a few of these before the child masters writing the numbers or letters correctly.
2. To Pay or Not to Pay? There are hundreds if not thousands of free printable worksheets available online. These are ideal for filling time or keeping the kids busy on a rainy day, but few of them offer a systematic set of worksheets with activities designed to teach your children a specific set of skills. If education is your aim, you may have to spend a little to get useful, comprehensive worksheets that actually help your child to learn. 3. Quality vs Quantity. Some free worksheets are not good quality – the pictures are fuzzy, backgrounds print grey or speckled – and children tend to notice these things. If you are using the worksheets to educate your child, you may want to choose good quality worksheets that encourage your child to produce good quality work. After all, it’s a little difficult to ask your child to color within the lines and work neatly when the worksheet they are filling in hasn’t done the same.
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